How much do you know about your dog’s individual nutritional requirements? The following article discusses the essential amino acid taurine, which your dog may desperately need.
If you feed your dog a boutique dog food brand, you might assume they’re getting a full spectrum of nutrients. However, there’s one nutrient that they could be lacking – taurine.
Taurine isn’t a required nutrient in commercial dog foods, since most dogs synthesize taurine in their own bodies from nutrients that are required to be present in dog food. Unfortunately, not every dog is capable of producing taurine in their own bodies. Due to a genetic defect, the following dog breeds may be unable to synthesize taurine:
- American cocker spaniel
- Golden retriever
- Labrador retriever
- English setter
- Saint Bernard
Taurine is an essential amino acid – it’s a protein building block that supports the healthy development and function of the muscles, heart, brain, and eyes. Without sufficient taurine, dogs are susceptible to serious illnesses, including dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
If you have one of the above breeds, you may want to talk to your vet about adding taurine to your dog’s diet. Because taurine deficiency isn’t in itself symptomatic, you won’t see the effects of a long-term lack of taurine until the dog develops DCM. The common symptoms of DCM include:
- Weight gain
- Heavy drooling
- Excessive panting
If your dog is showing any of the above symptoms, you must consult your veterinarian immediately, as these may be signs of numerous serious medical conditions. If your vet determines that the root of the problem is taurine deficiency, they may recommend taurine supplementation. Zignature dog food taurine content will likely satisfy your dog’s need for the essential amino acid, but do not change your dog’s diet without consulting your vet first.