What does taurine do for dogs? Simple and Effective Tips

Why kibble just doesn’t cut it.

In order to explain why kibble just isn’t up to snuff, we have to travel back in time, to a decade where denim, big hair and pastels reigned supreme. Hello, 80’s. During this time, a troublesome trend came about that worried a lot of pet parents. Dilated Cardiomyopathy was becoming prevalent in cats. Cats, being true carnivores, really need taurine (which again, is found in meat proteins). Because of the trend, AAFCO, the Association of American Feed Control Officials, decided to make this a requirement in all cat foods, almost eradicating Acquired Cardiomyopathy in cats (wow!). For dogs, it was presumed that they could develop taurine in their bodies with the help of other sulfuric amino acids. (Some dogs can.) Fast forward to today and AAFCO still doesn’t require taurine in dog foods because sulphur-containing amino acids (cysteine and methionine, big words, even bigger job) are included in kibble formulas.

So besides those amino acids, what is included in kibble? The Pet Food industry pivoted from high-grain diets to grain-free in recent years. This doesn’t mean that most kibbles are now high in meat content but rather, other fillers have taken grains place. Starches such as potatoes, peas, and tapioca are now commonplace in pet food ingredients. While it’s certainly not bad to give your pets plants and grains, it’s important to understand that these food groups have minimum amounts of taurine. Research out of UC-Davis found that dogs with DCM had grain-free diets and that those dogs’ taurine levels were low.

The main takeaway is that taurine comes from a diet rich in high-quality meats and organs. Proteins come from plants and meat but plant-based proteins alone just don’t have the amount of taurine needed for your pet. Most kibble relies heavily on plant-based proteins which means it’s not a good source of taurine by itself.

Taurine Deficiency and Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Dogs

Taurine deficiency is one cause of a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), where the heart muscle thins and the chambers become enlarged. This is true for cats, and may now also be true for dogs.

Recently, studies have found a connection between DCM and these breeds of dogs:

While research is ongoing, there are theories that the onset of DCM is related to the diet, specifically, grain-free diets. However, the question remains whether the DCM occurs due to an overall lack of taurine in the dog food or other dietary factors that cause problems with taurine digestion, absorption, metabolism, and/or excretion.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

There are no known drug interactions with taurine; however, vitamins, herbal therapies, and supplements have the potential to interact with each other, as well as with prescription and over the counter medications.

It is important to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including all vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking.

How Taurine Can Help Prevent Heart Disease In You and Your Dog

Its no secret that pets are a part of our family. And as a dog mom or a dad, youd do anything to keep your furry one safe, happy, and healthy. If your most recent research on the latest and greatest developments in dog and cat health has introduced you to vitamins and supplements like taurine, you may wonder what all of the buzz about. Does your furball need taurine in his diet? And what is taurine exactly? Can pets have too much? And what are the best sources?

We checked with veterinarians to get a better understanding about taurine for dogs and whether its a must-have in their supplement routine. Read on to find out more about this amino acid and whether or not its right for your pet.