Reviewed By Joana Garrido DVM
Vitamin E is essential for canine health since it plays a vital role in strengthening their immunity.
Vitamin E deficiency in dogs makes them vulnerable to numerous illnesses, such as impaired eyesight, weakened immune systems, and cognitive disorders.
However, do all dogs benefit from vitamin E supplementation? Find out the answer as we talk about its benefits and risks.
What Is Vitamin E for Dogs?
Vitamin E for dogs mainly functions as an antioxidant that scours for harmful free radicals and eliminates them. This protects dogs’ bodies from oxidative damage, which plays a role in the development of several canine diseases like cancer.
It is also necessary for other body processes, such as cell membrane formation. However, many of its other purposes are yet to be uncovered by experts.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, similar to vitamins A, D, and K. It means this nutrient is metabolized like fat and stored in the liver and fatty tissues.
Health Benefits of Vitamin E for Dogs
Is vitamin E good for dogs? Yes, vitamin E is good for dogs in many ways. Its antioxidative ability helps keep various body functions stable and healthy.
Here are some of the most notable health perks vitamin E offers to your canine companion:
1. Boosts the Immune System
In a study, vitamin E intake increased the number of T-cells in dogs. T cells or T-lymphocytes are a type of white blood cells that aid in fighting off antigens, preventing infections, and improving dog immune system function.
2. Promotes Clear and Healthy Skin
Dog owners often ask: “Is vitamin E oil safe for dogs’ skin?” Yes, vitamin E oil is safe for dogs’ skin. It has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps relieve different types of skin issues, such as canine atopic dermatitis (CAD).
It also aids in preventing scar tissue formation and keeps dogs’ coats shiny and strong.
3. Enhances Reproductive Health
Several studies were carried out to examine the effect of vitamin E on the fertility of canines. In one study, 60 days of vitamin E supplementation showed an improvement in the quality of semen in dogs with lowered fertility.
Another research shows that supplementing vitamin E to 4 infertile male dogs enhanced their progressive sperm motility. All of them were able to mate successfully with female dogs, which produced 4 to 6 puppies.
4. Alleviates Joint Problems
The anti-inflammatory ability of vitamin E is found to reduce inflammatory markers and ease pain caused by canine osteoarthritis. This suggests that the nutrient can be beneficial for managing symptoms of joint disorders in dogs.
5. Improves Cognitive Ability
Vitamin E helps dogs retain good brain health as they grow older. It hinders cognitive decline associated with brain aging in elderly dogs and supports better memory and learning ability.
6. Prevents Eye Problems
Antioxidants are critical for protecting the eye health of dogs. Many studies have highlighted how vitamin E, along with other compounds that possess free-radical destroying abilities, protects the eye lens of dogs and slows down the progression of cataract formation.
7. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Vitamin E is essential for maintaining normal cardiac development and function in dogs. It delays the likelihood of heart issues from developing since it helps reduce oxidative stress.
Do Dogs Need Vitamin E Supplements?
Dogs do not need vitamin E supplements if they are provided with a complete and nutritionally balanced diet.
Any commercial dog foods are checked by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) before they hit the store shelves to ensure that they meet the nutritional standards.
These approved dog foods typically contain at least the minimum daily requirement of vitamin E for dogs.
If you are still worried about whether or not your dog has a nutritionally balanced dog food, check the product’s package.
It should contain the label ”complete and balanced” or “formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO Dog Nutrient Profiles.”
Some pet foods incorporate fresh ingredients as vitamin E sources such as:
Others use mixed tocopherols, which are a combination of different forms of vitamin E.
Dog owners should be warned that homecooked meals for dogs are a different case. Unless they are approved by a veterinary nutritionist, there is no way to know if they are nutritionally balanced.
Thus, avoid feeding your dog random online homecooked recipes without checking with an expert. Otherwise, he might eventually develop vitamin and mineral imbalances or deficiencies.
Natural Vitamin E Sources for Dogs
Your furry pal can gain a healthy amount of vitamin E from certain varieties of fresh produce such as:
Fruits: Mango, blackberries, butternut squash, kiwi, red sweet pepper
Vegetables: Turnip greens, Swiss chard, broccoli, spinach
Organ Meats: Liver, spleen
Feeding these whole foods to your pooch not only provides him with an extra dose of vitamins, but he also acquires a variety of essential vitamins and minerals that will boost and improve his overall health.
However, before adding any of them to your dog’s diet, always consult the vet to ensure that they are appropriate for his nutritional needs.
Are There Risks Associated with Vitamin E for Dogs?
Is vitamin E bad for dogs? Vitamin E is not necessarily bad for dogs. However, If ingested in inordinate quantities, it can facilitate a vitamin overdose.
That’s because similar to all fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin E is stored in the fatty tissues of the liver. Thus, it cannot be easily excreted through urination, unlike water-soluble vitamins.
Here are the most common symptoms of this condition of vitamin E overdose:
- Abnormal blood clotting
Although rare, vitamin E overdose can happen in dogs. So, consult the vet first before giving your dog vitamin E supplements. Moreover, be sure to follow the recommended dosage to avoid overdose.
When to Give Dogs Vitamin E Supplements
Not all dogs require vitamin E supplements, but some can benefit from it, particularly if they are experiencing certain health issues.
It is suitable for canines with skin problems such as ear allergies, dry and flaky skin, and skin irritation due to insect bites. Vitamin E supplement is also great for dog breeds more prone to vitamin E deficiencies, such as the English Cocker Spaniel.
Some health issues can cause this condition in dogs like pancreatitis. If your furry pal has developed this ailment, consider starting a vitamin E supplementation plan with the help of the vet.
Vitamin E Dosage for Dogs
How much vitamin E for dogs per day? Generally, AAFCO recommends that adult dogs should acquire no more than 50 IU of vitamin E per kilogram of pet food.
However, this does not take into account important factors such as the age, size, breed, and presence of medical conditions of dogs.
For this reason, it would be best to consult the vet to find the right amount of vitamin E that will effectively manage or treat your furry pal’s health issues.
What to Look for in Vitamin E Supplements for Dog
If the vet confirms that your canine friend requires vitamin E supplementation, it is time to begin your search for the right type of product for him.
Here are some helpful pointers to find a high-quality dog vitamin E supplement:
- Ideally, the supplement should have a lot number, which provides vital information about the product’s origin. This is a good sign that it is exposed to quality control checks by manufacturers and distributors.
- The product must be backed by clinical evidence, preferably by an expert, to support its therapeutic or medical claims.
- Some brands use shady marketing by providing exaggerated claims. So make sure to purchase products with the manufacturer’s contact details. This gives you a convenient avenue to ask them relevant questions about the supplement’s authenticity.
- Look for a vitamin E supplement containing d-alpha-tocopherol as its main ingredient. Out of the eight forms of vitamin E, this type is the most potent because it has the highest bioavailability.
How to Give Vitamin E Supplements to Dogs
Depending on your dog’s condition, vitamin E supplements can be given topically or orally.
Dogs that are vitamin E deficient will require oral administration of the supplement. The product can be in the form of a pill, capsule, chewable, or powder.
Topical application is more suited for canines with dermatologic issues. In this case, the supplement can be either a topical cream or balm. There are also dog shampoos formulated with vitamin E.
FAQs About Vitamin E for Dogs
1. Can I Give My Dog Human Vitamin E Oil?
Do not give your dog human vitamin E oil without the vet’s instructions. Some products contain dangerous ingredients to canines, such as xylitol, which can cause fatal poisoning.
2. Can I Put Vitamin E Oil on My Dog’s Paws?
Yes, you can put vitamin E oil on your dog’s paws. It will help moisturize any dry and flaky skin. After applying vitamin E oil to his paws, let him wear an e-collar so he does not lick it off.
3. Can Too Much Vitamin E Cause Itching?
Yes, too much vitamin E has reportedly caused itching in dogs. With this in mind, avoid administering excessive amounts of vitamin E supplements to your dog to prevent this kind of side effect.
4. Where to Buy Vitamin E Supplements for Dogs
Pet supply stores and online pet supply shops are the most common places to buy vitamin E supplements for dogs.
Other alternative places you can try are the pet section of grocery stores, online general retailers, and natural grocery stores.
Most dogs do not require vitamin E supplements unless they are facing certain health issues like skin disorders and vitamin E deficiencies.
Dog owners should be careful when giving their furry pals vitamin E supplements. Failing to follow the dosage instruction of the vet can result in an overdose.
Check our Diet & Recipes section to find other health-boosting dog supplements and learn how they can help improve your furry pal’s well-being.