We already know that Vitamin E is a vital nutrient for people, right? It plays a major role in keeping our skin looking and feeling healthy, our eyes in great shape, our brains working, and so much more. Can your canine pal also benefit from Vitamin E supplements? Just how much does he need and how much is too much? Let’s find out these answers & more. Just keep reading to learn all about Vitamin E for dogs!
What is the difference between human and dog vitamin E supplements?
Before we dive into the benefits, dosage, and other considerations of Vitamin E for dogs, let’s just get two things out of the way. First and foremost, always talk to your vet before giving your dog any supplement. Second, let’s very quickly go over the difference between human and dog vitamin E. It’ll be important later on when we talk about choosing the right supplement for your pet.
The chemical structure of Vitamin E in both dogs and humans is the same. However, the supplements themselves are actually quite different. This is true regardless of all vitamins, actually because the recommended daily intake for a dog is different than it is for a human.
Dog food, too, is fortified with vitamins. Commercial brands adjust vitamin supplements accordingly to avoid overdose. This is especially true in the case of Vitamin E which is fat-soluble. This means that Vitamin E metabolizes in the liver. The last thing you’d want is to overload the liver!
Why Vitamin E? (Benefits & Uses for Dogs)
Vets recommend that dogs meet daily vitamin E requirements either through their diet or through supplements. This is because of the many benefits that they can get from Vitamin E since Vitamin E plays a major role in keeping your dog healthy and active.
Reduces inflammation in joints in dogs with osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a progressive illness in dogs that may be debilitating due to the pain resulting from inflammations in the joints.
A study published in 2013 though, showed that Vitamin E supplements may actually have some anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis.
In that study, researchers divided dogs with osteoarthritis into two groups. One group received a placebo while the other group received high dosages of vitamin E for 55 days. Those who received vitamin E showed signs of improvement, as well as a decrease in biochemicals usually associated with an inflammatory condition. The joints of those who received Vitamin E also seemed to show a marked improvement in their joints clinically as well.
Improves testosterone levels in dogs who lack the hormone
If you’re a breeder, you may find that one of the problems in male dogs is poor semen quality and low levels of testosterone.
In a study published in 2015, researchers found that male dogs who were given supplements of Vitamin E with 50 mg α-tocopheryl acetate showed a marked improvement in their testosterone levels after four weeks. An improvement in semen quality was seen as well.
Oxidative stress in humans contributes to aging and it also may result in diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
In dogs, oxidative stress can lead to premature aging and diseases, similar to those in humans, including nerve damage.
Studies have shown that increasing the number of dietary antioxidants, such as Vitamin E in dogs, has had major positive effects in combating oxidative stress.
Dilated cardiomyopathy causes enlarged heart muscles, which leads to weakening and the inability to contract. This may occur in dogs with nutritional deficiencies, including a deficiency in Vitamin E.
In fact, vets often highly recommend Vitamin E supplements to help improve a dog’s heart health at the first sign of trouble.
Improving your dog’s skin and coat
Atopic dermatitis is an allergic reaction in dogs that causes their skin to be itchy so that they constantly lick these itchy spots. The condition can cause thickening of their skin and even subsequent hair loss.
Research shows that Vitamin E supplements can actually help in easing moderate atopic dermatitis in dogs. Vitamin E also helps in improving your dog’s coat, making it shiner and healthy-looking.
Improved brain function
Oxidative stress can lead to cognitive dysfunction associated with aging in dogs.
Studies show, though, that having adequate amounts of Vitamin E in your dog’s diet can actually help slow down aging in the brain resulting from oxidative stress and may even help improve your dog’s cognitive function.
Improving liver function
According to research, administering Vitamin E supplements in dogs with inflamed livers helps in improving their condition by protecting liver cells from oxidative stress.
There are, of course, cases where the dosage of Vitamin E in dogs should be in limited doses when it comes to liver dysfunction. In general, though, supplementing your dog with Vitamin E may greatly help in improving liver function in dogs with liver disease.
Improves the Immune System
The immune system is highly important in combating infection, especially from microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. Several studies found that vitamin E helps in strengthening immunity.
In one study, Vitamin E proved helpful in strengthening neutrophils – a type of immune cells that act as the initial responders in bacterial infection.
Another study found that Vitamin E supplements greatly improved the quality of T-cells in healthy aging dogs. T-cells are highly important in fighting viruses and more severe forms of infection.
Vitamin E Overdose: Be Careful!
While vitamin E may have many benefits, it should be noted that there is a right amount of vitamin E that should be taken by your dog since there is such a thing a Vitamin E overdosage.
As mentioned earlier, Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, so metabolizing happens mostly in the liver. The liver also synthesizes most of the biochemicals used for blood clotting. Too much Vitamin E in dogs may cause blood clotting problems, since it may serve as an antagonist to another vitamin, Vitamin K. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting which, when antagonized, may cause a prolonged bleeding time in dogs.
Here are just some of the signs you have to look out for when it comes to Vitamin E overdose:
- Shaking or nervousness
- Signs of bleeding
- A sudden change of appetite
- Sudden changes in how they eliminate their waste
So, What is the Proper Dosage?
Experts generally recommend 30mg of Vitamin E per day for dogs. However, remember that dog food is already fortified with much of what your dog needs, including Vitamin E, to meet his daily nutritional requirements.
A dog’s nutritional needs also highly depend on its weight and size. Plus, there are conditions and medications where Vitamin E is contraindicated. That’s why it is best for you to consult with your vet to find out if it is actually necessary (or safe) to give your dog additional vitamin supplements.
Choosing Your Dog’s Vitamin E Supplements
There are many types of Vitamin E supplements that are commercially available and it can be quite confusing when it comes to choosing the right one for your furry friend.
Do you need one that is included in his shampoo or do you need one in the form of a capsule? Does it come in a liquid form? What should you look for when choosing the right supplement for your dog?
- Before considering buying Vitamin E supplements, do know that Vitamin E can be sourced from food as well. Food like liver, eggs and broccoli are just some of the most natural sources of Vitamin E.
- Most Vitamin E supplements come in the form of pills or capsules.
- Make sure that the vitamin E that you are looking into comes from natural sources. These usually have words like d-tocopherol and not dl-tocopherol on the label. Look for those with added tocopherols and tocotrienols too.
Unlike other vitamins, the uptake of naturally-sourced Vitamin E is better by as much as 36% as compared to synthetically produced Vitamin E. You’d naturally want to get the most out of your dog’s supplement so go for the naturally prepared ones.
- Vitamin E oils can be used topically in localized areas where skin problems may be occurring. Use caution when applying these though since they may be toxic for dogs when ingested.
- Watch out for soy-based or gelatin capsules that may contain beef. Take note of these, especially if your dog is allergic to either of these ingredients.
- There are dog chews that contain Vitamin E as well. You may look into these just in case you are having a hard time getting your dog to swallow a pill or capsule.
In conclusion, is vitamin E a necessary part of your dog’s diet?
Definitely, yes. Vitamin E plays a huge role in maintaining your dog’s health.
A lack of vitamin E in their diet may cause health problems that may affect many organs and lead to them developing disease early on.
Vitamin E helps in improving immunity that helps them fight off infection from microbes, most especially viruses that heavily rely on their body’s immune system.
Vitamin E is also a known antioxidant that can easily fend off the effects of free radicals that can cause premature aging and disease in your dog.
That said, do remember that too much of a good thing can turn out to be quite bad.
You’ll normally find Vitamin E in food, especially in commercially-made dog food, so your dog may already be getting enough.
Unless his condition warrants it, there may not be any need to take in additional amounts of Vitamin E as this may result in overdosage.
Once again, I remind you that it’s SO important to consult your vet and ask for advice regarding vitamin E supplements to know what is best for your pooch.
Have you tried Vitamin E for dogs with your pooch? Share your thoughts below!