Vitamin C for Great Danes

I totally believe in giving 1000-2500 mg of natural C daily to my danes from puppies to adults. I have seen the changes that it can make in their life!

Vit. C has been shown to help in the treatment and prevention of stress related diseases such as hip dysplasia, ligament, tendon diseases and joint disorders. It also enhances the immune system.

Vit. C is also used to protect against illnesses and death due to vaccine reaction in animals. (Danes can have reactions to Rabies and other vaccines when given to young or to close together)


This is an Article that Linda Arndt has let me share with others

Whenever I go out and do a nutrition lecture, this topic comes up. That is because the information you are taught in veterinarian school and the personal experience that breeders have, are at opposite ends. I would like to clarify this and find a middle ground.
Yes, dogs synthesize their own, PROVIDED, they have the appropriate nutritional resources available to them in order to do this. Animals in the wild, are allowed to eat vegetation and fruits/berries but in our modern methods of feeding commercial foods, we do not allow them access to these important nutritionist which deprives them of the materials needed to synthesize their own vitamin C. Now we are finding the better quality commercial feed companies are using significant amounts of Vitamin C in their diets because breeders have had remarkable results with maintaining healthy cartilage in an animal. The use of Vitamin C helps to support ear cartilage, foot leather and joint cartilage, as well as to boost the immune system.
In this country one of the most significant Vitamin C animal feed trial research have been done by Dr. Wendell O. Belfield DVM. Dr. Belfield sits on the board of the Linus Pauling Institute. (Linus Pauling is the man who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his Vitamin C research in humans). Belfield has worked for years on feed trials using dysplatic animals and adding vitamin C to their diets. The offspring of the dysplastic parents were shown to have normal hips generation after generation as long as Vitamin C is provided in conjunction with the commercial diets form the most early stages of their development. His study was reported in the Journal of the International Academy of Preventative Medicine. Title: " Megascorbic Phophylaxis and Megascorbic Therapy: A New Othromolecular Modality in Veterinary Medicine" by Wendell O Belfield DVM and Irwin Stone PCA (Chemical Engineer)

<< "Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is synthesized by most dogs. It has been theorized that during stress, requirements may exceed the amount synthesized; therefore, supplementation may be beneficial. However, there are no controlled studies confirming this theory.>>

Well, there have been controlled studies the authors of Merck Manual are simply not aware of the strides in this area in the past 20 years.

<<In contrast to previous speculation, vitamin C supplementation is of no benefit in preventing skeletal problems in rapidly growing, large dogs and, in fact, has been shown to be detrimental.>>

I can only address this a breeder of 26 years, and as one who deals with canine nutritional issues and assisting other breeders/owners with health issues. We all know by personal experience, this could not be furthest from the truth, studies or not, this is a statement that is without warrant. Granted anything given in excess, including water, can have a detrimental effect. But moderation is the key.

The Eagle dog food company did their own Vitamin C studies on sled dogs in Alaska. They are a very firm believer in the necessity for Vitamin C in a diet ( as well as probiotics, digestive enzymes). In their findings those animals given Vitamin C who participated in the Alaskan Iditord Sled Race, use only a few "booties" on their feet to protect the pads. They found Vitamin C toughened up the pads considerably so the animals could withstand the constant pounding on snow and ice. I had the special opportunity to talk to one of the participants, and the winner, of this race and he emphatically stated there was definitely a difference in the animals performance when he put them on Vitamin C.

In an article in Outdoor Life, an article called "Better Hunting with Vitamin C" (Dr. Dockter DVM) talks about case after case in his studies of field dogs having better endurance, prevention of muscle soreness and reduction of pain with hip dysplasia do arthritis conditions. In Dr. J. Eckerts studies, he also reported the same results in horses.

<<Adding vitamin supplements to complete and balanced commercial rations for healthy dogs is unnecessary. >>

Generally speaking this statement is correct. It is very easy for a dog owner to disrupt a balanced diet and by law all commercial foods must be balanced in their protein/carbs and calcium and phosphorus content. (at least in this country). The problem is, no studies have been done to determine the maximum vitamins/minerals needed to "SUSTAIN" good health, only studies done on subsistence level nutrients.(barely keeping an animal alive). So the quality and amount of vitamins and minerals used in dog foods varies tremendously depending on the company. All use subsistence level of nutritionist because the law requires them to. Only a handful of companies go the extra mile to use high quality vitamins and mineral supplementation for sustaining good health. (I list those in my feed programs).

The other problems is 99% of the vitamins on the market are synthetics and the minerals are from a mined source, not from a food source. That is we get into problems when we supplement with a vitamin and mineral tablet. They conflict or over dose what is already in the commercially "designed" food.

There are nutritionist you can add that do not conflict or over dose the animal but they must come from "food" sources. We can use things like the Blue Green Algae's, Cereal Grasses (barley, wheat, rye sprouts) and we can use fresh fruits and veggies and they won't disrupt a commercial balanced diet.

<<Normal dogs do not require a dietary source of vitamin C, and claims that massive supplementation shortens or reduces the severity of various viral diseases in dogs and cats are unsubstantiated.>>

In Dr. Belfields research on cats with feline leukemia virus, in a double blind crossover study it was noted that ascorbate (vit C) was responsible for the change in antibody titer to antibody negative for feline leukemia.

<< In the condition that has been called Barlow's disease in dogs (because of its similarity to infantile scurvy in man), a specific deficiency of ascorbic acid has not been identified, nor have claims been substantiated that vitamin C given to puppies reduces the severity of hip dysplasia." What do you think about?>>

I think that who ever writes the Merck manual is not up to date on research in the canines, feline and equine fields. All of this aside, as an individual who has dealt with thousands of dogs. I am a firm believer of using 1000-1500 mg of ascorbic acid or ester C daily on my animals.

Linda Arndt
Nutritional Consultant for Giant Breeds


<< I'll have a litter within 10 days, and I'll try your system. What about the use of vit. C during pregnancy?>>

Dr. Belfield has a vitamin C specifically for newborns.
This is a non-acid vitamin C with collagen call: 1-408-227-9334
Orthomolecular Specialties, P.O Box 32232, San Jose, Ca 95152-2232

I do not know if he is still practicing vet medicine. I talked with him at length some years ago about his research and he was an older man at that time.
I supplement all the dogs from weaning - old age, with a product called Daily Greens Plus. It is a combination of friendly bacteria, digestive enzymes, barley grass and non acid vitamin C. One scoop provides the animal with 1400 mg of non acid vitamin C. When a bitch is pregnant I simply increase her diet, (Eagle) which has C in the food, and increase her Daily Greens to two scoops a day. Between the food and the Daily Greens the bitch should be getting approximately 4000-5000 mgs. a day of non-acid Vitamin C for her and the litter.
I think with puppies you need to use a buffered vitamin C product so you do not upset the stomachs. There are two kinds of buffered vitamin C. Sodium Ascorbate and Calcium Ascorbate. Because breeders are so concerned about adding additional calcium to a diet and disrupting the balance of the calcium/phosphorus ratio in a diet, they often prefer to use the sodium ascorbate products. Although personally I doubt it makes much difference as the amount used to buffer is rather small. I think it is very important to use a buffered vitamin C on newborns.