February is the month of love- or hearts! All pet owners have an abundance of love for their furry friends- that’s a given- but most pet owners don’t know the importance of including hearts into their pet’s diet. Freeze-dried heart treats can be a source of vital nutrients that your pet needs to stay happy and healthy. One of the main nutrients found in freeze-dried hearts that benefit your pet’s overall health is Taurine. Read on for more information!
What is Taurine?
Taurine is an amino acid (aka the building blocks of protein and therefore our muscles) that helps some of the most crucial bodily systems function properly. Amino acids are important for humans, but they’re also important for dogs! Taurine specifically facilitates heart functioning, brain functioning, eye health, immune functioning, and other systems. The heart muscles contain an especially high concentration of Taurine – so it’s pretty important for living a long and healthy life!
Where is Taurine Found?
Taurine can either be made in the body or gained from outside sources, such as food. Other sulfuric amino acids in the body can work together to create Taurine, but for some dogs the body does not make an adequate amount. In these cases, Taurine can be supplemented through your pet’s diet.
Taurine is found in meat-based proteins, specifically meats that are fresh and of high quality. Think about things you would be willing to eat yourself! Organs such as the heart are particularly high in Taurine and are often fan-favorites amongst pets. You could serve your pet raw meat, but if that doesn’t suit you, you can give your little friend freeze-dried or dry-roasted meats. Taurine levels in meat will reduce if too much heat is added to the meat, so a raw, freeze-dried, dry-roasted, or air-dried option is best.
So.. What Can Happen Without Taurine?
An unfortunate consequence of your pet’s diet not having enough Taurine can be Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in some cases, which is essentially when the heart becomes enlarged and cannot pump blood effectively. It’s a pretty serious condition that can cost a lot in vet bills and be emotionally taxing for owners. Taurine deficiency can be genetic for some pets, and dog breeds like American Cocker Spaniels, English Setters, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands, and Saint Bernards have shown a predisposition to developing the condition. These breeds may need a diet that contains extra Taurine to avoid developing a deficiency.
Some of the symptoms you may see in a dog with Taurine deficiency include: panting without exercise, weakness, pain while urinating, blood in urine, pain in abdomen, collapse or fainting, and blindness. These symptoms could be present for a variety of reasons, but it is always best to check with your veterinarian. Always remember to bring your pet to a trusted veterinarian any time they start to experience unusual symptoms or abrupt changes in behavior.
Is Freeze-dried Best?
Freeze-dried snacks are rich in vitamins and other nutrients that support healthy functioning. The freeze-drying process locks in vital nutrients without adding heat to cook the raw meat, thus savoring the valuable components that would otherwise be lost. Freeze-drying is a minimal process that preserves the taste of meat ingredients without losing nutritional value. As mentioned earlier, any form of preservation that involves a minimal process and minimal heat is typically best for preserving the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are essential for maintaining your pet’s health, including air-drying, dry-roasting, and serving raw.
Something to note is the subtle increase of Taurine levels in meats after they are dried. This is because Taurine is water-soluble, meaning the process of drying out the meat (and removing water) may emphasize Taurine levels. For example, this is why dried chicken heart contains more Taurine than raw, non-dried chicken heart. See the lab results below from Momentum Carnivore Nutrition below:
Where Can I Find Great Freeze-Dried Hearts?
A fantastic option for supplementing Taurine in your pet’s diet is Momentum Carnivore Nutrition’s freeze-dried hearts! are going to be your pet’s new favorite bite-sized snack. Our treats are packed with flavor and nutrients that were preserved from the high-quality meats during the freeze-drying process. Our Turkey, Chicken, and Beef Hearts are free from unnatural fillers, artificial flavors, or excess calories, so you can feel good about treating your furry friend!
Info gathered from: