Tofu is one of the oldest and most nutritious foods in the world and it is made from soybeans that are soaked in water, grounded up, and boiled. Given its high nutritional content, you may be wondering whether dogs can eat tofu and if it’s good for them. The quick answer is yes. In fact, you can find soy, which is the primary building block for tofu, as an ingredient in many commercial dog foods. In addition, soybeans are the only vegetables that are “complete” with all eight essential amino acids present.
It’s OK to give your dogs tofu in small amounts as long as your pets aren’t allergic. However, your dogs still need lean proteins in their diets. Many owners are adopting vegan or vegetarian lifestyles these days, which can be a wonderful personal diet choice. However, dogs are naturally omnivores and should not be put on a similar diet. Doing so can be a mistake, especially for puppies and active dogs because they require a substantial amount of protein and fat as part of their diets to grow and recover. While tofu isn’t toxic or dangerous, soy is one of the most common food allergies among dogs.
To help you learn more, we’ve compiled a guide on tofu for dogs. From health benefits to digestive issues, explore whether tofu is good for dogs to eat.
Is Tofu Safe For Dogs?
Dogs can eat tofu but using it as an alternative to meat products is not a good idea. Dogs need meat as part of their diets and tofu does not contain all the ingredients or nutrients that dogs need to remain healthy.
Many dog food manufacturers use soy (tofu is made from soy) as a filler because it is inexpensive. However, this is not a healthy option for dogs. We also note that if these manufacturers are cutting corners when it comes to one ingredient, i.e. soy, it’s likely that the food also contains other ingredients that add very little nutritional value and are not healthy for your dog.
It’s not recommended that you give your dog tofu regularly. However, there is nothing wrong with letting him or her have some as a treat in moderation. When given in small amounts, the worst problem you are likely to notice is that your dog has a bit of gas. However, if you notice diarrhea, it’s important to stop feeding your dog tofu.
Also, avoid any seasonings, especially any onion or garlic, and give tofu to your dog plain. When in doubt, remember that dogs’ taste buds work differently than ours and they don’t need seasonings on their food as we oftentimes do.
Scientific Research on Tofu or Soy For Dogs
There is unfortunately not enough research to confirm or deny the health benefits of tofu or soy for dogs. There are, however, a higher number of reasons for not giving dogs tofu than there are for feeding it to them on a regular basis.
Tofu is an unusual food for dogs and it is not a part of their traditional diets. This may lead to digestive issues and your dog could end up either constipated or with diarrhea. In addition, tofu contains a lot of estrogen, which may lead to hormone imbalance. This can interfere with thyroid or adrenal function as well as diminish skin health. Eating too much tofu may also lead to bloat which may induce symptoms including drooling, difficulty breathing, bloated abdomen, and vomiting.
Tofu has several health benefits including being a high source of complete proteins, low in fat, and rich in vitamins and minerals. It is a great source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, folate, and zinc.
Can Dogs Eat Commercial Tofu-Based Meat Alternatives?
Meat alternatives like tofurkey or tofu-based vegetarian patties that are available at your local grocery store should generally not be given to your dogs. These often contain a lot of preservatives, salt, or seasonings that can be bad for them. In fact, these mock meats often contain onions and garlic as part of their seasoning, which is highly toxic to dogs.
Yes, Dogs Can Eat Tofu in Moderation
If you’re a vegan and you eat tofu regularly as a source of protein, don’t fall prey to the mistake of turning your dog into a vegan, too. Dogs require meat in their diets to receive the necessary nutrients that keep them healthy.
Look for dog food that doesn’t contain soy or corn as fillers, and remember, it’s not cruel for your dogs to eat meat, even if you choose to avoid animal products in your own diet.