Vitamin E for Dogs - Uses, Benefits and Sources

Vitamin E for dogs
Learn about dogs

A healthy, balanced diet requires the presence of various vitamins and minerals, vitamin E being one of the main ones. And this goes for both humans and hounds. You might take extra vitamin supplements to ensure your body is getting absolutely everything it needs, but are you putting the same thought into making sure your dog is getting everything they need?

We’re here to give you the lowdown on vitamin E, what it is, what it does, why it’s great and how your dog can get their share of vitamin E.

What is vitamin E?

Vitamin E is what is classed as a ‘fat-soluble’ vitamin, along with vitamin A, D and K, which are vitamins present in higher fat foods and stored in the liver and in fatty tissue. For your dog to look and feel healthy, it’s crucial that their dinners include balanced levels of vitamin E.

What are the benefits of vitamin E for dogs?

Vitamin E has a whole wealth of health benefits, and it’s an absolutely essential ingredient in your dog’s dinners, both people and pooches can’t do without vitamin E.

It’s an important vitamin that functions as an antioxidant, which are vital parts of your dog’s meals that help to boost the immune system and combat against the free radicals in the skin.

If you’re unsure about what free radicals are, they’re essentially a group of unstable atoms which are produced by the normal processes that occur in the body every day. While the production of free radicals is totally normal, they can cause ‘oxidative damage’, which is a process that triggers  significant damage to cell membranes, protein and DNA, which in turn can lead to illnesses and aging. Antioxidants, such as vitamin E, work to combat this process by steadying and defusing the unstable atoms that make up free radicals to prevent the extent of their damage.

And although it’s combative talent against free radicals is probably the most sought-after feature of vitamin E, it’s also brilliant for boosting and supporting the immune system (which in turn helps prevent all sorts of illnesses), cell function, the heart, liver, nerve cells and muscles.

Vitamin E for dogs

One study also describes how vitamin E can be beneficial when it comes to decreasing the impact of canine arthritis. And if that seriously just wasn’t enough, it also helps promote healthy skin and a glorious, glossy coat. Basically, vitamin E is a bit of an all-rounder, an absolute must in your dog’s dinners.

How can I tell if my dog has a vitamin E deficiency?

A vitamin E deficiency is rare, and it’d be pretty hard to spot as the symptoms are very nonspecific. However, some of the symptoms to look out for include:

  • Excessive moulting
  • Weakness
  • Dry of flaky skin
  • Poor coat condition
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased vision
  • Fertility problems

If your poor pooch is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult your vet to find out the root of the problem, as the symptoms could indicate various other underlying issues, not just a vitamin E deficiency.

Is there enough vitamin E in my dog’s food?

Any dog food that is labelled as being ‘complete’, with ‘added vitamins and minerals’ should have the right amount of vitamin E in to sustain your dog’s needs. And although this means that your dog’s vitamin E levels are sufficient, they might not be getting the right amount from the right sources so that they thrive.

In many commercial dog foods, such as kibble, the nutritional value of the food is often diminished due to the harsh processing methods and extreme heats the ingredients are put under. For kibble, this process is called extrusion, and it’s proven that this process can significantly damage the nutrients that would have been in the ingredients originally, such as vitamin E. These essential vitamins may then have to be added back into the food to make sure the food is complete.

Instead of poor-quality kibble that’s not actually that nutritious, switch to natural, nutritious meals like Pure that are full of various vitamins, including natural sources of vitamin E, to make sure your pooch feels happy and healthy with every meal.

Our Pure recipes are simple and wholesome, using real ingredients that you’d buy for yourself. For example, we use peas, sweet potatoes and in some of our tailored recipes we use salmon as our protein source, all ingredients dense in vitamin E. And unlike kibble, our ingredients are put under a super gentle heat, so all the nutrients and goodness are locked in and nothing is lost. This ensures your dog is getting the best nutrition with every bite.

Some dog-safe ingredients that are also rich in vitamin E include:

  • Peas
  • Salmon
  • Broccoli
  • Blueberries
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potato
  • Peanut butter

If your pooch is eating complete and balanced dinners like Pure, then that’ll do the trick to keep your dog in tiptop shape. However, you can always offer any of these foods listed above as an extra treat that’s still tasty and healthy, providing an extra kick of vitamin E.

So, your dog should always be getting enough vitamin E in their food, but if they suffer with skin or ear problems then your vet may recommend vitamin E supplementation to help with the issue.

Recap

Overall, vitamin E is absolutely fundamental to have in your dog’s dinners because of all the health benefits that it brings. Treat your dog to healthy, wholesome dog food that contains all the vitamins they need to live happy and healthy.

Dr Andrew Miller BVSc MRCVS

Written by: Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS

Andy graduated from Bristol University in 2010 and sees nutrition as a foundation for our pet's wellbeing and takes a common-sense approach. We are what we eat, and it shouldn't be any different for our pets.

Sources
  1. Anti-inflammatory response of dietary vitamin E and its effects on pain and joint structures during early stages of surgically induced osteoarthritis in dogs Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research, 77, (3), July 2013, 191-198, PMID: 24101795
  2. Extrusion Processing – Effects on dry canine diets PhD Thesis, Wageningen University and Research Centre, 2008
  3. Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health Pharmacognosy Review, 4, (8), July 2010, 118-126, doi:10.4103/0973-7847.70902
  4. Supplements for osteoarthritis: What’s the evidence? Innovative Veterinary Care, Feb 2017
  5. Vitamin E supplementation in canine atopic dermatitis: Improvement of clinical signs and effects on oxidative stress markers The Veterinary Record, 175, (22), Sept 2014, DOI:10.1136/vr.102547

Related Articles