What Is the Right Dosage of Vitamin E for Dogs?
Posted by Volhard Dog Nutrition on Feb 1st 2022
The world of dog nutrition is a fascinatingly complicated universe. In order to stay healthy and cheerfully energetic, our canine companions need a carefully planned diet made up of all the nutrients the body requires for proper function. Any nutritional imbalances can affect your dog's health and well-being in multiple ways.
On the list of essential nutrients for proper dog growth is vitamin E. Vitamin E is one of your dog's defenses against oxidative damage. This fat-soluble vitamin is also essential for cell function and fat metabolism. Deficiencies can lead to eye and muscle degeneration and reproductive problems.
So today, it is our mission to teach you all about vitamin E for dogs, its benefits (through proper consumption) and drawback (from overconsumption), and the natural foods that abound with this precious nutrient!
Vitamin E for Dogs
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and essential vitamin that protects the body against free radicals in the skin that damage fat in the body. Vitamin E is essential for cell function and fat metabolization. It's fat-soluble and helps a dog's body develop strong muscles. However, all of these benefits are nullified when vitamin E comes into contact with rancid fats and sunlight.
The four naturally occurring forms of vitamin E are alpha, beta, gamma, and delta-tocopherol. Out of the four, gamma-tocopherol (abundant in soybean and corn oil) and alpha-tocopherol (abundant in olive oil and sunflower oil) are commonly present in both canine and human food. These nutrients are all contained in the Volhard Diets.
Vitamin E Deficiencies in Dogs
Vitamin E plays a critical role in your dog's growth and proper function. From cell function to fat metabolism, vitamin E is active on numerous fronts. Its invaluable contribution to your dog's well-being makes any vitamin E deficiencies problematic to the stability of his health. Poor vision, muscle weakness, excessive shedding, impaired neurological function, and reproductive issues are ways through which vitamin E deficiencies manifest themselves. However, vitamin E deficiencies are a rare occurrence in dogs and can easily be avoided with the proper diet.
The Benefits of Vitamin E in Dogs
At the other end of the spectrum, a diet rich in vitamin E is sure to bring numerous health benefits to your dog. The more appropriate amounts of vitamin E enter your dog's body, the more he will experience these health benefits:
#1: Improved Immune System
The harsh winter weather is no friend to your dog's immune system. However, with enough vitamin E in his system, your canine friend has a solid chance at staying healthy during the winter season and avoiding diseases.
#2: Healthier Skin and a Shinier Coat
As we've seen in our January blog (hyperlink to the January dandruff blog), vitamin E and canine skin and coat make the best of friends. Vitamin-E-rich foods increase your dog's chances to repel skin allergies, itchiness, and parasites that feed off canine dermal tissue, such as skin mites. With more vitamin E comes healthier skin and a shiny coat. When searching for a pet-friendly shampoo, don't forget to look for vitamin E on the label!
#3: Improved Eyesight
Not only does vitamin E help preserve the quality of canine eyesight, but it also inhibits certain ophthalmological disorders, such as cataracts. Such is the example of a champion Doberman Pinscher, whose cataracts allegedly cleared up after being treated with 300 IUs of vitamin E every day over several weeks. So, although not fit to treat all eyesight issues, vitamin E does lend a helping hand in keeping your canine friend's vision clear.
#4: Improved Muscular Function
Vitamin E works as a powerful biological antioxidant that protects the muscles from lipid peroxidation. Failure to provide canines with enough vitamin E can result in muscular dystrophies such as white muscle disease, a condition that manifests itself through skeletal muscle pallor or, microscopically, as necrosis (i.e., premature cell death) and mineralization of muscle fibers.
#5: Increased Fertility
Are you trying to breed your dog? Vitamin E supplementation might be the answer. In a 2018 study, researchers have concluded that a 60-day supplementation program improves the antioxidant status of spermatozoa and semen quality in dogs struggling with low fertility. Studies also indicate that vitamin E is more effective with other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, selenium, and beta-carotene, at improving sperm count and motility. So if breeding your dog is your ultimate aim, don't ignore these nutrients!
#6: Improved Cardiovascular Health
Finally, proper vitamin E dosage will bring a solid boost to your dog's cardiovascular health. According to researchers, vitamin E deficiencies pave the way for cardiovascular issues such as cardiomyopathy (i.e., the hearth's impaired ability to pump blood throughout the body). As the heart stops functioning correctly, cell oxygenation and cellular metabolism take a hit as well, resulting in the overproduction of free radicals (unstable and highly reactive!). Through proliferation, free radicals attack and cause cellular damage in the shape of oxidative stress. Fortunately, a diet enhanced with vitamin E and essential fatty acids can help cells decrease their sensitivity and repel these free radicals.
Natural Foods Rich with Vitamin E
If you suspect that your dog has a vitamin E deficiency, don't consider supplementation as your first choice! Vitamin E occurs naturally in various foods, from fruits and vegetables to fish, that will whet your canine friend's appetite! So let's look at the following list of vitamin-E-rich foods and help you decide which should be a part of your dog's next meal:
- Fruits and vegetables: spinach, avocado, broccoli;
- Nuts and seeds:sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds;
- Vegetable oils: sunflower oil, soybean oil, fatty fish oil, krill oil, safflower oil, wheat germ oil;
- Fish: trout and salmon;
- Peanut butter (always choose a natural nut butter without xylitol).
You can choose any of these foods and see what your dog will find palatable. Regardless of choice, you can rest assured that your dog's vitamin E intake comes from natural sources. Due to its highly processed character, Vitamin E in its natural form cannot survive extrusion; therefore, manufacturers choose to use synthetic vitamins, which are not always as bioavailable to your dog. So stick to whole natural foods, and your dog will reach the healthy vitamin E levels he needs!
Is There Such a Thing As Vitamin E Over supplementation?
Although a rare occurrence, vitamin E oversupplementation can occur in dogs:
- Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it gradually stores in the liver and causes toxicity.
- Overabundant amounts of vitamin E are no ally to the digestive system; gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting or diarrhea may occur.
- Vitamin E facilitates the absorption of fat-soluble and potentially toxic vitamins such as vitamin A and inhibits the proper absorption of vitamins D and K, essential for blood coagulation.
A Parting Reminder
Vitamin E is an essential nutrient for your dog's healthy growth and well-being. When considering vitamin E for dogs, it is best to incorporate natural rather than synthetic sources into the diet. Natural vitamin E labeled as alpha-tocopherol may also be found in organic dog food. In addition, dog foods containing natural wheat germ may be a good source of the vitamin, and supplementing a dog's diet with fresh green vegetables and fruit can be a good way of incorporating it. For more advice on dog nutrition, health, and training, make sure that you contact us or check out our blog!