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.

Exclusive Offer

New patients receive 15% OFF first office visit.

Office Hours

Monday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-1:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • What to do when your pet gets lost?

    Has your pet wriggled their way through the fence or dashed out the front door? When searching for your lost pet, make sure you include these steps in your hunt. ...

    Read More
  • Flea and Tick Season

    Want to protect your pet from fleas and ticks? These tips can help. ...

    Read More
  • Summer Grooming Tips

    Want to keep your pet cool and comfortable this summer? A few changes to your normal grooming routine can help. ...

    Read More
  • What to Do If Your Pet is Stung

    Don't get us wrong, we love the bees! But we don't love when our pets get stung. Follow our tips to treat and prevent bee stings on your furry best friend. ...

    Read More
  • Tips for Traveling With Your Pet

    Do you dread hitting the road with your pet? These tips may make the trip more comfortable and enjoyable for you both. ...

    Read More
  • 6 Questions to Ask At Your Senior Pet's Next Check Up

    Want to keep your senior pet healthy and happy? Ask these six questions at your pet's next check up. ...

    Read More
  • Why the Controversy About Pet Vaccinations?

    As with anything, pet vaccinations can be too much of a good thing. Similar to parents who are learning more about vaccinations for children, veterinarians and pet owners alike are beginning to question some of the standard wisdom when it comes to protecting pets. There are certain fatal diseases against ...

    Read More
  • Pet Clothes: A Fashion Statement or a Necessity?

    There is nothing cuter than a pet in a colorful sweater, but do our furry friends really need to wear clothing? Although clothing is not a necessity for every pet, some animals benefit from a little extra protection during cold or damp days. Others enjoy wearing festive clothing during holidays or other ...

    Read More
  • Introducing a New Pet to Your Current Ones

    Pet Proofing Your Home Introducing your new pet to your current one is only a single part of the equation relating to taking a new pet home. You also have to make sure your new pet is comfortable in your home, which is a foreign environment to the animal. Like humans, animals can experience high levels ...

    Read More
  • Put Some Teeth Into Your Pet’s Dental Care

    According to the American Animal Hospital Association, nearly two-thirds of pets suffer from dental problems because their owners do not provide dental care for them. Imagine what would happen to your own teeth if they were never brushed or examined by a dentist. The same thing can happen with your pet’s ...

    Read More