Have you been considering giving Coenzyme Q10 for dogs?
CoQ10 is an enzyme found throughout cells in the body.
The Q refers to quinone found on the molecule, and the 10 refers to the number of subunits on its tail.
Coenzyme Q10 is known under several names including ubiquinone, ubidecarenone and coenzyme Q. It is often abbreviated as CoQ, CoQ10, or Q10.
This enzyme is produced naturally by your dog, however, some foods which have high concentrations include oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) organ meats and whole grains.
How does Coenzyme Q10 work for dogs?
CoQ10 helps to control the flow of oxygen within cells.
It also acts as an anti-oxidant by reducing damage to cells caused by free radicals (molecules which have been changed by oxidation and cause damage to cells).
Q10 is a fundamental link in the chain of processes involved in the production of energy in the body and is found primarily in tiny organelles (mitochondria) within cells that generate the body’s energy.
This means that those organs with the highest energy requirements, for example the liver, heart and kidneys, have the highest amounts of CoQ10.
CoQ10 deficiency in dogs
There are two major factors that can lead to a deficiency of CoQ10.
These are reduced biosynthesis of the enzyme, or, increased utilisation by the body. Biosynthesis is the major source of CoQ10 and several conditions, including some which are genetically carried, can cause CoQ10 deficiency.
Some chronic disease conditions (e.g. cancer or heart disease) are also thought to reduce biosynthesis and increase the demand for CoQ10 in the body, although there are no definite data to support these claims.
The body can become deficient of this enzyme due to aging or a lack of essential vitamins required during biosynthesis.
Coenzyme Q10 for dogs through supplements
Because of its anti-oxidant properties, it is thought that CoQ10 can be used where oxidizing molecules are causing cell damage.
This type of cell damage can lead to the formation of cancer cells and chronic inflammatory changes.
Benefits of CoQ10 for dogs
CoQ10’s most frequent use as an ingredient in supplements for dogs is for congestive heart failure, however, ongoing research suggests it may also be useful for other types of heart problems (e.g. cardiomyopathy) and for a wide variety of related illnesses (e.g. high blood pressure).
Preliminary research has shown reduced levels of CoQ10 in the hearts of pets with heart disease.
It has been suggested that the effects of CoQ10 alone on cardiovascular disease are probably only mild to moderate, but there may be a positive (synergistic) interaction between CoQ10 and other cardiac medications.
CoQ10 may also help periodontal, or gum disease.
The enzyme reduces the size and improves the health of the periodontal pockets. It does this by decreasing inflammation, redness, bleeding and pain.
Because most pets with heart disease also have periodontal disease, supplementing with CoQ10 might offer an extra benefit in pets with heart disease.
CoQ10 may help prevent heart damage caused by certain types of cancer chemotherapy, such as adriamycin.
Because the anti-oxidant activity of CoQ10 might interfere with the action of other chemotherapy drugs, check with your veterinarian before using CoQ10 if your dog has cancer that requires chemotherapy.
CoQ10 may also boost the effectiveness of other anti-oxidants, such as vitamin C, and help with elevated blood pressure, immune problems, diabetes, and reduced physical performance.
CoQ10 supplementation for dogs has also been recommended on various web-sites for treatment or prevention of age-related cognitive dysfunction, reduced immune system functionality and kidney disease.
Dosage of CoQ10
The typical dosage for dogs is 30 mg every 24 to 48 hours, although this might be adjusted according to the size of the dog and individual needs.
For example, if your veterinarian feels that increasing the dosage is necessary for larger dogs, the dosage might be increased to 80 mg every 24 to 48 hours for a 100 lb dog.
any holistic veterinarians recommend using 1 mg/lb of body weight daily, which makes it an expensive supplement for larger dogs.
Toxicity and side effects of CoQ10
In humans, toxicity is not usually observed, even with high doses of CoQ10.
A daily dosage of up to 3,600 mg is tolerated by both healthy and unhealthy humans .
Adverse side-effects, largely gastrointestinal, have been reported with very high intakes. The observed safe level (OSL) is 1,200 mg/day .
Science on CoQ10
Studies with humans
Many of the recommended uses in humans are controversial, with mixed and generally low-quality, clinical trial evidence for most applications.
Studies with dogs
There is relatively little robust scientific research on the use of CoQ10 in pets.
One study failed to find evidence of decreased CoQ10 levels in dogs with congestive heart failure, but reported that although dramatic effects on blood dynamics were not observed, CoQ10 supplementation reduced the increase in organ size associated with chronic heart failure .
Another report stated that there appear to be no clinical trials for any specific indication of purported benefits of CoQ10 and “the recommendations for this supplement are again based entirely on theory, anecdote, and pre-clinical research or clinical research conducted in humans”.
Although there is some robust, positive evidence for the efficacy of CoQ10 in humans for some of its purported benefits, such evidence does not appear to exist for dogs.
- Hyson, H.C. et al., (2010). Safety and tolerability of high-dosage coenzyme Q10 in Huntington’s disease and healthy subjects. Mov Disord., 25(12): 1924-1928. doi: 10.1002/mds.22408.
- Hathcock, J.N. and Shao, A., (2006). Risk assessment for coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone). Regul. Toxicol. Pharmacol., 45(3): 282-288. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2006.05.006.
- Harker-Murray, A.K. et al., (2000). The role of coenzyme Q10 in the pathophysiology and therapy of experimental congestive heart failure in the dog. J. Card. Fail., 6(3): 233-242