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What Are Tocopherols in Dog Food? Vet-Verified Nutritional Facts

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

dog eating dog food

What Are Tocopherols in Dog Food? Vet-Verified Nutritional Facts


Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg  Photo


Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Commercial dog food is what most owners feed their dogs because it’s convenient, and affordable compared to homemade food, and typically offers all the nutrients that a dog needs to thrive and enjoy a high quality of life. Many different ingredients are used in dog food, such as chicken, beef, corn, sweet potatoes, and tocopherols. The problem is that some ingredients, like tocopherols, can seem suspicious if you don’t know what they are. So, what are tocopherols in dog food, and are they safe for your pooch to consume? In general, tocopherols are a source of vitamin E. Here’s what you need to know.


Tocopherols Are Vitamin-Rich Preservatives

Simply put, tocopherols are a source of vitamin E. Most dog food brands use mixed tocopherols in their recipes, which are made up of a combination of tocopherol sources, including:

  • Alpha-Tocopherols
  • Beta-Tocopherols
  • Gamma-Tocopherols
  • Delta-Tocopherols

However, each form of tocopherol varies slightly when it comes to chemical structure. Tocopherols are extracted from plant and seed oils. When added to dog food, these tocopherols work as preservatives and help keep the protein and other ingredients in the food from going rancid and spoiling.

bernese mountain dog eating
Image By: Kristesoro, Shutterstock

Tocopherols Can Be Good for Dogs

In addition to preserving the dog food, tocopherols offer a source of vitamin E that your pooch can absorb. Vitamin E is extremely important in a dog’s diet. It helps cells carry out their important jobs and may help serve a protective function for cell membranes against oxidative damage. Also, it seems to reduce risk for blood clots.

The Bottom Line: It’s a Good Thing That Tocopherols Are Included in Dog Food

When all is said and done, tocopherols are a great addition to dog food, especially when compared to possibly harmful synthetic preservatives like TBHQ. If you see tocopherols in the ingredients list, you can have peace of mind knowing that the food is naturally preserved and offers plenty of vitamin E so one need not worry about potential vitamin E deficiency. Keep in mind that dog treats and other products for consumption can also include tocopherols. If not, synthetic preservatives may be used. So, check the ingredients list on any product that you buy your dog.

divider-pawFinal Thoughts

Tocopherols are nothing to be worried about when it comes to dog food. If you are ever in doubt about an ingredient, it is a good idea to schedule a consultation appointment with your veterinarian.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: cottonbro, Unsplash

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