Ascorbic Acid: Pet Food Ingredients A to Z

We often say that reading a pet food label shouldn’t be rocket science (even though a few of us here at Petnet have worked as rocket scientists ).  Pet food labels are long and confusing to most people, yet, it is very important to be able to understand exactly what is in your pet’s food so they get the best food possible.

This April, Petnet will participate in the Blogger A to Z Challenge and will publish a post every day (except Sundays) about a specific ingredient that is in pet foods.  In the spirit of the challenge, we will write a post each day on a topic starting with the letter “A” on the 1st and move through the alphabet and finish on April 30th with a post topic starting with the letter “Z”.

Each of our daily posts will feature an ingredient that starts with the letter of the day.  We will breakdown each ingredient and explain why it is included in pet food recipes and why it is good (or not so good) for your pet.  We give special thanks to our partner,, for granting us permission to utilize their Dog Food Ingredients A to Z series, which we are generalizing to ensure applicability to both dog food and cat food.

Let’s get started with the letter “A” and the first ingredient in the series: Ascorbic Acid.

What is Ascorbic Acid?


According to Wikipedia, Ascorbic Acid is a naturally occurring organic compound with antioxidant properties.  Also known as vitamin C, from a nutritional perspective it is an essential nutrient for humans, dog, and cats.

What are other common names for Ascorbic Acid?

Some common names for Ascorbic Acid include vitamin C, Ester-C, calcium ascorbate,  ascorbate, and stabilized vitamin C.

Why is Ascorbic Acid included in pet food?

Ascorbic Acid is included in dog food for two primary reasons.  First, it acts as a natural preservative and can extend the shelf life to the food product.  Second, it provides the pet with this essential vitamin, over and above that which is provided by the food stuffs alone.

Common benefits of Ascorbic Acid

There are many benefits to Ascorbic Acid including collagen synthesis, immune system support, and possibly helping to mitigate joint and muscular-skeletal disorders. Compared with artificial pet food preservatives, Ascorbic Acid is a healthier and preferred preservative ingredient.

Miscellaneous facts about Ascorbic Acid

  • Unlike the human body, which cannot produce vitamin C on its own, both dogs and cats can produce some amounts of Ascorbic Acid naturally.
  • Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, green vegetables, and berries.

Sources and further reading


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