Taurine is an essential amino acid for cats, but not for dogs or humans. This essential amino acid plays an important role in the overall health of both cats and dogs, including in the heart, brain, gallbladder, eyes, and blood vessels. It is found in high concentrations in meat and fish proteins.
Taurine functions to help stabilize cell membranes and aids in the movement of potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium in and out of cells. It also has antioxidant and detoxifying properties. In cats, taurine is not able to be synthesized within the body, therefore, adequate amounts must be provided in their diet to prevent deficiencies which can lead to serious health issues such as blindness, heart troubles, and other maladies.
In dogs, taurine is not considered an essential nutrient as it can be synthesized within the body using the sulfur amino acids cysteine and methionine. However, several years ago, taurine deficiency was noted in some dogs that had Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), which is a type of heart disease. Large and giant breed dogs such as Newfoundlands, and American Cocker Spaniels appear to be particularly susceptible. While the cause of taurine deficiency in these dogs is not known, there may be a genetic or metabolic link.
In conclusion, it is important to note that while taurine is not considered essential for dogs, a balanced diet should provide enough of this amino acid, as well as all other necessary nutrients to support your pet's overall health. It is always important to discuss your pet's dietary needs with a veterinarian or a pet nutrition expert, especially if you notice any signs of deficiency in your pet.