Vitamin E is a powerful and essential antioxidant, and one of the vitamins and minerals dogs require for optimal health. Aside from fending off free radical damage and helping to keep the immune system in peak performance, vitamin E has other applications—most notably for skin problems. 

Vitamin E is an important nutrient, antioxidant and essential vitamin in any dog's diet, but does your pup also need supplements? From benefits and uses, to side effects and tips for administration, we are here to guide you through what you need to know about vitamin E for dogs.

What is Vitamin E for Dogs?

Vitamin E comes in eight forms, the most common of which is a potent antioxidant called alpha-tocopherol. It shares something in common with vitamins A, D, and K. Vitamin E is one of the four fat soluble vitamins that are metabolized like fat and stored in fatty tissue and the liver.

Natural sources of vitamin E are found in a number of foods including: 

vitamin e source brocoli

  • Fruits and vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, avocados
  • Vegetable oils:  Wheat germ, sunflower oil, safflower oil
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds
  • Seafood: Rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon 

In human wellness regimens, vitamin E helps prevent blood clots and boosts the immune system (which aids in warding off illness), but it’s mostly coveted for its powerful antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect cells, organs, and tissues from the havoc caused by free radicals, like air pollution and the sun’s ultraviolet light.

Is There Already Vitamin E in My Dog’s Food?

dog next to the bowl

Typically, yes. If your dog’s food label mentions “essential vitamins and minerals” or “complete and balanced nutrition” on the bag or in the ingredients, it will almost certainly contain vitamin E. Plus, vitamin E (in the form of mixed-tocopherols) is also a natural preservative, so beyond being an essential vitamin, it’s an excellent way to help keep your dog’s brand of food fresh.

What Is the Right Vitamin E Dosage for My Dog?

Fortunately, nutritionists and other health experts develop most of the dog food brands on the market. That means in most cases, you don’t have to worry about how much vitamin E to give your dog. They should already be getting the right amount every day to help them thrive. However, dogs deficient in vitamin E may show signs of muscle weakness, so if you are really concerned, be sure to consult with your veterinarian. Nutritionists and food scientists are an integral part of the pet food making process to make adjustments on the pre-cooking side so the finished product has the exact amount of nutrients the pet needs.

VItamin E Deficiency Symptoms in Dogs 

A deficiency of vitamin E for dogs is pretty rare, especially if they are eating a regulated diet formulated with vitamins, but it can occur. Eating a homemade or specialized diet may not include enough vitamin E. Diets high in fish, fish oils and fish meals quickly use up the available vitamin E, and require additional amounts of the vitamin to maintain a healthy system. 

If your dog is experiencing a deficiency of vitamin E, you may notice:

  • Muscle weakness and degeneration
  • Decreased vision
  • Skin problems or itchy skin
  • Weight loss
  • Changes in behavior or other neurological problems
  • Impaired immunity

Health Benefits of Vitamin E in Dogs

Is Vitamin E good for dogs? It offers plenty of benefits for a dog’s health, including helping to keep a dog’s immune system, muscles, heart, liver, nerve cells and skin healthy. It also helps stabilize cell membranes, which plays a potential role in canine pain management.

Additionally, it’s an antioxidant that helps protect cells against damage from free radicals, and it has some immune and anti-inflammatory benefits. One study suggests higher doses of vitamin E might be effective for reducing inflammation and signs of pain associated with canine osteoarthritis (CAD).

dog eating treats, dog eating supplements

Can Dogs Have Vitamin E Supplements?

Only if dogs genuinely need it and a veterinarian approves it should a dog get a vitamin E supplement. If your dog is already eating a complete and balanced diet, and does not have a Vitamin E deficiency, excess supplements could be harmful and lead to blood clotting problems. Always talk with your veterinarian before adding any supplements to their diet.

Forms of Vitamin E Supplements for Dogs 

Vitamin E supplements for dogs come in a variety of forms. These include  

  • A vitamin E supplement or multivitamin formulated with vitamin E, in pill, capsule, or chewable form
  • Vitamin E oil for dogs that gets added to food
  • Vitamin E powders that get added to food
  • Vitamin E topical creams, oils and balms for skin conditions
  • Dog shampoos formulated with vitamin E

Vitamin E  supplementation for dogs should preferably be given orally, either in dog foods or via supplement. This is the ideal way to insure your dog ingests the correct amounts needed for health. Dogs that love treats may benefit from a chewable. Dogs that eat their food readily may be fine with a powder or oil added to a food. Some very finicky pets may need a pill form administered to them

Natural Vitamin E Sources for Dogs

If you feed your dog a complete and balanced diet, chances are they are already getting an adequate amount of vitamin E. 

Some foods with vitamin E that you might recognize on your dog’s food label include:

  • Salmon
  • Peas
  • Blueberries
  • Sweet potatoes 
  • Eggs
  • Spinach
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Fish Oil

Note that unless they’ve been approved by a veterinary nutritionist, home-cooked diets are prone to nutritional imbalances, so they may not contain adequate amounts of vitamin E for dogs.

dog at vets

Topical Vitamin E for Dogs

Did you know: when treating skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, many natural, at-home remedies, include Vitamin E? Vitamin E oil is a powerful antioxidant that acts as a moisturizer on a dog’s skin. Atopic dermatitis can cause dry skin, so massaging some of this into the skin of your dog can be quite helpful. One fairly recent study highlighted that dogs with atopic dermatitis have lower vitamin E concentrations in their blood and that supplementation can reduce clinical signs and results in healthy skin.

Many PRIDE+GROOM products, such as their shampoos and THE BALM, contain Tocopherol, which is another name for Vitamin E. Mixed tocopherols are a combination of different sources of Vitamin E, sourced from nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and even spinach. It acts as a skin conditioning agent, and is quite useful for dogs with itchy skin or other conditions.

 

 

Can Dogs Overdose on Vitamin E? 

Vitamin E overdose in dogs is rare, but still possible. The fat-soluble vitamin is stored in the fat of the liver and high levels of the vitamin can cause problems with blood clotting and bleeding disorders. If your dog shows any signs of vitamin E overdose, call their vet immediately.

Vitamin E Overdose Symptoms in Dogs Can Include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Shaking
  • Nervousness

According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), adult dogs should be consuming at least 50 IU of vitamin E daily. This will typically be provided through your dog's regular diet, and a veterinarian can prescribe an appropriate dosage and frequency of supplementing vitamins according to your dog's weight and needs.

happy dog

Conclusion

Vitamin E is an essential nutrient for your dog's healthy growth and well-being. When considering vitamin E for dogs, pet owners should consider incorporating natural rather than synthetic sources into the diet. Natural vitamin E found in organic dog food brands should be a sufficient amount for most dogs, but it is always good to consult with your veterinarian to see if your dog is getting enough vitamin E in their diet without supplements. Supplementing a dog's diet with fresh green vegetables and fruit, or topical additives, can be a good way of incorporating it when more is needed. For more advice on dog nutrition and health, make sure that you always check with your vet first!

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