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Ingredient Spotlight: Lutein

Dogs use their keen sense of smell to help navigate the world. But they also rely on their eyesight. Unfortunately, like us, dogs are susceptible to several eye health problems.

Keeping your dog's eyes as healthy as possible is the best way to ward off some, though not all, canine eye disease. One way to do this is to feed your pup a diet high in antioxidants, which may prevent or delay the onset of some diseases.

A lutein supplement for dogs is one of the most powerful eye health-specific antioxidants you can give your furry BFF.


 Lutein for Dogs

Lutein carries quite a punch when it comes to the eye health of your dog.

First, it's a carotenoid, a type of vitamin that's integral to dog eye health. (Other carotenoids are beta-carotene and Vitamin A.)

In dogs, you'll find lutein in the lens and the retina. Its main purpose is to absorb the blue light that enters the eye. Too much unabsorbed blue light can lead to light-associated damage of the lens and retina.

Lutein is also an antioxidant, which means it can help prevent or slow the cellular damage caused by free radicals. (Free radicals are naturally occurring but harmful substances found in the body.)

Dog-safe foods high in lutein include broccoli, carrots, eggs, and pumpkin.

Or, make things simple and give your pup a lutein supplement for dogs to help prevent eye disease. It may also lower the risk of your aging dog developing cataracts.


Here are some of the eye health problems lutein for dogs can help with: 

Refractive Errors
Refractive errors are a family of vision problems that make it hard for your dog to see clearly. You'll know some of them by their more familiar names.
For instance, nearsightedness and farsightedness are two of the most well-known refractive errors.
Dogs can suffer from these conditions at any age, but older dogs are prone to myopia (nearsightedness).
In a 2016 study, several dogs received a daily antioxidant supplement that included 20 milligrams of lutein. (The supplement also had zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, astaxanthin, vitamin C, and Vitamin E.) When compared with the control group, dogs that received the supplement showed "significantly less decline in refractive error."
Researchers concluded that: "Antioxidant supplementation... may be beneficial and effective in the long-term preservation and improvement of various functions of the canine eye."


Cataracts are another common eye health problem for dogs. Dogs can get cataracts at any age and they get progressively worse if left untreated.
No research has yet been done on the benefits of lutein for dogs in terms of cataract growth and treatment. But human studies have revealed that people with cataracts have low levels of lutein. And, one study found that eating higher amounts of lutein lowers the risk of developing cataracts that need surgery.


Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in humans, this canine eye disease is hereditary. It mostly affects specific breeds of dogs including miniature and toy Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, and Labrador Retrievers.
We couldn't find any studies related to lutein for dogs and degenerative eye disease. But a 2004 study of Rhesus monkeys found that supplementing their diet with lutein and zeaxanthin (a nearly identical carotenoid) increased their levels of macular pigment, which can protect against age-related macular degeneration.


Veterinary Formula Clinical Care & Lutein

At Veterinary Formula Clinical Care, we recognize the benefits of lutein for dogs and eye health. It's why we include it in our once-a-day Eye Health & Tear Stain supplement, along with other eye-related nutrients like bilberry and calendula powder.

We also put lutein in our Senior Support supplement to help prevent cataracts and maintain the overall eye health of aging dogs.