What are Mixed Tocopherols in Dog Food?

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Manufacturers use all kinds of ingredients, including mixed tocopherols, to make a perfectly balanced dog diet.

Let’s discuss what mixed tocopherols are and whether or not they’re safe for your canine friend.

What is a Mixed Tocopherol in Dog Food?

The term “mixed tocopherols” refers to a combination of different vitamin E sources1.

They can be a blended mixture of natural forms of vitamin E, including alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol.

While the chemical structure of these tocopherols is different, they are essentially the same.

These vitamin E mixtures are used in different pet products, including dog foods. However, the main reason why manufacturers use these mixtures isn’t their health benefits.

Instead, they are exceptionally great preservatives and greatly increase the shelf life of products.

The demand for healthy and natural pet products has increased dramatically over the last two decades which is why more and more manufacturers are using natural preservatives and removing synthetic ones.  

Curious about more dog food ingredients? Just what is pyridoxine hydrochloride anyway?

Dog food with mixed tocopherols (vitamin E)

Are Mixed Tocopherols Good for Dogs?

Vitamin E serves a wide range of important biological functions, and that’s why it’s important for pets, including dogs.

Free radicals can lead to several diseases in dogs, including the canine equivalent to Alzheimer’s2, Parkinson’s, and even cancer.

Read the story of how I fought my dog’s cancer by changing her diet

Vitamin E is an excellent antioxidant and it keeps free radicals from damaging body cells.

Better yet, it regulates the circulatory system and improves immunity in dogs3. It keeps your pet active by maintaining healthy, lean, and strong muscles.

It also helps dogs by improving coat quality, ensuring healthy skin, and improving eyesight.

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Vitamin E does offer a lot of health benefits to dogs, but it’s added to dog foods in a very low quantity. That’s because manufacturers use this mixture as a natural preservative.

So, you should not expect any significant improvements or benefits in your pooch, even if you use dog food containing tocopherols.

Are Mixed Tocopherols Bad for Dogs?

No, tocopherols aren’t bad for dogs.

Because mixed tocopherols are added as a preservative, not as a vitamin supplement, your dog won’t consume enough from their food to cause a problem.

And even then, vitamin E isn’t toxic. It can thin blood, though, so you may want to avoid mixed tocopherols if your dog needs to go in for a surgical procedure4.

So, it shouldn’t be concerning for you if you see a dog product that has mixed tocopherols mentioned in its ingredient list.

Selenium yeast is another ingredient added to some dog foods. Click here to learn more!

Sources of Mixed Tocopherols in Dog Food

Mixed tocopherols belong to the vitamin E family, and they are naturally found in leafy green vegetables, fish, nuts, vegetable oils, and seeds.

All the sources are natural and healthy, making tocopherols a safe product for dogs.

How Much Mixed Tocopherols Do Dogs Need?

As mentioned, mixed tocopherols are not toxic to dogs, even in large amounts.

According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials5, your dog should consume at least 50 IU of vitamin E daily.

The upper limit for large breeds is up to 3,000 IU and 2,000 IU for small breeds.

No dog food contains vitamin E more than the upper limit, whether in the form of tocopherols or any other ingredient.

It’s important to note that vitamin E deficiency in dogs is rare because all dog foods offer this ingredient.

However, your vet can prescribe vitamin E supplements if your dog is suffering from this problem.

Dog Foods with Mixed Tocopherols

As mentioned, almost all dog foods contain mixed tocopherols.

The following are our favorite picks of dog food with notable amounts of mixed tocopherols.

Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Digestion Chicken Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet is one of the most popular brands that offer highly specialized dog foods.

Their Perfect Digestion Chicken adult dry dog food contains mixed tocopherols along with vitamin C, and it’s most suitable for adult dogs of all breeds.

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Purina Pro Plan Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Along with tocopherols, Purina Pro Plan also comes with EPA, glucosamine, and omega-3 fatty acids to support your dog’s joint health and agility.

This flavor is designed for giant and large breeds of dogs with a balanced and complete formulation, though Purina also has flavors for smaller breeds.

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Royal Canin Adult Health Nutrition Dry Dog Food

If you own a medium breed and need dog food with tocopherols, you can go with Royal Canin’s adult dog food.

It comes with antioxidants and prebiotics to support the immune system and improve digestion.

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Dog Foods without Mixed Tocopherols

The following are our favorite dog foods that don’t contain mixed tocopherols.

Keep in mind that they offer vitamin E as a supplement, not a preservative.

Cesar Filets in Gravy Beef Flavors Variety Pack Dog Food

Cesar Filets is a delicious dog food that features beef as its main protein source.

You can give it to adult dogs of all breeds to provide them with essential minerals and vitamins.

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Kibbles ‘n Bits Original Savory Beef & Chicken Dry Dog Food

Kibbles ‘n Bits designed this dog food to support strong and lean muscles.

It’s rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins (including vitamin E!) and is most suitable for adult dogs of all breeds.

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Pedigree Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Dry Dog Food

Pedigree’s Adult Complete Nutrition dog food comes with a crunchy texture and features omega-6 fatty acids, fiber, and a whole-grain blend to promote healthy digestion.

This dry diet also supports oral health, and it’s suitable for adult dogs of all breeds.

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Final Thoughts

Most dog foods come with mixed tocopherols but in low amounts as this mixture is used as a preservative.

So, you can feed your dog a diet that contains this ingredient.

It’s an entirely safe mixture of four types of vitamin E, which is non-toxic to dogs.

If you notice that your dog is suffering from decreased vision, weakness, muscle degeneration, weight loss, impaired immunity, or neurological problems, they might be suffering from vitamin E deficiency.

Visit your vet as soon as possible because you might need to add vitamin E supplements to your dog’s diet.

Are Mixed Tocopherols Safe for Dogs?

Mixed tocopherols are completely safe for dogs.

In fact, they’re beneficial because of their antioxidant properties. They also allow manufacturers not to use synthetic preservatives that can be harmful to dogs.

So, next time you go out to buy dog food, don’t let labels like “tocopherol” scare you.

What Are Mixed Tocopherols Made From?

Mixed tocopherols are made from natural sources such as fish, nuts, seeds, vegetable oil, and leafy greens.


  1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
  2. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/do-dogs-get-alzheimers/
  3. https://www.redbarn.com/blogs/blog/the-benefits-of-vitamin-e-for-dogs-and-cats
  4. https://thepossiblecanine.com/vitamin-e-for-your-dog
  5. https://wagwalking.com/wellness/vitamin-e-for-dogs#:~:text=According%20to%20the%C2%A0Association%20of%20American%20Feed%20Control%20Officials%2C%20adult%20dogs%20should%20be%20consuming%20no%20less%20than%2050%20IU%20of%20vitamin%20E%20(33.5%20mg%20d%2Dalpha%2Dtocopherol%20or%2045%20mg%20of%20dl%2Dalpha%2Dtocopherol)%20daily

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