Also known as alpha-tocopherol, vitamin E is a nutrient that dogs (and people, too!) need in their diet in order to be healthy. It can be found in several natural food sources, but it can also be given to dogs in the form of vet-recommended supplements.
In today’s article, we’re looking at most of the things you should know about vitamin E for dogs — from its benefits to its dosage.
Where Can Vitamin E Be Found?
Like vitamin A and vitamin D, vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient. This means that it can be found in a wide range of foods, but it is particularly prevalent in fatty foods such as nuts and seeds.
The richest sources of vitamin E are oils, such as safflower oil and sunflower oil. There’s also a hefty amount of this nutrient present in sunflower seeds, almonds, as well as peanuts.
Finally, fish is a good food to give to your dog if you’d like them to enjoy a bit more extra vitamin E. The species that are richest in it are salmon and trout.
Benefits for dogs
Vitamin E has a broad variety of functions inside an animal’s body. For example, it is involved in a number of processes that ensure that Fido enjoys a better and fully functioning immune system.
In fact, vitamin E actually influences the number of T cells present in your dog’s body, which makes your pooch capable of fighting inflammation and infection more rapidly and easily.
Small doses of vitamin E given to dogs more or less regularly can prevent ocular pathologies, much like omega 3 fatty acids can when given every now and then, too.
Additionally, this fat-soluble vitamin can make it possible for your pet’s brain to function normally. It can also prevent neurologic abnormalities and make Fido’s coat look healthy and shiny.
Canine cardiovascular disease can also be prevented with small doses of vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids, so do keep that in mind.
Vitamin E Dosage for Dogs
The dosage of this vitamin actually depends on the dog you intend to give it to.
For example, puppies are supposed to have around 400 IU, while dogs that are considered adults (are older than 18-24 months of age) have a different dosage, meaning 800 UI.
Vitamin E supplementation isn’t always necessary. If your dog has a healthy diet, your vet might not recommend this vitamin at all.
But the truth is that most commercial diets for pets these days don’t contain enough healthy nutrients, and even if they might have added vitamins to them, they’re usually synthetic, not from natural sources.
This means that giving your dog cooked fish every now and then is actually better than some supplements or vitamin-enriched kibbles.
Vitamin E Deficiency in Dogs
Given the benefits that this vitamin has on dog health, some of the symptoms that a dog with vitamin E deficiency can show are the following:
- Decreased fertility
- Neurologic issues
- Lethargy and weight loss
- Eyesight complications
- Skin and coat issues
- A lack of resistance to minor health problems (cuts and scrapes can easily become infected)
What we would like to add is that vitamin E deficiency is not as common as you might think. If you feed your dog a healthy diet and you make sure that you give them nutritious snacks every now and then (like fruits), the likelihood of your pooch developing this disorder is very low.
Can Dogs Have Too Much Vitamin E?
The short answer to this question is yes.
However, the instances where this can happen is when vets administer the vitamin and pet parents give it to their dogs, too. In time, too much of it can exist inside the animal’s body, which can lead to the following clinical signs:
- Digestive changes (diarrhea/constipation)
- Lack of appetite
- Blood clotting complications
Too much vitamin E can affect vitamin K, which is essential for ensuring proper blood clotting in the event that the dog gets into an accident, for example.
Do Dogs Need Vitamin E Supplements?
As previously noted, many commercial dog foods today contain vitamin supplements. Therefore, your pooch might be getting some vitamin E from the kibble or canned food varieties you regularly feed to them.
If you feed your pup a homemade diet, make sure to talk to your veterinarian about what supplements you should give your pet.
Small and regular doses of vitamin E can prevent cognitive disorders, osteoarthritis, and dermatitis and might even make it harder for infections to recur in dogs.
We do not advise that you give your dog vitamin supplements without first asking your vet. Your dog can have specific health issues that might or might not make these products beneficial.