What is taurine?
Taurine is an amino acid that is important for the proper function of your dog's overall health.
Due to differences in size, breed, age, and other factors, dogs synthesize taurine at different rates. Many dog foods include supplemental taurine as a precaution against taurine deficiency.
What is an amino acid?
Amino acids are the basic building blocks of protein. There are 22 amino acids that are needed for proper functioning of the dog's body. In dogs, 12 of these amino acids are “nonessential,” meaning your dog's body can make them on their own. The other 10 amino acids are “essential,” meaning they must be supplied by diet. Taurine is considered a "nonessential" amino acid for dogs since they can synthesize it within their own body.
What is the importance of taurine for dogs?
Taurine most prominently benefits the proper function and health of your dog's heart, the brain and eyes.
Is taurine good or bad for dogs?
Taurine is good for dogs in the proper, balanced amount. There is no clinical need to feed your dog extra taurine unless they are experiencing a health issue diagnosed by your veterinarian.
What foods are high in taurine?
Foods especially high in taurine include animal products like meat and eggs, but many foods contain amino acids that your dog's body can self-synthesize taurine from. A properly balanced kibble or homemade diet with a supplement should contain the perfect amount of taurine for your dog. Plant-based dog foods often contain an extra boost of taurine to ensure the nutritional base is well-covered.
How to feed taurine to dogs?
A high-quality dog food should be formulated to meet the essential nutritional needs of your dog, including the proper balance of taurine. This means you do not need to feed extra taurine to your dog unless your veterinarian recommends it due to a health issue.
If you're purchasing kibble for your dog, it's important to look for an AAFCO statement on the packaging that indicates the food meets all complete and balanced standards for adult dog nutrition. If you're cooking at home for your dog, it's important to choose recipes formulated by experts or board certified veterinary nutritionists.
What dogs need taurine the most?
Due to differences in size, breed, age, and other factors, dogs synthesize taurine at different rates. Many dog foods include supplemental taurine as a precaution against taurine deficiency. The nutritional needs of your dog may vary depending on age, size and activity level. As your dog gets older, make sure to take them in for a senior checkup so your vet can ensure their heart is the best health. Your vet may recommend a taurine supplement for certain health issues.
Does my dog need meat in order to get taurine?
Taurine is naturally-occurring in meat, but since kibble is extruded and cooked at high temperatures, the taurine is denatured during the cooking process. As a result of the lack of taurine in kibble, manufacturers often add a taurine supplement. The taurine that is most commonly used in kibble (including meat-based kibble) is a vegan taurine supplement, which means that dogs do not need to consume meat in order to obtain taurine.
If you're feeding a homemade diet, make sure you properly supplement your dog's meals to ensure they are getting the perfect array of nutrients, including taurine, in each meal.