Why Your Guinea Pig Needs Vitamin C But Your Dog Doesn't

Image of two guinea pigs.

We all need to eat a complete and balanced diet. We feed our dogs and cats food developed by companies that study their nutritional needs, but if you study the list of ingredients, Vitamin C is not listed. When we prepare our own meals, we have to make sure we consume a source of Vitamin C such as orange juice. Ever wonder why most pets don't need this vitamin?

The vast majority of animals in the world make their own Vitamin C and don't need to consume any. Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. This vitamin is important for several enzyme reactions in the body. It is a factor in pathways making collagen and other substances that are important in healing and preventing bleeding from capillaries. It is an antioxidant and is also required to make adrenaline and dopamine.

Some species of animals have lost the ability to make Vitamin C however. A genetic defect occurred in guinea pigs, fruit bats, capybaras, some reptiles, and many primates, including humans. This defect causes the inability to make the enzyme L-gulonolactone oxidase in the liver. This enzyme allows the body to convert glucose to ascorbic acid, or Vitamin C.

These animals must consume Vitamin C in order to be healthy. That why it is important that people, and these other animals drink orange juice or eat other foods high in Vitamin C.

As far as pets are concerned, dogs and cats make their own Vitamin C and do not need to consume any. It is important, though, to feed guinea pigs a diet high in ascorbic acid. That is why you should feed them a pelleted diet made for guinea pigs and not one made for rabbits. The guinea pig diet contains Vitamin C while the rabbit food does not.

If you have any questions regarding nutrition for your pet, you can ask your veterinarian for help.

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00am - 12:00pm

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Took two of my kitties in on Wednesday. They were seen promptly and taken care of by some of the kindest people. Left with medicine and the lady at the front desk made sure my payment method was correct after some issues with the card company. Thank you all for your patients and time. My fuzzy buddies love them, and so do I."
    Clare D.
  • "The best vet around. We just recently moved out of the area but we are still bringing our animals to visit Dr Johnston and his amazing staff. The ladies in the front office to the staff in the back are the best. They all make you and your pets feel like family. They take time to listen to your concerns and try to come up with the best possible plan for you and your pet. We have been going there for about 10 years and even though our drive is a little longer we will continue to take our pets there."
    Tawnya H.