Food Sources of Taurine for Dogs and Its Benefits

food rich in taurine for dogs - sitting up photo

Wondering which food sources of taurine are the best for dogs and even cats? Then make sure you read our guide and tips below.

So, How To Solve Taurine Deficiency In Your Dog?

If you have a dog with heart problems and look for specific foods rich in taurine for dogs in order to solve this problem, you will see that taurine is a very beneficial supplement amino acid for your beloved pet friend.

In addition to food, you will also need to pay attention to obesity, specific diagnosis, treatment and moderate exercise.

Caring for a dog with heart problems is not easy because you have to devote energy to it. And also, give it a lot of love by examining all the points and guidelines established by the expert.

In this article, we will review the taurine – rich foods for dogs, but remember that before offering anything to your pet, you must ask your veterinarian.

Taurine Health Benefits For Dogs

Providing adequate food to a dog with heart problems greatly reduces discomfort and for this, low salt foods, protein intake (provided the liver or kidneys are not damaged) and taurine intake are widely known.

Usually, taurine is already present in high quality pet foods found in the trade, but you can look for rich foods of this supplement to strengthen your best friend’s heart.

After conducting studies on the effect of taurine in dogs, technicians from the veterinary cardiology department at the University of Sacramento came to the conclusion that ” taurine deficiency can cause heart disease “. They affirm that “a taurine supplement will have beneficial effects on dogs suffering from heart problems”.

Some Advantages Of Taurine for Dogs:

  • Prevents muscle degeneration
  • Strengthens the heart muscle
  • Prevents arrhythmias
  • Improves vision
  • Eliminates harmful substances

Food Sources Of Taurine For Dogs And Health Benefits

Natural sources of taurine for dogs

Foods of animal origin

As we mentioned in our article on the types of dog food, the dog is an animal that eats mainly meat and vegetables to a lesser extent. Which is a positive point since taurine is found in foods of animal origin :

Chicken muscle provides a significant amount of natural taurine, especially in the legs or liver, where it is more widely found. Other taurine-rich meats are pork and beef, you can use the heart to prepare homemade food for your dog. Other products such as eggs (hard) or dairy products (cheese), always in small doses, also offer taurine and can be a great help to your pet.

Finally, and to put an end to foods of natural origin, the octopus (boiled for example) should be mentioned as a source of taurine.

Foods of plant origin

Taurine is also found in foods of plant origin although not all are suitable for dogs. You can give your pet recipes that contain Brewer’s yeast, green beans or beans.

Remember that it is recommended that 15% of their diet should consist of fruits and vegetables.

Artificial products containing taurine

In addition to natural products, you will find taurine preparations in the form of capsules or powder. If you have chosen this method, you should first consult the veterinarian to know how much to give to your pet.


Taurine In Pet Food Misconceptions

If you’ve been anywhere on a pet forum on social media recently, you’ve read or heard from someone about the lack of taurine in pet cereal-free foods causing deficiencies in dogs. I would like to take this opportunity to shed some light and dispel this misconception and its influence on our pets. All the things mentioned in this blog post are not based on opinion, they are based on science and we have done our research and reference Articles when appropriate. I will also add links to articles at the end of the blog for you to read. (Just a caveat, it’s a bit of a long read, but it’s necessary to get the point across).

First of all, we will discuss what taurine is and what a taurine deficiency looks like in pets. Taurine is an amino acid that, in most mammals, is synthesized from a different amino acid called cysteine and is therefore not necessary. However, cats, and it has now been shown some breeds of dogs, can not synthesize this way at all or not as effectively. It is a nutrient required in cat food for this reason, but not in dog food as they are supposed to be able to make their own. We believe that any nutrient like this that is on the barrier whether it is required or not should be included in a food anyway. Symptoms of taurine deficiency include blindness caused by retinal degradation, cardiomyopathy often characterized by an enlarged heart, progressing to lethargy, digestive disorder, permanent blindness and even death (1). Taurine deficiency does not arise right away and can take from several months to several years.

There have been quite a few articles recently claiming that cereal-free foods cause taurine deficiency in dogs. Taurine deficiency can be a major problem and it is a concern, we do not deny it. However, these articles predict that the only foods that have enough taurine in them are those with grains that add a synthetic or concentrated form. However, taurine is not present in grains. By not being present, I do not mean that it is there in very small quantities, I mean the grains do not contain taurine. In fact, fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains do not contain taurine. On the other hand, taurine is available from various other food sources, including meat, dairy products, eggs, foam, and yeast.

This information provides a study by the Department of Molecular biosciences of the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine. Therefore, if you are looking for a food rich in taurine then you must be looking for a food rich in meat content. It is true that high temperatures can denaturate taurine and make it unusable, however good, high quality brands such as Valens and Orijen cook foods at lower temperatures so most of the taurine will remain intact and accessible.

With all this knowledge, below I have listed some ingredient lists of animal prescription veterinary foods recommended in these articles. An article states that you must ” stop reading the list of ingredients ” in order to help you choose a better pet food, but if you read their ingredients, you can see why they recommend this.

Store bought foods rich in taurine for dogs (brands)

Purina prescription HA vegetable:

Ingredients: corn starch, hydrolyzed soybean protection isolate, coconut oil, partially hydrogenated canola oil preserved with TBHQ, cellulose powder, tricalcium phosphate, Dicalcium phosphate, corn oil, potassium chloride, guar gum, salt, choline chloride, magnesium oxide, DL-methionine, taurine, zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, sodium sulfate, sodium sulfate, sodium sulfate, sodium sulfate, sodium sulfate, sodium sulfate, sodium manganese, niacin (vitamin B-3), copper sulfate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate (vitamin B-5), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B-1), riboflavin supplement (vitamin B-2), vitamin B-12 supplement, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B-6), folic acid (vitamin B-9), vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin (vitamin B-7), menadione sodium bisulfite complex (vitamin K),

Hills prescription W / D diet:

Ingredients: whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, powdered cellulose, chicken flour, corn gluten flour, whole grain sorghum, soybean mill race, chicken liver flavor, pork fat, soybean oil, pork liver flavor, lactic acid, caramel color, potassium chloride, choline Chloride, L-lysine, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (vitamin C source), vitamin C supplement, vitamin C supplement, vitamin C supplement, vitamin C supplement,, Niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, Riboflavin supplement, biotin, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), iodized salt, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganese oxide, calcium iodate, Sodium selenite), taurine, L-carnitine, calcium sulfate, DL-methionine, L-threonine, L-tryptophan, mixed tocopherols for freshness, natural flavors, beta-carotene

Royal Canin vegetarian prescription

Ingredients: oatmeal, Brewers rice, potato protein, coconut oil, natural flavors, dried beet pulp, tomato nibs, flaxseed, calcium carbonate, Monocalcium phosphate phosphate, carrot nibs, potassium chloride, calcium sulfate, salt, fructooligosaccharides, choline Chloride, taurine, vitamins [dl-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), L-Ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), biotin, D-Calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, niacin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement], trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganese oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, Sodium selenite, copper proteinate], L-carnitine, carotene, rosemary extract, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid.

Notice that in each of three of them there are only 1-3 ingredients that contain taurine, including a supplement of taurine. Yes, this taurine supplement would boost taurine levels. However, you have to wonder, as concerned pet owners, where this taurine comes from as well because synthetic taurine has less nutritional value than natural taurine and fully derived natural taurine supplements. In contrast, the foods below are two foods that would naturally have high levels of taurine.

Valens pastures:

Ingredients: fresh boneless lamb, fresh boneless beef, fresh boneless boar, fresh boneless bison, lamb flour, pork flour, lamb liver, beef liver, wild boar liver, peas, sweet potatoes, pea protein, Vita lamb liver cube, flax seed, pork fat (preserved with citric acid mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, Dicalcium phosphate, tomato pomace, cod liver, pork fat (preserved with citric acid mixed tocopherols), calcium carbonate, salt, yeast culture, potassium chloride, dried Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation extract, Choline Chloride, chicory root extract, kelp flour, L-carnitine, blueberries, carob, Cranberries, ginger root, apples, dried Lactobacillus fermentation extract, yeast extract, elderberry extract, rosemary extract, thyme extract, Yucca schidigera extract, carrots, spinach, pumpkins, dehydrated Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dehydrated Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, fermentation product Bifidobacterium bifidum thermophilic dehydrated, fermentation product Streptococcus faecium dehydrated, glucosamine, chondroitin, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, niacinamide, calcium pantothenate, copper sulfate, manganese oxide, vitamin A, copper proteinate, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, pyridoxines hydrochloride, vitamin D3, calcium iodate, folic acid, Sodium selenite, vitamin B12, green tea extract, turmeric root, fennel, paprika, Cayenne

Original Orijen:

Ingredients: fresh chicken meat (13%), fresh turkey meat (7%), fresh whole eggs (7%), fresh chicken liver (6%), fresh whole Herring (6%), fresh whole flounder (5%), fresh turkey liver (5%), fresh chicken necks (4%), fresh chicken heart (4%), fresh turkey (4%), chicken (dehydrated, 4%), Turkey (dehydrated, 4%), whole mackerel (dehydrated, 4%), whole sardine (dehydrated, 4%), whole herring (dehydrated, 4%), whole red lentils, whole green lentils, whole green peas, lentil fibre, whole chickpeas, whole yellow peas, whole pinto beans, whole navy beans, Herring oil (1%), chicken fat (1%), chicken cartilage (1%), chicken liver (freeze-dried), turkey liver (freeze-dried), fresh whole pumpkin, fresh whole peanut squash, fresh whole zucchini, fresh whole parsnips, fresh carrots, fresh delicious whole red apples, fresh whole Bartlett pears, fresh kale, fresh spinach, fresh beet greens, fresh turnip greens, brown kelp, whole cranberries, whole blueberries, whole saskatoon berries, chicory root, turmeric root, milk thistle, burdock root, lavender, marshmallow root, dogrose, Enterococcus faecium

Valens contains 11 ingredients with natural taurine, and Orijen contains 16! It should be noted that almost no dog food lists taurine levels on their bags (even prescription diets that add it), as it is not a required nutrient in dogs. Cat food makes the taurine list however. For this reason, some studies we mention about taurine and referenced foods are cat food, because there is very little research on dogs and taurine, but a lot about cats. With this in mind, when comparing the levels of taurine listed in Orijen Cat and kitten food with the Purina prescription DH Cat Food, the Orijen food (which does not contain added taurine, just naturally occurring, and is a cereal-free food) contains 0.2% taurine, while the Purina prescription Diet contains only 0.13% taurine. This is a fairly definitive way of saying the amount of meat matter, not the presence or absence of grains.

To prove the point, below is a comparison to a hypothetical balanced dog food without cereals that we put together. It contains all the nutrients required by AAFCO for dogs.

Theoretical dog food without grain high in taurine China manufacturer:

Ingredients: Turkey Neck, Turkey, Trout, Turkey back, egg, turkey liver , pumpkin, squash, chickpeas, lentils, tomato, apple, Dicalcium phosphate, cod liver, Pillionite clay, algal oil, burdock root, thyme, Himalayan pink salt, blueberry, cranberry, kelp, Rosemary, egg shell, zinc proteinate, vitamin E, Copper Proteinate

It contains only six taurine-containing ingredients and is grain-free, but has 0.35% taurine. This is more than 2.5 times higher than the level of prescription cat food taurine. This is because there is a large amount of meat, not grains.

There is certainly an area of concern when it comes to taurine levels, but the issue is with low-meat foods that do not add taurine, regardless of whether they are grain-free or not. If you go to the grocery store or department store of cans and take a food that is more than 90% of corn and wheat and less than 1% of meat by-products, and does not add taurine as a supplement, then these are the foods that you should be concerned about the cause of the deficiencies (… and not only with taurine…). Our concern with the articles  coming out about dogs and taurine deficiency is the fact that they don’t just say that taurine deficiency is a problem and you need to make sure that the pet food you feed contains it. They generalize rather by saying that grain-free foods and shop foods are the cause, avoiding naming specific brands.

However, they only name their own brands (Purina, Hills, Royal Canin). These articles therefore feel like a direct attack on stores like ours, which provide good quality, high-content meat in pet food. This is especially true since Good Food is associated with the term “without cereals”. For example, the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center has written an article stating in their title that “shop or cereal-free diets” cause a risk of heart disease (4).

It is right to raise awareness of this issue, which I agree with, we do not say taurine deficiency in dogs does not occur. However, it is not fair for them to misinform the public and generalize all cereal-free diets as they are all made equal. I’ve heard a lot of people scared because their vet made them feel like their dog was going to die unless they bought veterinary food because of this issue.

In Conclusion

If you are someone who is very concerned about issues related to taurine in dogs food, you can try to contact AAFCO( Association of American Food Control officials), who are responsible for establishing guidelines for nutrients in pet food. Trying to convince them to make taurine an essential nutrient in dog food is the only way to solve the problem of taurine deficiency in dogs due to poor food sources.

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