Taurine toppers for cats and dogs

An important amino acid, taurine is vital to your cat or dog’s health. This article explains why, and offers recipes for tasty taurine toppers to add to your best friend’s meals.  

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Our dogs and cats need them for vision, digestion, heart health, and immune health. There are 22 amino acids — one of which is taurine. While taurine itself is not used for protein synthesis, it’s found in many of the body’s tissues — the nervous system, retinas, muscles, heart, and even the blood platelets — and is crucial to many metabolic processes. This means dogs and cats need sufficient taurine in their diets – cats especially must have it supplied in their food because their bodies can’t synthesize it on their own. While high quality pet foods usually contain adequate taurine, lower-end products may not. The healthy taurine toppers presented in this article will help ensure your cat or dog is getting enough of this important amino acid.

How taurine needs differ in dogs and cats

Cats: As mentioned above, a cat’s diet must be supplemented with taurine because their bodies have a limited ability to convert methionine and cysteine to taurine. They also lose taurine through the secretion of bile acids. Cats require daily dietary taurine to stay healthy, so it is essential that this amino acid is included in their diet. Research has found that if a cat does not get taurine for six weeks, he may develop an enlarged heart; after a long-term deficiency, retinal degeneration can occur and may even lead to permanent blindness.

Dogs: Unlike cats, dogs have the ability to synthesize taurine from methionine and cysteine.  However, as we have learned over time, especially with all the news about dilated cardiomyopathy in some breeds, even though they have the ability to synthesize taurine, some dogs need more taurine in their diets, either through a supplement or through the addition of certain whole foods, including organ meats like heart and liver, muscle meat like turkey (dark meat), beef, lamb, and seafood (e.g. krill, sardines, salmon, whitefish). For something really simple, add canned sardines (packed in spring water) to your dog or cat’s diet. Goat’s milk provides a little boost of taurine as well.

Have fun with the taurine topper recipes that follow. They are simple to prepare and will add an extra blast of flavor, as well as taurine, to your dog or cat’s diet!


Choose organic ingredients whenever possible.

Fish Cakes


1 lb ground whitefish (e.g. pollock, cod or salmon)

2 eggs*

1 carrot

1 teaspoon sea kelp

4 tablespoons oatmeal

1/4 cup first pressed olive oil

3/4 cup filtered water


Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients, except the fish, in a food processor or blender. Turn out into a large mixing bowl, add fish, and combine thoroughly.

Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper. You can make large cakes for your dog by using an ice cream scoop; if you want smaller cakes for a cat or small dog, try using a fruit scoop, like those used for making melon balls. Place the cakes on the cookie sheet and flatten them with a fork.

Bake for approximately one hour. Remove fish cakes from the oven and cool completely before serving. These should be tored in the refrigerator or freezer.

*Eggs are another great way to add taurine to your animal’s diet.

Purrfect Poached Fish


1/4 lb fish (e.g. Ling cod, pollock, salmon

1/2 cup filtered water

2 teaspoons fresh parsley, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For cats, add 1 teaspoon fresh catnip or 1/2 teaspoon dried catnip


Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, except the fish. Bring to a boil. As soon as bubbles appear on the surface, turn down to a low simmer. Add the fish to the broth and cook for 15 minutes. Cool before serving.

You’ve Gotta Have Heart


1 cup chopped raw heart (liver can also be used; e.g. use ½ cup heart and ½ cup liver.)

2 tablespoons filtered water or broth

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder


Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Gently sauté on medium heat. When all the “pink” is gone, the dish is done. Cool to room temperature before serving. This recipe takes less than five minutes to prepare. It can also be whirled in a food processor or blender and served as a sauce, or even served as a raw topper. 

Cat Call Sauce       


1 lb ground turkey

1 lb beef heart, sliced in small pieces

1/4 oz beef liver, sliced in small pieces

2 cups oatmeal

1/4 cup zucchini, chopped

6 cups filtered water


Combine all ingredients in a Crock-Pot or other slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for six to eight hours or on high for three to four hours.  If you don’t have a slow cooker, simply combine all the ingredients in a big pot, bring to a gentle boil, then turn down to simmer for two to three hours, stirring from time to time so the ingredients don’t stick to the bottom.

Note: This recipe provides a week’s worth of food for a 9 lb cat. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, or other oil of your choice, on your cat’s food just before serving.

Barking Fresh Stew


1 lb ground turkey

1/4 oz beef liver

2/3 cup whole brown rice, whole barley flakes, oatmeal, quinoa, or teff

1/2 cup green vegetables, chopped (e.g. broccoli, green beans, zucchini)

1 small red apple with skin, chopped with core and seeds removed; or 1/4 cup blueberries

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

4 cups filtered water


Combine all ingredients in a Crock-Pot or other slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for six to eight hours or on high for three to four hours.  If you don’t have a slow cooker, simply combine all the ingredients in a big pot, bring to a gentle boil, then turn down to simmer for two to three hours, stirring from time to time, so ingredients don’t stick to the bottom.

Note: This recipe can also be served raw. Simply leave out the grains or cook them up as a side dish or base for your raw ingredients.

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Understanding pet food labels

Ensuring that your dog or cat is eating a healthy diet involves more than just switching brands. It means being a pet food label detective, and learning how to understand ingredient lists and terminology.

If you’re like a lot of people these days, you want your dog or cat to eat a healthy diet. To succeed at choosing a safe, nutritious, quality food for your animal companion, however, you need to become adept at reading pet food labels and understanding some of the terminology manufacturers use in their ingredient lists. This article will get you on the right track.

Ingredient order and definitions – deciphering the facts

Always look at the back of a package of pet food for the full ingredient profile, listed in order of weight. Don’t rely on cursory lists of ingredients on the front, next to splashy photographs of fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables.

  1. Ideally, we want to see a specific meat, such as pork or beef, listed first. If it is, this means it has been weighed with the water still in it. This makes it heavier and brings it to the top of the list. However, the water is removed during processing, meaning there is a lower weight of actual meat-derived protein in the end product.
  2. By-products are non-rendered and include organs, fat, and entrails, but no hair, horns, teeth, or hooves. By-products can be healthy, but we don’t know the quality based on a label listing. Carnivores do need to ingest organs for good health.
  3. A meat “meal” means the tissue has been rendered. This process converts waste animal tissue (not human grade meat) into stable usable materials like yellow grease, choice white grease, bleachable fancy tallow, and a protein meal such as meat and bone meal, or pouy by-product meal. It contains no hair, hoof, hide, or extraneous materials. By definition, while up to 9% of the crude protein in the product may be pepsin indigestible, the product would be more protein-dense than its clean flesh counterpart weighed with water included.
  4. If a meat product is followed by more than one grain or starch, there may be more grain or starch than meat by weight, even though the meat is listed first. A common marketing trick is to list a grain, for example corn, broken down into corn gluten, corn starch, corn middlings, etc. This puts the corn versions below the meat source — unless you add them all together. This is called ingredient splitting.

    Corn is not a natural food for a carnivore diet. And unfortunately, American corn is contaminated with mold and aflatoxins, which are potentially carcinogenic. Most corn is GMO unless stated otherwise, which means it won’t die when fields are sprayed with glyphosate herbicide to kill the weeds. But the corn does incorporate the glyphosate into its cells. The cattle eat the corn, and the glyphosate becomes incorporated into the food web. Humans, livestock, and companion animals ingest the contaminated corn and/or the contaminated meat.

  5. After the starches on a label, a fat is listed along with how it is preserved. Avoid animal fat preserved with BHA, BHT or ethoxyquin. These artificial preservatives have been shown to be carcinogenic; in fact, ethoxyquin is banned in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Look for mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E, and/or rosemary extract as preservatives.
  6. Avoid added sugars such as corn syrup, molasses, and beet sugar. These are not useful nutrients. They entice an animal to eat the food and become addicted to it. Why? So you keep purchasing it! Just because your dog or cat likes it, does not mean it is good for him.
  7. Salt should not be too high on the list, although this is often the case with commercial canned foods. Like sugar, salt is also addictive.
  8. If vitamins and minerals are added, look for those that are chelated, which improves absorption (they’ll be listed as a chelate or proteinate). However, do be aware that this chelation is not “natural” and often occurs by combining a mineral with soy proteinate, which is most assuredly GMO. Remember that GMO seeds result in crops laden with pesticides, allowing these chemicals to be incorporated into our animals’ (and our own) gut microflora. The best pet foods contain enough whole food sources of vitamins and minerals, so synthetic versions need not be added.
  9. Avoid canned foods that contain carrageenan as a thickener. This ingredient has been found to have a link to inflammatory bowel disease.
  10. Can liners may contain BPA, a known endocrine disruptor. Looks for companies that don’t use BPA in their cans.
  11. Some grocery store foods, many treats, and dental chews still contain dye. These artificial colorings can be carcinogenic. If a food contains dye (e.g. Red Dye 40), put it back on the shelf! Better ingredients can be utilized, such as blue-green algae, which also provides great antioxidant properties.
  12. Small amounts of the best, healthiest, and most expensive ingredients are usually last on the list! These look like real foods. You may see blueberries, cranberries, broccoli, dried kelp, hemp seed, and others. Some foods, like chicory root extract, are prebiotics that promote gut flora health. Prebiotics feed probiotics, the good bacteria in the gut. You may also see prebiotics listed on the label as inulin, which can come from chicory root. Be aware that added probiotics may not be as viable as those you add to the food yourself when serving it.

Taking control of what you’re feeding your dog or cat involves knowing what’s in the food you’re buying him. Learning something about how to read and understand pet food labels is an important step to ensuring that your animal companion is eating a diet that’s as safe and healthy as possible. 

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Meow Mix recalls dry food due to possible salmonella contamination

Two great deals of 30LB Meow Mix items that might contain salmonella have actually been recalled.

The J.M. Smucker Co. just recently recalled two great deals of Meow Mix Dry Cat Food due to prospective Salmonella contamination. While the business has actually not gotten any reports of disease or unfavorable reactions, animal moms and dads need to right away stop feeding the foods to their pets and deal with it. The affected 30-lb. Bags were sold at Walmart stores in IL, MO, NE, NM, OK, UT, WI and WY.

To find out if you have actually acquired the bags being recalled, check the bottom of the back of the bag for the lot code to see if it matches the code in the table listed below:

< img loading="lazy" class="aligncenter wp-image-38705 size-full" src="https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/meow-mix.png" alt ="" width="884" height="271" srcset="https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/meow-mix.png 884w, https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/meow-mix-768x235.png 768w, https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/meow-mix-696x213.png 696w, https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/meow-mix-608x186.png 608w" sizes =" (max-width: 884px) 100vw, 884px"/ > No other Meow Mix items have been affected by this recall.

Salmonella can affect felines if they consume a product contaminated with Salmonella germs. The salmonella bacteria infection is known as salmonellosis, and can spread to people from managing infected products, specifically if they have actually not washed their hands after having contact with contaminated items. Salmonellosis can impact cats in a range of seriousness, in some cases they may be asymptomatic, but negative signs may consist of fever, lethargy, diarrhea and vomiting.

If your cat has actually consumed this remembered item and knowledgeable salmonellosis symptoms, contact your veterinarian instantly. Animal moms and dads who have concerns or wish to report negative reactions should call 1-888-569-6728, Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm or go to meowmix.com/contact-us.

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Your cat’s microbiome

We still have a lot to learn about the feline microbiome, but what we do know can help us take important steps to improving and maintaining our cats’ gut health.

Over the last decade, researchers have gained a better understanding of the human microbiome and its importance to health and well-being. We now know that the trillions of bacteria living in and around our bodies contribute to health or disease, and even change how our brains function. We also know that each individual has a unique microbiome that changes on a daily basis. More recently, researchers have begun looking at the microbiomes of animals, including cats, and are finding some of these same characteristics. Let’s look at the feline microbiome, and what you can do to help support your own cat’s gut health.

What does “microbiome” mean?

The microbiome is a community of bacteria and other microbes that inhabit living organisms and impact overall health in many different ways. While we generally think of bacteria as the organisms that make us sick, the microbiome is home to trillions of beneficial bacteria that help digest food, shape the immune system, and maintain a healthy weight.

A cat’s gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of organisms that can be affected by many factors — including diet, underlying biology, and the development of his microbiome (i.e. the environment he was raised in, and the food he grew up eating). For this reason, there can be a lot of diversity between the microbiomes of different cats.

The feline microbiome – research is ongoing

  • AnimalBiome is a company that has been testing thousands of cat microbiome samples over time. “We have used this data set to understand the core microbiome in healthy cats, and to explore how the microbiome differs in cats with chronic enteropathies (often referred to as inflammatory bowel disease), gastrointestinal lymphoma, and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV),” says CEO Holly H. Ganz, PhD.
  • Dr. Ryan Honaker, Director of Microbiology at Nom Nom, is an expert in microbiome manipulation, infection therapeutics, and microbial community profiling. “Scientists are just beginning to understand some of the immense complexities of the human microbiome, and there have been far fewer studies done on cats,” he says. The company has been collecting microbiome data since the end of 2018. “There’s so much we don’t know, but such a potential to make an impact on feline health across a variety of illnesses,” says Dr. Honaker. “We know there’s a large degree of variability between cats, and their microbiome is complex, which means we need a lot of data to be able to make sense of it.”

A cat’s gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of organisms that can be affected by many factors.

Keeping your cat’s microbiome healthy

  1. A minimally-processed raw or gently-cooked diet made from whole food ingredients is key to keeping your cat’s microbiome as healthy as possible. “Both raw and gently-cooked diets are excellent for overall gut health,” says Jodi Ziskin, a Certified Pet Nutrition Consultant. “There are more bio-appropriate foods available now than ever before, making it easier for people to provide an excellent real food diet to their cats.” Jodi also stresses the importance of avoiding by-products, rendered ingredients, fillers, and artificial additives and flavorings, as these can disrupt the gut microbiome.
  2. Adding a good probiotic supplement, under the guidance of a holistic or integrative veterinarian, can also help. “Probiotics can benefit all cats, but especially those with existing gastrointestinal issues,” says Lori. “It is important to offer a product that’s formulated to withstand the feline’s stronger stomach acids. Probiotics regulate gut flora, help the body absorb and assimilate nutrients, strengthen the immune system, and help keep the digestive tract in working order.”
  3. Prebiotics also play an important role in restoring and maintaining gut health. They nourish and support the growth of good bacteria, which in turn help to control the bad bacteria. “We are increasingly aware that prebiotics — substances that promote a healthy environment in the gut for the good bacteria — are probably as important as the bacteria themselves,” says holistic veterinarian Dr. Andrea Tasi. Again, it’s important to work with your own vet when choosing and using a prebiotic product.
  4. For cats with severe microbiome imbalances, a fecal transplant using a procedure called Microbiome Restorative Therapy (MBRT) may be the answer to restoring gut health. While this therapy is fairly new to veterinary medicine, a growing number of integrative vets are offering it.  AnimalBiome’s KittyBiome Gut Restoration Supplement is a non-invasive alternative to surgical fecal microbiota transplants. “This oral fecal transplant capsule reintroduces beneficial microbes from healthy cats,” says Dr. Ganz.

The state of your cat’s microbiome can have far-reaching effects on her general health, which means any imbalance can significantly impact her well-being, triggering anything from chronic diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, or IBD, to skin issues or even behavior problems. Taking steps to balance your cat’s microbiome will help keep her balanced and healthy overall!

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Leading 10 ways to naturally support your pet or cat’s body immune system

Healthy immunity is among the structures of wellness for your canine or feline. Here are the 10 finest ways you can naturally support his body immune system.

You probably know that the body immune system is accountable for securing your canine or cat’s body (and your own!) from infections. But it does a lot more than that. The immune system also manages inflammation (the source of all chronic illness), reduces cancer cells, and helps determine and rid the body of chemicals, contaminants, bacteria, and so on. Clearly, a healthy immune system is vital for optimum wellness, so it’s essential to make immune care a big part of your dog or feline’s health routine. This article highlights 10 methods to naturally support your pet dog or cat’s immune system so that he stays as strong and healthy as possible.

Healthy resistance starts in the gut

What you may not know is that your pet dog or cat’s capacity for a healthy body immune system actually begins in his intestinal system. In truth, it is estimated that most of the immune system is based in the gut! This implies your dog or cat will be heartier, healthier, and more resilient to all type of diseases if he has a healthy gut. This ground absolutely no immune function relies substantially on 2 very essential aspects (see sidebar below).

With this knowledge, it is easy to comprehend that safeguarding and/or healing your dog or feline’s gut is a powerfully proactive method to keep him much healthier and less most likely to establish infections or diseases, and to enhance his vigor and longevity.

Top 10 recommendations for supporting immune health

Using a functional medicine method (see sidebar), we can now look at specific approaches and tools to support your dog or cat’s gut health, and consequently optimize his immune health. Another crucial goal is to reduce his exposure to the typical culprits that can reduce body immune system function, such as toxins in food and water, extreme vaccines, and overuse of prescription medications.

  1. Feed your pet dog or cat a balanced, fresh, or low-processed diet that contains species-appropriate active ingredients. Heavily-processed foods that contain high carb portions (i.e. most commercial family pet foods) modify the gut microbiome and trigger swelling, which can cause leaky gut syndrome, gastrointestinal issues, body immune system compromise, etc. Processed pet foods likewise consist of a lot of ingredients and preservatives, in addition to the glyphosates/herbicides used in growing the components.
  2. Provide a trace element supplement, such as in the type of kelp or seaweed powder. Trace minerals are typically deficient in all diet plans, yet are strategically crucial in immune health, endocrine health, digestion, and all organ system function. This group of minerals consists of magnesium, selenium, zinc, potassium, and iodine.
  3. Offer an everyday serving of fermented foods to your animal. Fermented foods can out-perform many probiotics by naturally offering a broad variety of advantageous bacteria/microbes, digestive enzymes, minerals, and so on. This promotes healthy digestion and a healthy intestinal tract environment. Fermented food alternatives for pet dogs and cats include kefir/raw fermented dairy, little amounts of fermented veggies, fermented fish stock, etc.
  4. . Add a digestion enzyme supplement to his meals every day. The ancestral diet plans of dogs and cats were not prepared, especially not at the heats utilized in modern-day industrial family pet food processing. Enzymes are damaged at temperature levels above 115 ° F. Adding gastrointestinal enzymes to your animal’s meals can support better digestion and gut health.
  5. Provide colostrum as a day-to-day supplement. Bovine colostrum is a natural and powerful healing food for your animal’s gut and whole body. It provides immune factors needed to safeguard and rebuild the gut lining and body immune system. This unique food likewise supplies development elements for the repair and recovery of the body. Think about utilizing a liposomal form of colostrum, which enables ideal shipment and absorption of these specialized nutrients in the gut.
  6. Add an everyday medicinal mushroom supplement to your animal’s food. Mushrooms such as Reishi, Shitake, Maitake, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, and Lion’s Mane certify as “superfood” supplements, as they offer various health advantages. They are most acknowledged for immune modulation and anti-cancer properties, however also offer minerals, antioxidants, prebiotic fibers, and vitamin D.
  7. Add a clinoptilolite powder supplement to your pet dog or cat’s food when a day. Clinoptilolite is a type of zeolite, special mineral substances originated from the volcanic ash layer of the earth. Zeolites have a powerful adsorbent capacity within their molecular structure that traps and safely gets rid of toxic substances, chemicals, and heavy metals from the body. Zeolites also assist fix the gut and have immune support benefits too, including antiviral and anticancer residential or commercial properties. Additionally, clinoptilolite has no flavor, and is easily accepted by pets and cats when mixed into their food.
  8. Lessen ingestion and direct exposure to contaminants. Offer purified versus faucet water. Don’t spray your lawn or yards with pesticides. Limit using flea items and other chemicals as much as possible. Toxins can cause substantial damage to your pet or feline’s gut (and the rest of his body), leading to leaky gut syndrome, immune challenges, and numerous other health problems.
  9. Avoid over-vaccination. Excess vaccines can jeopardize the immune system. In addition, vaccines include adjuvants, components made from heavy metals or other poisonous chemicals. Go over best vaccination practices for your canine or cat with an integrative or holistic veterinarian, thinking about age, way of life, geographical area, etc. Go with titer screening in lieu of vaccination, whenever possible. Use homeopathic detox alternatives after vaccinations, such as Thuja or Lyssinum.
  10. Prevent overuse of medications, such as prescription antibiotics, antacids, and pain meds. Work with a holistic or integrative veterinarian to select natural alternatives whenever possible, such as natural solutions, homeopathic solutions, food-based supplements, and so on

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