What Is Vitamin E for Dogs?

The Benefits of Vitamin E for Dogs

Vitamin E for dogs is an essential vitamin and a potent antioxidant. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, the same as vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin K.

Free radicals, which are unstable atoms that can cause damage to the body’s cells, are produced as a normal part of metabolism. However, their production is increased when the pet is sick or aging. 

Vitamin E plays an important role in preventing oxidative damage, which is damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, vitamin E supports the immune system and helps keep the skin healthy.

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Is Vitamin E Safe for Dogs?

Yes, vitamin E is safe to give to dogs when given in appropriate amounts. 

Dogs usually get adequate amounts of vitamin E through their diets. However, using supplements may be advisable in specific cases. For example, some dogs may inherit vitamin E deficiency. 

Also, dogs fed homemade diets that are not appropriately balanced can develop a vitamin E deficiency. Dogs with liver, eye, or skin conditions sometimes benefit from vitamin E supplementation.

In such cases, vitamin E supplements will support the dogs’ health and prevent issues caused by vitamin E deficiency.

Vitamin E is often given to dogs in the form of supplements (oils and chews). It is also naturally present in many human foods. If dealing with skin problems, even topical use of vitamin E for dogs is possible.

All in all, adding vitamin E to a dog’s diet when recommended by a veterinarian is okay and can have a positive effect on pet health.

Can You Give a Dog Human Vitamin E?

Yes, you can give your dog supplemental vitamin E intended for humans, but only if you get approval from your vet. 

This is because many vitamin E supplements for humans feature additional active ingredients. Some of those active ingredients can be dangerous to dogs. Also, the amount of vitamin E in human supplements may not match what is recommended by your veterinarian. 

Which Form of Vitamin E Should Be Used for Dogs?

The best form of vitamin E for dogs is d-alpha-tocopherol.

Vitamin E exists in eight forms, categorized into tocopherols and tocotrienols. Out of these forms, d-alpha-tocopherol (also called RRR-alpha-tocopherol) is the best because it is easier to absorb and use. d-alpha-tocopherol comes from natural sources, while dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate comes from synthetic sources.

Therefore, when choosing a vitamin E supplement, check the label and ensure it lists d-alpha-tocopherol as its main ingredient.

What Are the Benefits of Vitamin E for Dogs?

The Benefits of Vitamin E for Dogs

Vitamin E for dogs acts as a potent antioxidant. In addition, it brings several advantages. Here is a closer look at the benefits of vitamin E for dog’s health.

  • Fights Free Radicals: Vitamin E helps protect against free radicals — oxidation compounds that have been linked to damage in cells throughout the body. The antioxidant effect is great for cardiovascular health.
  • Immunity Boost: Some dogs are prone to having low levels of vitamin E in their bodies. This can lead to problems with their immune systems. Vitamin E is an important immune system modulator.
  • Healthy Skin: Vitamin E can help to reduce scar tissue formation after surgery or injury. It also supports the dog’s skin health and promotes a shiny coat.
  • Better Fertility: In a 2018 study, “Selenium and vitamin E supplementation enhances the antioxidant status of spermatozoa and improves semen quality in male dogs with lowered fertility,“ scientists showed the positive effect of vitamin E on reproductive health.
  • Joint Health: A 2017 study, “Supplements for osteoarthritis: what’s the evidence?“ showed that vitamin E is helpful for managing osteoarthritis in dogs. The beneficial effect is probably due to the vitamin’s anti-inflammatory features.
  • Improved Cognition: Vitamin E also supports cognitive function in dogs, which includes memory and learning ability. Declining cognition is one of the hallmarks of aging. While a natural process, it can be slowed down with certain nutrients.
  • Strong Vision: Vitamin E for dogs supports eye health and vision. It can also help prevent certain ophthalmological disorders. In an anecdotal report, a dog’s cataracts cleared up after being supplemented with 300 IUs of vitamin E per day for several weeks.

Can I Give My Dog Vitamin E for Dry Skin?

Yes, you can give your dog vitamin E for dry skin.

According to PetMD, “dogs with dry or itchy skin, or skin and ear allergies could benefit“ from vitamin E supplementation. Additionally, a 2014 study, “Vitamin E supplementation in canine atopic dermatitis: improvement of clinical signs and effects on oxidative stress markers,“ showed the beneficial effect of vitamin E for canine atopic dermatitis.

Vitamin E supplements are usually given orally. However, vitamin E oils may be an option for certain localized skin problems. If you will be supplementing vitamin E for your pet, work with your veterinarian to determine if oral supplementation or topical application would better suit your pet’s needs.

Can You Give Vitamin E to Dogs Who Are Pregnant?

Yes, you can give vitamin E to dogs during pregnancy.

In fact, vitamin E may be good for dogs that are pregnant. Pregnancy increases oxidative stress, which vitamin E can help to combat. 

Other vitamins good for pregnant dogs are vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin B (including B1, B2, B6, B12, etc.).

These vitamins can be taken together or separately. If your dog is pregnant and you wish to give your pet a supplement, ask the vet which vitamin supplement is best.

What are Good Sources of Vitamin E for Dogs?

The Benefits of Vitamin E for Dogs

There are a variety of vitamin E supplements pet parents can give dogs. Some are in the form of oral oils and chews, and others come as topical vitamin E oils. Here is a more detailed look at several great vitamin E products for dogs marketed for dogs. 

  • PetLab Co. Multivitamins: PetLab Co. Multivitamin chews are formulated specifically to support your pet’s overall health with many incredible benefits. Each delicious chew is packed with a blend of folic acid, and vitamins A, E, D & B12, which can all work together to support your canine’s health and promote overall vitality. Full of efficient vitamins, these tasty chews are shown to provide nutritional support for healthy immune function and help them live happy, active life.
  • ProVida Immune Function & Multivitamin Supplement for Dogs: This product is a multivitamin that contains vitamin E. It aims to  stabilize your dog’s immune functioning while keeping it protected from toxins and pathogens. You can easily mix the powder right in with the rest of your dog’s food.
    High-quality ingredients are used in this product. It contains a prebiotic and probiotic combination that has a quick response rate. 
  • Omega 3 Fish Oil for Dogs Chews with Biotin & Vitamin E: These chews are perfect for skin and coat health. The chews can help with skin problems like dry skin, allergies, and hot spots.
    These supplements also encourage healthier hips, joints, and immune functioning. Dogs will love the taste of these soft chews. They are made in the United States in a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)-certified facility. 
  • Jungle Pet Omega 3 Fish Oil for Dogs: This is another dog supplement with vitamin E. This product will encourage healthy joint support. You can feed it to your dog along with their meal, or along with a treat.
    This product is ideal for boosting immune functioning while encouraging mobility at the same time. It can reduce joint pain for dogs that are starting to show symptoms of arthritis. The product is formulated in regulated US facilities. 

If you want to use the most highly recommended form of vitamin E, d-alpha-tocopherol, you may want to discuss utilizing a human product with your veterinarian.

What Foods Contain Vitamin E for Dogs?

Many human foods are rich in vitamin E and are also good for dogs. Here are some of the best natural sources of vitamin E for dogs:

  • Organ Meat: Organ meats such as liver and spleen are other excellent vitamin E sources. In addition to vitamin E, organ meat contains other fat-soluble vitamins (A & D3), omega fatty acids, minerals, and proteins.
  • Cooking Oils: Olive oil, fish oil, salmon oil, cod liver oil, and flaxseed oil are good sources of vitamin E. Fish oil supplements are excellent for dogs.
  • Peanut Butter: All nuts are rich in vitamin E. However, they are not all safe for dogs. The good news is that peanuts are safe, and peanut butter is an easy way of enriching your dog’s nutrition with a healthy source of vitamin E. Ensure you are not using sugar-free peanut butter containing the synthetic sugar called xylitol.
  • Fruits & Veggies: The group of vitamin E-rich fruits & veggies includes mango, blackberries, turnip greens, asparagus, broccoli, etc.

How Much Vitamin E Should You Give a Dog?

The Benefits of Vitamin E for Dogs

Based on the recommendations of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), dogs need no less than 50 IU of vitamin E per day (33.5 mg d-alpha-tocopherol or 45 mg of dl-alpha-tocopherol). 

AAFCO-approved commercial dog foods will have appropriate amounts of vitamin E. As previously mentioned, some dogs with genetic conditions that cause deficiency, homemade diets, or certain medical conditions may benefit from supplemental vitamin E.

Based on the pet’s diet, body weight (large dogs need more than smaller dogs), and overall health, the exact dose may vary. Therefore, it is best to consult with your vet and determine the right amount of vitamin E for your dog.

How Often Should You Give a Dog Vitamin E?

It depends on the type of supplement. Some vitamin E for dogs supplements are made for daily use, and others can be given every other or every couple of days. You should follow your veterinarian’s recommendation regarding the frequency of administration.

According to Dr. Rhiannon Koehler, “Most dogs eating high-quality pet foods will not need vitamin E supplements, but they may be helpful for some pets, especially those with skin conditions. Although you should always be cautious when giving your pets supplements, vitamin E toxicity isn’t common at all in dogs. Speak with your veterinarian to make sure you’re utilizing an appropriate dose for maximal benefit!”

What Are the Side Effects of Giving Too Much Vitamin E to Dogs?

Excess amounts of vitamin E for dogs can cause side effects. The primary concern is impaired blood clotting, which can manifest as prolonged bleeding.

Other possible side effects of vitamin E overdoses are lethargy, gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and diarrhea), and changes in behavior (trembling, nervousness).

However, we should note that vitamin E overdoses are very rare. Other fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin D are much more likely to cause toxicity. To be safe, consult with your veterinarian before starting any supplements.