Vitamin E is one of the most important nutrients for your dog.
Out of all the many supplements I give my dogs Vitamin E oil is definitely one of the top five. If you are feeding a homemade dog food recipe you already know about the different vitamins and nutrients you must add to provide a balanced diet for your dog. But for most of us, we simply buy dog food hoping it has the best nutrients available, including the essential antioxidant Vitamin E. Unfortunately that’s not always the case.
But why is Vitamin E so important for dogs, how much do dogs need and what is the best source?
In this article, I hope to answer those questions and explain the benefits, uses, and sources of Vitamin E for Dogs so that you can make a more informed decision about the health and well being of your furry friend!
Like you, I want the best for my dogs always. And I go over-the-top when it comes to selecting and providing the best sources of nutrition for my two dogs.
Vitamin E is no different.
What Is Vitamin E?
Vitamin E, sometimes referred to as a tocopherol or tocotrienol, is a powerful antioxidant that exists as a fat-soluble nutrient we call vitamins. This powerful antioxidant is essential for healing injury and can be taken orally as well as applied as a vitamin E oil to heal wounds externally on the skin.
Without learning chemistry, just know that Vitamin E protects Poly Unsaturrated Fats (also known as PUFAS) from oxidation. PUFAS is a fancy name for a common supplement you already feed your dog, Omega-3. Omega-3 can be found in both plants and animals and converts into DHA and EPA. This is why you most commonly find fish oil supplements containing Vitamin E as well. Vitamin E is also included as a preservative in a lot of dog treats you’ll find at your local natural dog food stores.
Where Does Vitamin E Come From?
Vitamin E is found abundatly in many foods including almonds, sunflower seeds, wheat germ oil, avocados, peppers, many leafy greens, and fish like salmon and trout. But some of these human-grade foods may not be suitable for your dog. So here are some specific foods high in Vitamin E your dog can eat:
Foods high in Vitamin E for Dogs Include:
- Wild Atlantic Salmon
- Sunflower Oil
- Wheat Germ Oil
- Cod Liver Oil
Out of the four listed above, by far my favorite Vitamin E Oil for Dogs is Wheat Germ Oil. This is a highly concentrated source of Vitamin E. I would not suggest Cod or Salmon as they both can contain higher levels of heavy metals like mercury.
Additionally, I would suggest feeding can sardines as a supplemental diet because sardines contain some Vitamin E as well as other nutrients that are super good for your dog’s health, skin and coat.
Why Is Vitamin E Vital For Your Dogs Health?
First, we must understand the relationship between free radicals and antioxidants. According to this study “Free radicals thus adversely alter lipids, proteins, and DNA and trigger a number of human diseases.” Therefore, the same can be true in dogs. Without having basic knowledge of chemistry, just know your dog has cells. When cells are healthy, your dog is too. When they become unstable a process called oxidative stress happens.
You may have heard the term “oxidative stress” before. If this process lasts too long it can damage the cells of your dog’s body leading to a whole range of diseases, premature aging, wrinkles and many other symptoms.
Here is just some of the diseases associated with oxidative stress:
- Cataracts and vision decline
- Cardiovascular disease
In fact, many studies in rats support this and the “free radical theory of aging” was published in 1956. I encourage you to read about the damage from free radicals more here.
Ok, so we know that oxidative stress is bad and is caused by free radicals. How can we minimize this and thus decrease the chances of these diseases happening to our dogs?
Benefits of Vitamin E for Dogs…
The key is antioxidants.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant.
Antioxidants can slow down and even stop the process of cell injury.
Vitamin E is important for vision, blood and skin as well as a powerful antioxidant.
So Is Vitamin E Good For Dogs?
YES! And here are just some of the benefits:
Vitamin E For Dog Vision
Vitamin E will protect your dogs eyes from free radicals that are known to break down healthy eye tissue which can lead to cateracts and macular degeration. With the passage of time, dog vision problems can and will occur. But with vitamins such as Vitamin E we can slow down the aging process. If you notice your dog has opache or cloudy eyes this is most likely canine cateracts.
I began noticing in my own dogs after the age of 11 they both started getting this cloudy coating on their eyes. You could see it at different angles and when light entered. So I started providing them with more antioxidants including Vitamin E and the cloudiness has diminsed as well as the progression as I have not seen it progress much from year 11.
If you research Wendell O. Belfield, DVM, you will find numerous sussceful treatments of dogs using a combination of Vitamin E and selenium – both oral and injection. The vitamin E dosage was 300 Internation Units (IUs) of vitamin E daily and within a few weeks the results were impressive. Not only did the cateracts clear up, the dogs went on to live a hapier and healthier life, even giving several litters of puppies!
Is Vitamin E Good for Dogs Skin?
Vitamin E For Dogs Skin: If your dog has itchy skin and is scratching all the time or has a dull and dry coat, Vitamin E will help turn dry skin and coat into a lustrous and shiny coat!
I must say though, Vitamin E is not a cure for dogs who suffer from allergies. It will help but only temporary. If your dog is constantly itching it’s most likely an allergic reaction to something you are feeding him. By removing that allergen and supplementing with Vitamin E, you can improve the outcome.
When your dog itches (especially if it’s long-lasting) your dog will irritate the surface of his skin and cause an immune response which will make the situation worse. Trust me, I’ve experienced this before with my dogs when they have got bitten by fleas. Once the immune response happened after the fleas were gone, they contionue to itch non-stop. So it’s important to alwasy treat the root cause and also provuide supplemental relief.
Look for a good vitamin E oil like wheat germ oil or sunflower oil. Vitamin E has a moisturizing effect that will help treat dry and flaky skin and provide some relief to your pooch. It’s also great for scars or inuries as it will speed up healing time and reduce visible scarring. Use Vitamin E oil to target specific areas on your dog that need moistizing and healing.
Vitamin E is also good for your dogs ears and will help clear up inflammation and other ear problems!
Vitamin E Oil For Dogs
Vitamin E oil is one of the safest and easiest ways to give Vitamin E to your dog. But don’t overdo it. You can apply it topically without worry though. But when supplementing make sure you are using a formula for dogs.
Is Vitamin E Oil safe for dogs to eat?
I would not suggest feeding human vitamin E oil to your dog. Instead make sure to find a formula that is made for dogs. In the right dosage and amounts, yes feeding your dog vitamin E oil is good!
Here are some tips to use Vitamin E oil on your dog:
- Rubbing vitamin E oil on your dogs fur is the first thing you can start doing to clear up skin problems. It’s ok if your dog licks the oil from his coat so long as you are using a natural vitamin E supplement.
- After cleaning your dog’s ears, try rubbing a small amount of oil on the outside and inside flap of your dog’s ear.
- If your dog has warts or other skin bumps, try rubbing a small amount of Vitamin E oil every day for a week and see if that helps with scarring and clearing of the skin abnormalities.
Vitamin E For Dog Heart and Cardiovascular
Although studies are limited in what I could find, Vitamin E is thought to thin the blood which reduces the risk of clotting. If your dog is on a blood thinner it’s best to speak to your vet first before adding any to his diet.
Vitamin E and Your Dog’s Immune System
A healthy immune system is the #1 most important function you must maintain for your dog to be happy and healthy! There are many natural ways to improve the immune system of your dog:
- Herbs like Echinacea and Astragalus can help
- Mushrooms like reishi and maitake are wonderful
- Feeding a complete whole-food, unprocessed diet rich in phytonutrients
- Detoxifying the liver
- Nutrients like Vitamin E…
These are some ways to strengthen your dogs immune system.
Vitamin E Strengthens The Immune System
When your dog’s immunse system is under stress and exposed to oxidative stress, his immune system gets weaker. Environmental pollutions, water pollutions and pesticides found in non-organic foods also contribute to this oxidative stress.
Because of Vitamin E’s potent antioxidant, it can help prevent this oxidative stress and improve immune function.
This was proven by a study done on mice. A researcher by the name of Manfred Kopf, a professor at ETH Zurich’s Institute of Molecular Health Sciences, was able to save the immune cells of the mice from cell death by mixing a high dose of vitamin E into their food. You can read the study here.
Also, a deficiency in Vitamin E is a great way to harm your dog’s immune system. So be sure you provide a balanced diet and supplement with Vitamin E if your dog’s current diet isn’t getting enough.
Vitamin E Dosage for Dogs
The dosage depends entirely on the body weight and size or your dog. It also depends on your dog’s current diet. If he is eating a dog food that is formulated with Vitamin E, you probably don’t need to supplement it internally. It’s rare to see Vitamin E deficiencies in Dogs. But if not, then a general rule of a thumb for my dogs (under 25 lbs) is approximately 200 – 400 IU daily.
- Make sure you don’t feed your dog synthetic vitamin E! It’s out there in human form and probably not a good idea for you or your dog to take.
- Natural sources of Vitamin E will be the best choice for you and your dog.
- Because Vitamin E is fat soluble, it’s important to feed it with food.
A Word of Caution When Feeding Vitamin E to Your Dog
After speaking about all the wonderful benefits of Vitamin E for dogs, I must warn you about a few things:
- When feeding your dog fish oil, Vitamin E is essential. Without it, fish oil (omega-3) can’t do its job effectively and may actually harm your pet. That’s why a lot of fish oil supplements for dogs contain vitamin E.
- Too much Vitamin E will harm your dog!