Vitamin E in Homemade Meals for Dogs and Cats
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect cells in the body from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are formed when the dog's bodies convert the food they eat into energy. Dogs are also exposed to free radicals in the environment. Their body needs vitamin E to ”boost the immune system so that it can fight off invading bacteria and viruses. It helps to widen blood vessels and keep blood from clotting within them. In addition, cells use vitamin E to interact with each other and carry out many important functions.” (NIH)
Are beef liver, sardines, eggs, brain, kidney, and sunflower seeds a good source of Vitamin E? Short answer; no. According to science-based NRC Guidelines, even if we add all of those ingredients into one meal, the Vitamin E nutrient requirement is still lacking by a large percentage. Vitamin E doesn’t just need to meet the bare minimum of 100%; as shown on the chart, it needs to meet or be greater than PUFA. This information can be confusing, and that’s why consulting an animal nutritionist when making your pets home-made food is highly beneficial.
There are so many factors to consider when finding the best source of Vitamin E. We have to look at the bioavailability of the source, calories, other nutrients, and so on. “It comes in a few forms; the best and most bioavailable is alpha-tocopherol. In supplements, you’ll see d- or dl-a-tocopherol. D- is the naturally derived form and dl- is artificial.” @thepetnutritionist. For these reasons, I recommend using Vitamin E in a supplement form to meet my dog's needs and clients needs accurately. More information on supplements can be read here.
This graphic shown is only used to visualize the lack of Vitamin E using a 50-pound dog as an example. The servicing amounts are based on what a reasonable about of each ingredient should be for a dog this size. I never recommend seeds for meeting any nutrient requirement. The measurements shown are not a balanced raw meal.
Which forms of Vitamin E do you use for your pet's homemade meals?