Ester C is an enhanced form of vitamin C, patented and produced by The Ester C Company. Studies have shown it to improve the absorption of vitamin C and to remain effective for much longer than regular vitamin C when taken by humans. But what about Ester C for dogs? What effects does it have and is it safe?
Dogs and Ester C
Ester C is indeed safe and non-toxic for dogs when given appropriately. In fact, as it’s more easily absorbed and causes less stomach problems, it’s better for your dog than regular vitamin C.
That said, healthy dogs should normally make their own vitamin C and not need any supplementation. However, studies have shown that not to be the case when dogs are under stress or suffering health issues. For example, a 1977 study by Wendell Belfield and Irwin Stone1, showed that dogs are particularly poor producers of vitamin C when stressed.
Not only is Ester C safe for dogs, but scientific studies have shown that vitamin C, and in particular Ester C, is effective in treating the pain and discomfort caused by inflammation of the muscles and joints in dogs. This makes it very beneficial for dogs with hip dysplasia, arthrosis and spondylosis, and other such conditions.
For example, a 1990 Norwegian study led by Dr. Geir Erik Berge2 investigated the effects on dogs suffering from hip dysplasia, injured joints, spondylosis, and other joint and muscle conditions. It found that about 75% of dogs in the study showed a significant improvement after 6 months of being given supplements. Indeed, about three quarters of the dogs with hip dysplasia were found to be free of symptoms after just a week of the study.
And a study by Dr. L. Phillips Brown3 on using Ester C for dogs with chronic joint conditions showed that while it doesn’t fix the joints, Ester C does indeed lead to better mobility.
Note that Ester C won’t prevent or cure these conditions, it simply eases the symptoms. But there are many reports of it having amazing results when given to suffering dogs, so it’s definitely something worth considering if this applies to your dog. As always though, you should consult with your vet before starting to give your dog a new treatment. And if you do start to give your dog Ester C and you notice any side effects, you should stop right away and talk to your vet.
Ester C has other benefits besides being good for treating joint problems too. For example, it also helps to boost your dog’s immune system and helps treat the symptoms of allergies too.
So, assuming you do decide to start giving Ester C to your dog, just how much should you give?
Unfortunately, there’s not much information around about the recommended Ester C dosage for dogs. It’s unlikely to be harmful to your dog unless you give it in massive doses but I recommend you should err on the side of caution to begin with.
So try giving your dog a dose of about 25 – 100 mg a day at first. You can then experiment and gradually increase the dose until you find what works best for your dog.
Indeed, for Ester C 500 mg, and even up to 2,000 mg, twice a day is recommended as a suitable dosage by some sources. In fact, in the Dr. L. Phillips Brown study I described earlier, dogs were split into groups and given the following dosages twice a day:
- 2,000 mg of Ester C.
- 2,000 mg of Ester C plus minerals.
- 850 mg of Ester C.
- Regular vitamin C.
- A placebo.
The dogs that were given an Ester C dosage of 2,000 mg twice a day showed the most impressive improvements, followed by those on the 850 mg dosage and then those on the 2,000 mg of Ester C plus minerals. A significant percentage more dogs on Ester C showed improvement than those on regular vitamin C.
Remarkably, of those dogs on the 2,000 mg dose, about three-fifths of them suffered a relapse into reduced mobility when taken off the Ester-C, but recovered again when put back on it.
One final point is that the Ester C dosage for dogs in the above study wasn’t dependent on the dog’s weight, so the above advice applies to all dogs.
You can find specialist canine Ester C products on Amazon, and these will come with their own dosage recommendations.
Using Ester C for dogs with hip dysplasia and other painful joint and muscle conditions has shown some very good results. So it’s worth considering if your dog suffers from any such condition. You should, of course, consult with your vet first.
Finally, I don’t recommend giving vitamin C or Ester C supplements to healthy dogs as they should be producing enough of their own vitamin C for their needs. Unlike us humans, dogs have the ability to make the vitamin C they need in normal circumstances and too much vitamin C could cause problems.
1. Belfield and Stone. Megascorbic Prophylaxis and Megascorbic Therapy: A New Orthomolecular Modality in Veterinary Medicine, Journal of the International Academy of Preventive Medicine. 1975
2. Berge, G. E. Clinical Trial of Ester-C POLYASCORBATE, Norwegian Veterinary Journal ,Volume 102, August/September 1990.
3. Brown, L. P. Ester-C for Joint Discomfort – A Study, Natural Pet, Nov-Dec 1994.