10 Best dog foods with taurine and carnitine

Written by: Peter Laskay
Reviewed by: Amber LaRock
Last updated on:
Dog on the ground

Here is my detailed guide to the best dog foods with taurine and carnitine in 2021.

In general, dogs do not need amino acid supplementation. After all, animal proteins are rich in the about 20 amino acids that canines need. 

However, in some cases, taurine and L-carnitine need to be replaced. This article will help you with that. 

I spent an entire day finding the best dog food with taurine and carnitine. My favorite of these is the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

In addition to product reviews, you will also find important information about the two important amino acids mentioned above, their roles, and their deficiencies. By the end of the article, I hope you will be able to choose the most suitable product for you and your dog.

Let’s start!

Why you should trust me

Whether you’re experienced in dog and other pet topics or not, I’m sure you’re in the right place. I do my best to provide the best and most reliable information possible to my readers.

My name is Peter Laskay, and I have been a pet lover since I was a child. One of the most important places in my life is to gain as much knowledge as possible about pet care. And I want to pass this knowledge on to my blog visitors.

Should you have any questions at any time, feel free to contact me using the contact information on the website.

10 Best dog foods with taurine and carnitine

Taurine and carnitine are non-essential amino acids, meaning the body of dogs can synthesize them. 

However, in some situations, it may be necessary to supplement these amino acids. This is important mainly for the prevention of various heart diseases. 

Below you can see the best products containing taurine and carnitine. These recipes also meet other quality criteria. During the reviews, I will examine the ingredients exactly.

It is important to note that you should definitely consult your veterinarian about changing your dog’s diet. Always change the dog food gradually!

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal
  • Contains calcium, phosphorus, and essential vitamins
  • Features glucosamine, vitamins, chelated minerals, and antioxidants
  • Taurine and carnitine content promote the health of the heart
  • Free of corn, wheat, soy, or chicken by-product meals

I really like Blue Buffalo products as this brand pays absolute attention to quality. The recipes are carefully designed with the help of veterinarians and animal nutrition experts. 

Almost every product contains a so-called LifeSource Bits blend. It contains plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids that maximally support the dogs’ immune system. 

This product is one of Blue’s most famous dog foods. It contains grains, however, they are all of the great quality, such as Brown Rice, Barley, and Oatmeal. Not only are they well digested, but they contain a lot of fiber and other useful micronutrients. 

Deboned Chicken and Chicken Meal provide most of the protein content. These are high-quality meats that contain all the necessary amino acids for your dog. Chicken Meal is also a great source of glucosamine, which is good news for joints. 

The main sources of fat are Flaxseed and Chicken Fat. They are excellent sources of energy, are delicious, and balance the product’s omega fatty acid content. This is because the skin and coat of dogs are in great need of these fatty acids. 

Besides, ingredients include fiber sources, fresh vegetables, fruits, and added vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, and amino acids. This food also contains taurine and L-carnitine, so if your puppy is deficient in these, this can be a great choice.


Merrick Grain-Free Senior Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Turkey Meal
  • Contains Taurine and L-carnitine
  • Includes glucosamine and chondroitin to help maintain healthy joints
  • Contains omega fatty acids
  • An ideal combination of protein and healthy fats

If you are looking for a grain-free dog food containing taurine and carnitine, this Merrick product is a great choice for you. Although it has been formulated for senior dogs, I think it may be suitable for adults. 

The main protein sources are Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, and Turkey Meal. These are high-quality meats with high digestibility. The glucosamine and chondroitin content of Chicken Meal and Turkey Meal supports the joints. 

Sweet Potatoes and Potatoes are popular sources of carbohydrates in the grain-free diet. Their high fiber, vitamin, and mineral content support the functioning of the immune and digestive systems. 

Like the previous product, the main sources of fat here are Chicken Fat and Flaxseed. These make the diet tasty and balanced. Also, they contain omega fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and have a good effect on the skin and coat’s health. 

Added fruits, vegetables, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics ensure that your dog’s immune system works properly. 

This recipe is a good choice for taurine and carnitine deficiency as it contains these important amino acids.


Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Lamb & Blueberry

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Lamb, Dehydrated Lamb, Whole Spelt, Whole Oats, Dried Whole Eggs
  • Perfect for adult dogs of all breed sizes
  • A low glycemic formula
  • Contains no whole peas, legumes, meals, or by-products
  • High protein, limited carbohydrate, and low fiber content

Farmina is an Italian company whose products are not the most affordable, but their quality is unquestionable. The 60% animal ingredients are pretty convincing to me. 

Plus, this product does not contain peas, corn, soy, wheat, and gluten. That is, it is clearly a good option for sensitive adult dogs. 

The recipe includes grains like Whole Spelled and Whole Oats. They are good quality, whole carbs, full of vitamins and minerals. 

The amino acids required for muscle building are provided by Lamb, Dehydrated Lamb, Dried Whole Eggs, Fresh Herring, and Dehydrated Herring. 

Fish contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which have a good effect on dogs’ skin and coat. Incidentally, Chicken Fat and Herring Oil also contain such fatty acids. 

And the benefits of the Farmina recipe are not over yet. The added vegetables, fruits, vitamins, and minerals guarantee a healthy immune system for your dog. 

Taurine and carnitine content are also ideal for dogs that are deficient in these two important amino acids. Highly recommended product!


American Journey Senior Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas
  • Supports brain health in aging dogs
  • Contains antioxidants and omega fatty acids
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin help support joint health
  • Free of grains, wheat, corn, soy, by-product meals, and artificial additives

The American Journey is owned by Chewy and has not a long history. Nevertheless, this brand offers very high-quality products. If you want a recipe for taurine and carnitine for your senior dog, be sure to consider the American Journey Senior Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe. 

Considering the ingredients, you can see why I’m saying this. The recipe includes three main protein sources, namely Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, and Turkey Meal. 

These poultry are very digestible and provide dogs with all the necessary amino acids and other nutrients. Besides, meals also contain glucosamine and chondroitin, which is very positive for the joints of elderly dogs. 

The product is grain-free, and its main carbohydrate sources are Sweet Potatoes, Peas, and Chickpeas. So if your dog is allergic or sensitive to grains, this food may be a good option. 

The fiber content is relatively high at 7%. Fibers promote proper digestion and healthy body weight. 

Chicken Fat and Coconut Oil contain fatty acids that provide maximum support for dogs’ skin, coat, and brain. Plus, Chicken Fat makes the food especially delicious. 

Also, this product contains many added vitamins, minerals, vegetables, fruits, and prebiotics. Thanks to all this, the efficiency of the immune system can also be increased.


Taste of the Wild Ancient Prairie with Ancient Grains

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Buffalo, Pork, Chicken Meal, Grain Sorghum, Millet
  • Contains ancient grains like sorghum, quinoa, millet, and chia seed
  • Made in the USA
  • This product is highly digestible and contains proprietary probiotics
  • Contains taurine and carnitine

Taste of the Wild is famous for making excellent food for pets using only natural ingredients. The manufacturer’s goal with the recipes is to mimic the diet of the ancestors of the dogs. 

This product is quite high in protein and fat and includes carbohydrate sources such as Grain Sorghum, Millet, Barley, Quinoa, and Chia Seed. These grains contain plenty of useful nutrients and digestive fiber. 

The main protein sources are Buffalo, Pork, Chicken Meal, Roasted Bison, Roasted Venison, and Beef. These meats contain the amino acids needed to build muscle mass and healthy fats and other nutrients. 

Other sources of fat are Chicken Fat, Flaxseed, and Salmon Oil. The latter two contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which are extremely important for the skin and coat’s health. 

There are other useful ingredients in the recipe. Examples include added vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, vegetables, and fruits. This guarantees a diet for your dog that is not only delicious but also healthy. 

Also, the product contains added taurine and carnitine, which makes it quite worthy of being on my list.


Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Sunflower Oil
  • Formulated for adults and puppies
  • A grain-free, and limited ingredient formula
  • Turkey is a great source of protein, taurine, carnitine, vitamins, and minerals
  • Free of corn, wheat, soy, dairy, and chicken

This Zignature product is limited in ingredients and grain-free, making it suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs. 

This is because the fewer the ingredient, the easier it is to rule out protein or carbohydrate sources causing the problem. Besides, the quality of the ingredients is unquestionable in this recipe. 

The protein sources are Turkey and Turkey Meal. They are known to contain a lot of taurine and other useful micronutrients. Meals, even with glucosamine and chondroitin, help the health of dogs’ joints. 

Chickpeas and Peas give carbohydrates. These legumes are sources of nutrients rich in high fiber. 

Sunflower Oil and Flaxseed contribute to the health of dogs’ skin and coat with the help of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The added vitamins and minerals help the immune system to function.

Be sure to consider this product if you have a puppy or adult dog who needs extra taurine or carnitine. 


Earthborn Holistic Meadow Feast

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Lamb Meal, Pumpkin, Tapioca, Dried Egg, Sweet Potato
  • Contains L-carnitine and taurine
  • Suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Contains carefully chosen vegetables and fruits
  • Free of grains, gluten, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial ingredients

This is another limited ingredient diet on my list that is suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It also contains taurine and carnitine, supporting the heart health of dogs. But you can’t complain about the quality of the ingredients either. 

The main source of protein is Lamb Meal, which very rarely causes sensitivity in dogs. It is also a great source of amino acids and glucosamine. 

The recipe includes carbs like Pumpkin, Tapioca, and Sweet Potato. These are very nutritious carbohydrates with a high fiber content, which has a good effect on digestion. 

Canola Oil and Flaxseed are great sources of fat, full of omega fatty acids. In addition to those listed so far, Earthborn’s product also contains added fresh vegetables, fruits, vitamins, minerals, and prebiotics. This supports the functioning of the dogs’ immune system.


Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice Formula

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Lamb Meal, Ground White Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Grain Sorghum, Egg Product
  • Helps support strong muscles in dogs
  • Contains real fruits and vegetables
  • Made with a proprietary probiotic blend
  • Free of corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives

This product is not only an excellent source of taurine and carnitine, but it is the most affordable on my list. So if you’re on a tight budget, feel free to consider this recipe. 

But let’s look at the ingredients! Lamb Meal is an excellent source of protein. It is highly digestible, does not cause sensitivity, and provides all the necessary amino acids for dogs. Also, it contains a lot of glucosamine and chondroitin, which is good for joint health. 

Carbohydrate sources like Ground White Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, and Grain Sorghum are complete and nutritious. Thanks to their energy and fiber content, it makes the diet more balanced for dogs. 

And Chicken Fat is a delicious and healthy source of fat. Add to these benefits that the product contains several fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. This is how this recipe becomes a really healthy alternative.


Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Chicken, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brown Rice, Pea Fiber, Corn Gluten Meal
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Supports muscle maintenance
  • Contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids
  • Made in the USA

I love Hill’s Science products because they all clearly show that they were created with veterinarians’ help. It is no different with this weight control formula either. If your dog is obese, consider this product. 

9% fat and 5% fiber content, as well as 291 kcal/cup will help canines lose weight. At the same time, the quality and quantity of proteins promote the maintenance of muscle mass. 

Chicken and Chicken Meal are excellent sources of protein for this purpose. 

Carbohydrate sources are Cracked Pearled Barley and Brown Rice, making this recipe attractive because of its fiber and nutrient content. 

Flaxseed and Coconut Oil contain valuable fatty acids that promote skin and coat health and also have anti-inflammatory effects. 

The added vitamins, minerals, and amino acids (taurine and carnitine too) support the dogs’ immune system. Be sure to consider this product!


Natural Balance Fat Dogs Chicken & Salmon Formula

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Chicken Meal, Salmon Meal, Chickpeas, Dried Peas, Oat Groats
  • A low-calorie high fiber formula
  • Suitable for picky eaters
  • Helps your dog maintain a healthy weight
  • Contains omega fatty acids

The last member on my list is a Natural Balance product, also formulated for fat dogs. Because obesity poses several health risks, it is worth taking action against it as soon as possible. 

Thanks to the ingredients and nutrient composition, this will not be difficult with this product. 

The 26% protein content is provided by Chicken Meal and Salmon Meal, which are very nutritious and well-digested protein sources. Also, they contain a lot of glucosamine (good news for the joints of obese dogs). 

The main carbohydrate sources are Chickpeas, Dried Peas, Oat Groats, and Barley. They have high fiber content and low glycemic. Therefore, they are excellent contributors to weight loss. 

Incidentally, the product also contains many other fiber sources. Examples include Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Pea Fiber, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Oat Fiber, and Dried Tomato Pomace. Fiber is important for healthy digestion. Simultaneously, they help make your dog feel full, making it easier to lose weight. 

The fat content of the product is only 7.5%, which Chicken Fat gives. It is a delicious and extremely nutritious source of fat. 

And if all that wasn’t enough: the recipe contains plenty of added vegetables, vitamins, and minerals that boost the immune system. So if you have an obese dog that needs some taurine and carnitine supplementation, this product is a good option.


What is Taurine and why do dogs need it?

Taurine is an amino acid that can be discovered throughout the body, especially in the brain, heart, and eyes. So you can see that it is crucial for the health of these organs. 

The biggest benefits of taurine in dogs are:

  • Cardiovascular support
  • Support for reproductive processes
  • Eye health
  • Weight and diabetes control
  • Liver defense

There are twenty kinds of amino acids, among which there are essential and non-essential. The latter types are very important as the body cannot produce them, so they need to be taken in with food. The list of essential amino acids is as follows:

  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Methionine
  • Arginine
  • Histidine
  • Lysine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Phenylalanine
  • Valine

Taurine is a non-essential amino acid, which means that canines can produce it from other amino acids as well. We do not need to pay special attention to the level of taurine in the food for them. 

Incidentally, the richest sources of taurine are various meats, especially mussels and dark poultry meats. 

However, dogs with cystinuria or DCM are unable to produce enough taurine, so they need various supplements. A 40-pound dog needs about 1000mg of taurine supplementation a day.

Old age can also be a reason for the slowdown in taurine production in dogs. Also, this amino acid is involved in many bodily processes, so if production is reduced, the consequences will soon be apparent.

Breeds that are prone to taurine deficiency

Basically, taurine deficiency can develop in any dog. This is especially true for older canines. However, some breeds have this condition more often than average, especially those with large bodies. Examples are:

What is Carnitine, and why do dogs need it?

Carnitine refers to several compounds. These are L-carnitine, acetyl L-carnitine, and propionyl L-carnitine. 

They play an important role in the energy production and the transport of certain amino acids. 

L-Carnitine is an important amino acid that plays a role in producing the energy needed to contract the heart muscle.

As with taurine, carnitine does not require special supplementation in healthy dogs. This is because they produce enough of this important compound. 

Its deficiency is a serious problem in dogs because not enough taurine gets into the heart. This can even lead to fatal heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The heart muscle weakens (especially in the left ventricle), so blood flow will also be insufficient.

What about grain-free diets for dogs?

grain-free dog food

One of the biggest debates about dog food in recent years is whether a grain-free diet is healthy or not. Since 2018, the FDA has been investigating the association between dilated cardiomyopathy and a grain-free diet. 

This is because many dogs developed this disease after a diet. In most cases, dog foods included legumes and potatoes, as these carbohydrate sources are considered a viable alternative to grains.

The grain-free diet has appeared on the pet food market for more than a decade. This is because many dogs are allergic or sensitive to various grains. 

The grain-free diet, of course, was a nice solution to the problem. After all, if there is a case of food allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance in a dog, the most effective way to treat it is to eliminate the ingredients in question from his diet. 

Grain-free dog food soon became so successful that plenty of dog owners switched to these products.

Nowadays, the grain-free diet has become almost a fad among dog owners. Many people think this diet is healthier for canines. Yet grain-inclusive foods are extremely nutritious and generally very well digestible. 

Experts advise that if your dog is not sensitive or allergic to grains, provide him with a grain-inclusive diet. 

The association between a grain-free diet and cardiomyopathy has not yet been confirmed. On the other hand, products that make up a significant portion of their protein content with vegetable proteins (e.g., pea protein) contain less taurine than those based on meat.

What to look for in dog food with taurine and carnitine

Now you know the relationship between a grain-free diet and taurine and carnitine and the role of these two important amino acids in your dog’s diet. 

However, I am now writing about what other aspects are worth paying attention to if there is a possibility of taurine or carnitine deficiency. 

Choosing the best dog food is one of the most important things when keeping a pet. It is quite obvious to me that a healthy and long life is based on proper nutrition. 

Overall, your dog’s basic nutritional needs do not change with taurine or carnitine deficiency. 

The ingredients in dog food should include a good quality protein source, a digestible carbohydrate source, and a fat source that provides omega fatty acids. 

Besides, valuable ingredients include fiber sources, probiotics, fresh fruits and vegetables, and added vitamins and minerals. I will write about these in detail below.

Quality Protein

Proteins are the most important nutrients in all dog food. Animal proteins are the best and healthiest source of protein for canines. Not to mention that they also contain much taurine. 

Meats, fish, shellfish, seafood, and eggs are wealthy taurine sources and contain 10 essential amino acids for dogs. The meat of large animals (e.g., cows) contains less taurine than small animals (fish). 

According to AAFCO guidelines, dogs must be provided with a protein content of at least 18%. In the case of amino acid deficiency, higher protein content is more ideal (30%).

protein sources

Digestible Carbs

Dogs do better on animal sources, yet they are also able to utilize plant carbohydrates. Whole grains and fresh, healthy vegetables are excellent and digestible sources of energy and nutrients. 

As I mentioned earlier, you have no reason to force your dog to eat a grain-free diet if he doesn’t have allergies, sensitivities, or intolerances.

grains

Healthy Fats

Fats are extremely important nutrients. On the one hand, they are excellent energy sources and play a key role in many bodily processes. They are also important because of their fat-soluble vitamins. 

Animal fats are very healthy. But in addition to saturated fats, unsaturated fats should also be included in your dog’s diet. These are, for example, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. 

Fish, flaxseed, and vegetable oils contain many of these fatty acids. They are great for promoting brain, coat, and skin health and also have anti-inflammatory effects.

fat sources

Quality of ingredients

It is not enough to pay attention to the number of macronutrients. Quality is just as important. 

For protein sources, real whole meats are best. Many people say meals are not the right ingredients; however, this is not true. 

This is because they contain real meat and other valuable animal parts that are great sources of glucosamine and chondroitin. This is important because of the joints in dogs. 

However, unnamed meat meals should be avoided as their quality is uncontrollable. (Prefer chicken meal over poultry meal). 

Quality is also an important consideration for carbohydrate sources. Wholesome grains, potatoes, legumes, and vegetables are delicious ingredients. However, you need to be aware of what your dog is allergic to or sensitive to.

Brand recalls

Current and past recalls are revealing a lot about a brand. If the dog food company you selected has had many recalls in the past or still has a recall in the past, that’s a red flag. This is because of the potential dangers. 

It is also worth considering what problem the recall was proposed for. There may be some that do not endanger your dog’s health (e.g., packing issues). But some recalls have been triggered because of potential hazards (e.g., salmonella). 

You can find out about the recalls currently in progress here.

It is also important to know where the dog food of your choice is produced. The safest places are the USA, Canada, New Zealand, and Western Europe.

Frequently asked questions

Now you know what the best dog foods are with taurine and carnitine. But there’s definitely something else you’re curious about. Here are answers to some common questions about this topic.

What foods contain taurine for dogs?

Taurine is an essential amino acid. It is not essential, meaning dogs can synthesize it, but with aging and certain diseases, this process slows down. In this case, we need to pay much more attention to getting our dog taurine with food. The richest taurine sources are dark meat (e.g., turkey), fish, seafood, internal organs, etc.

What is carnitine in dog food?

L-Carnitine is an amino acid that plays a key role in the healthy functioning of the heart. Healthy dogs can synthesize enough of this important nutrient. However, supplementation may be required for dilated cardiomyopathy.

Can a dog have too much taurine? 

Amino acids are important building blocks of the body. They are essential for proper muscle function and play a vital role in many bodily processes. Taurine is also one such amino acid. Excessive intake does not cause symptoms of poisoning or other problems.

What are the symptoms of taurine deficiency in dogs?

Your veterinarian should determine the taurine deficiency of your dog. However, there are symptoms suggestive of the condition. These are the following:

-Collapsing or fainting
-Bloody urine
-Painful urination
-Abdominal pain
-Excessive panting
-Blindness

Do eggs contain taurine for dogs?

Eggs also contain taurine. Moreover, it even contains methionine and cysteine, from which dogs are able to synthesize taurine.

My final choice

As you can see from my article, taurine and carnitine are not essential nutrients. This means that dogs can synthesize them. 

However, they play a vital role, and if their production slows down, it can even have fatal health consequences. Therefore, in such cases, it is critical to look for dog food containing taurine and carnitine. 

But this alone is not necessarily enough, as the other ingredients must also be of high quality. You can see the top 10 products on my list. 

My favorite of these is the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe. This grain-inclusive formula contains great sources of protein, wholesome grains, and healthy fats. Besides, it contains added taurine and carnitine. 

Of course, if your dog is sensitive to grains, you can choose another product, but Blue’s recipe is an ideal option in all other cases.


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Author:
Hey, my name is Peter, and I am the owner of this site. I have loved animals since I was a kid. I am constantly training myself; I recently obtained an accredited certificate in pet nutrition. But I am constantly learning about training, grooming for dogs and cats. I am currently a happy owner of two dogs, six cats, and two red-eared sliders. My goal is to provide my visitors with the most authentic information possible on any pet-related topic.
Amber LaRock
Reviewed By An Expert:

My name is Amber, and I am a licensed vet tech with 10 years of experience in the field. I spent the majority of my career working in emergency medicine but recently transitioned to creating accurate pet care information online. There is nothing more important to me than helping pet owners understand their furry friend’s health, and giving you the tools you need to offer your pet the best future possible!