Taurine is getting a lot of attention these days when it comes to our pets' diets. Where exactly does this nutrient come from, and why is it important? Let's take a look at some of the top questions about taurine.
What is taurine?
Taurine is an amino acid, or a building block of protein. Some animals synthesize taurine from the animo acids methionine and cysteine, and some require a dietary source.
Where does taurine come from?
Taurine is found in most mammalian tissues. Taurine can also be synthesized and added to the diet in supplemental form. The synthesized version of taurine is vegan and is the most common form used in the pet food industry, even in meat-based pet foods.
Do dogs need taurine?
Generally, dogs are able to synthesize taurine from methionine and cysteine. However, it is believed that certain breeds and individuals may require a dietary source of taurine, including those that are predisposed to heart conditions like dilated cardiomyopathy. Taurine is generally not recognized as an essential amino acid for dogs.
Can dogs get taurine on a vegan diet?
Dogs can absolutely obtain taurine from a vegan diet, both in its whole form and via methionine and cysteine. In the pet food world, supplemental (vegan) taurine is the industry standard, and is used even in meat-based dog food formulas. Naturally-occurring taurine found in animal-based ingredients typically becomes denatured during processing and must be supplemented to ensure that it is present in the finished product.
A new study found that dogs who switched from a meat-based food to v-dog consistently saw their taurine levels increase. Learn more: New Study Assesses Amino Acid Levels in Vegan Dogs
Should I be supplementing my dog's diet with taurine?
Many pet food companies already supplement their diets with taurine, although it is not required per AAFCO standards. V-dog kibble has been supplemented with taurine since the company's inception in 2005. If you're using a formula that is not supplemented with taurine, it's a good idea to consult with your veterinarian.
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