Vitamin E for Dogs: Uses & Benefits
Many organisms have immune systems that help to fight against illness and disease but sometimes they might need extra help. Nutrients are considered the building blocks of good health and there is a wide variety that serves different purposes. Vitamin E is one of those nutrients that help the body in its fight against diseases. This vitamin has been proven to be vital for dog health and this article will look at some of the reasons why. Information on how the vitamin works in the dog’s body will also be discussed.
What is Vitamin E?
To fully understand what this vitamin is, you will have to discuss free radicals since the vitamin works against them. Free radicals are oxygen-containing atoms and electrons that facilitate cell membrane, DNA and protein damage. Even though its formation is considered a normal part of the energy-producing metabolic process, it can become excessive and cause severe health problems. When a dog becomes sick, gets exposed to toxins or just grows old, the free radicals become more, thereby increasing the damage. Another way by which free radicals cause damage is by ‘stealing’ electrons and turning them into more free radicals. If not given adequate attention, they can cause cancer, arthritis and heart disease in dogs.
The counter to free radicals is antioxidants, and that is where vitamin E comes in. Antioxidants stop the action of free radicals by releasing electrons that do not get turned even when in contact with free radicals. These electrons are highly reactive and can be found in the outer shell, and is hence referred to as a quenching agent for free radicals. This means the cycle of cell damage will stop and the body can resume normal function. Vitamin E is fat-soluble and is instrumental in strengthening the muscles as well as the immune and circulatory systems. There are four naturally occurring forms of the vitamin which are categorized into groups called tocopherols and tocotrienols. Corn oil and soya bean oil is where γ-tocopherol is found. Sunflower and olive oils, which is where α-tocopherol is found. These are the two most commonly occurring forms of vitamin E. This vitamin also acts as a protective agent, ensuring that Vitamin A, Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) and sulfur-containing Amino Acids do not oxidize. This means that the more of these components a dog diet has, the more vitamin e is needed.
Can Dogs Have Vitamin E
Because of the function of this vitamin, it is safe to say that it is beneficial to dogs’ health. There are no limits to what the vitamin can do for a dog’s health; a lot of studies have gone into finding these benefits. Studies have shown that the vitamin improves health in different parts of a dog’s body and has advantages which include the following:
- Better Immune System: This benefit is probably the most obvious because of how vitamin e works. The vitamin can either work alone or with others like phosphorus and zinc to help the body in its fight against diseases. As mentioned earlier, it stops the oxidation process of some fatty acids in diets, which have the potential of causing damage. Oxidation generally reduces the value of some nutrients, and vitamin e is the best nutrient to reverse the situation. Free radicals that are damaged molecules will no longer be able to threaten the immune system of the dog once vitamin e is introduced.
- Shiny coat: In this regard, the vitamin can work in two ways, either from the inside or externally. Including vitamin e to your dog’s diet can facilitate the body’s system responsible for skin health to improve hair growth. Also, it can be applied directly to their skin and will yield the same, if not better results. The vitamin is known to be a remedy for dogs with flea allergy dermatitis and also as an anti-inflammatory vitamin. It helps to soothe the skin and restore it back to its healthy state. It also helps the skin by supporting the development of connective tissues which are responsible for the elasticity f the skin. Therefore, the dog’s coat will look and feel healthier, thereby facilitating the healthy growth of hair. Vets also recommend using vitamin e for dogs itchy skin and the results will manifest within the shortest possible time.
- Cardiovascular health: If you want your dog to live a longer and healthier life, then you should include vitamin e in their routines. Its function in strengthening the cardiovascular system involves oxygenating the blood, hence enhancing circulation to vital organs. The vitamin ensures that the heart receives the adequate support it needs to cater to all parts of the body. It also works by increasing the healing of heart injuries and illnesses, including arteriosclerosis and tachycardia which is an increased heart rate. Heart health also can affect the quality of life of the dog and so it must be kept in good shape. This way you and your dog can experience a worry-free life together for many years to come.
Other benefits of the vitamin include improved fertility, especially in male dogs with low fertility. In a study, results showed an improvement in the semen of some dogs after they had been on the vitamin for 60 days. Another benefit is that the dog will experience better eyesight if the vitamin is introduced in their diet. This was proven after a Doberman Pinscher was put on 300UI of the vitamin every day and was cured of her cataracts after three months. The dog, who was also considered infertile, had a litter of puppies after a few weeks. The vitamin has also been known to improve muscular health especially when combined with other nutrients like omega-3 acids. Generally, the vitamin also helps to reduce the effect of age-related health issues so that dogs can age gracefully.
How to Administer Vitamin E to Your Dog
There are three main ways by which your dog can reap the benefits of vitamin e, and they include the following.
- Through their diet: This the natural way of getting vitamin e into your dog’s body without doing too much. Ultimately, what goes on inside their body will show on the outside and so you get double benefits with this method. There is some food that is rich in the vitamin and they include dandelion, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and spinach. Also, foods that are high in protein are also likely to contain the vitamin. You can either prepare a homemade diet or buy canned food for your dog but pay attention to the ingredients before feeding anything to your dog.
- Through supplements: The only time supplements become necessary is when there is a deficiency that requires it. This is because a high-quality diet is likely to already have vitamin e in the amount the dog’s body needs it. Supplements usually come in the pill form and you can hide in your dog’s food if they are a little resistant to take it. You also get double benefits with this method since a healthy inside will lead to an equally good exterior. You must speak to a trusted vet to help with the dosage and best supplement for your dog.
- Directly on the skin: This method takes care of the dog’s exterior and involves products like shampoos and oils. If your dog has itchy or infected skin, then this method will be the quickest way to get rid of the illness. You can use vitamin e oil in their water when bathing them and pick a shampoo containing the vitamin. These products will soothe the skin and keep the infection from getting worse, thereby healing the skin. You must select the right one so that your dog does not get worse.
How Much Vitamin E Is Good For Dogs?
Vitamin e dosage for dogs should be left to a trusted veterinarian to decide. This is mainly because each dog is different and might need different amounts of the nutrient to heal. Generally, the amount of vitamin e a dog takes depends on their age, size, and health as well as other factors. The general recommendation is 400 IU a day for small dogs and 800IU for large dogs, and there is no known side effect yet. However, there is such a thing as vitamin e overdose and hence the need to rely on a vet for the right dosage for your dog. Because it is fat-soluble, the vitamin gets stored in the liver as compared to water-soluble vitamins that are readily excreted through the kidney. This observation is made in dogs who take vitamin e supplements more than those who get it naturally from a high-quality diet.
Of all the dog vitamins available, vitamin e is one of the best with evidence-based benefits. It is instrumental in skin, cardiovascular, and immune system health and also helps with muscular and reproductive health. The vitamin can either be extracted from high-quality food, through supplements or applied directly over dogs’ skin, and there’ll be positive results in all cases. Because it is concerned with your dog’s health, you might want to consult an expert before giving your dog anything. This reduces the chances of the wrong dosage, which might lead to even worse health complications.