Tofu can be in various textures; it can be extra firm or soft. It can also be used both in sweet or spicy meals. It is high in protein, low in calories, and an exceptional source of vitamins.
It also contains a complete set of nine essential amino acids. It’s loaded with calcium, vitamin B, selenium, manganese, copper, zinc, and phosphorous. So, it seems perfect for humans. But with all that being said, can dogs eat tofu?
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Tofu, recognized as bean curd, is produced by coagulating curds and soy milk ( the same way as they make cheese) into white squares. It is a traditional ingredient in Southeast Asian and Eastern cuisines. If you love, Chinese or any other Asian restaurants, this is supposedly on one of the meals you enjoy.
Can dogs have tofu?
Yes and no. Even though hypothetically dogs can be vegan, you need to remember that dogs are genetically created to eat meat, and giving them tofu as a meat substitute is not the best alternative. Tofu should only be fed to dogs in small amounts to counteract potential side effects.
Is tofu good for dogs?
There are several potential health advantages when we feed tofu to our pets:
Tofu can substitute certain foods for dogs with allergies. Some commercial dog food containing processed meat proteins can provoke food allergies in pups. Tofu can replace the meat-based protein in their kibble.
Tofu is good for dogs that have bladder stones or are at risk of developing those. That group of dogs requires a specific diet low in purines. And tofu, made with soy, seems like a great option to establish such a diet.
Tofu is good for pup’s liver. If your puppy has liver issues his diet needs drastic adjustments then to mend the problem.
A great start is to go with more protein and tofu is an excellent source of it as it was mentioned above. The same rule applies to dogs with kidney issues. And the advantage of plant-based protein over the animal-based proteins, in this case, is that the first can be digested more easily.
Is tofu bad for dogs?
Tofu is not bad for dogs as none of its ingredients is poisonous for your canine. But it also not the best choice for them because it’s low on critical nutrients for dogs and to be fair even on proteins.
So to make sure your pup gets the proper amount of protein you still have to feed him with meat, claim several vets, Steve Marsden, DVM, Shawn Messonnier, DVM and Cheryl Yuill, DVM, in their article about soy protein.
Amongst some other cons of feeding your pup with tofu are the following:
- Too much of soy can start to bloating in dogs because it contains gas.
- There’s a lot of silicate in soy, and that might lead to the development of kidney stones.
- Tofu is produced from soy that contains some indigestible sugars and phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) that can provoke stomach upset in your dogs.
- On top of it some sources of soybeans were genetically modified that potentially can produce harmful side effects for your pup.
To wrap it up: If you were to give your pet only a tiny portion of tofu, just once in a while, the chances are that nothing shady is going to occur to them. Well, maybe them being a bit gassy or experience some diarrhea processing that new food. The exception is the case of tofu allergy, of course.
Dogs that are fed with the massive amounts of tofu are at high risk of bloating, a condition that is not pleasant for us humans but is quite serious for our pups.
Is tofu toxic to dogs?
Soy, the base ingredient of tofu, has not been officially proven to be toxic or dangerous for dogs.
So far, all we can say is that soy is a valuable source of protein and energy and is appropriate for use in dog food. But as with many other things in life, moderation is the key.
Researching soy in dog food is difficult, partly because experts sometimes seem to contradict each other. There are many possible explanations for this kind of disagreement.
Partly because there is a lot we don’t really know, and various people use their judgment to put all the pieces together in a different manner. Still, commercial dog food businesses are increasingly adding soy to their recipes. So tofu is most likely not considered to be toxic to dogs in any way. Just don’t go too overboard with it.
Can dogs eat…
Overly fatty foods, such as fried chicken, are very toxic for dogs. In large quantities, these may cause inflammation of the pancreas, so this organ may produce enzymes that can potentially damage your pet’s intestines. And can be even life-threatening. So I suggest skipping the fried tofu.
Some dogs might enjoy a little piece of raw tofu as an occasional treat. It has to be served plain at room temperature. Or you can crumble a little bit of tofu on top of the regular kibble to increase the protein intake.
Italian Tofurky sausage found on Amazon. Check the current price here.
There was a funny report from a woman whose pet ate the whole pack of vegan sausages and turned out to be fine. However, I would NOT recommend repeating the same experiment if you care about your dog.
First of all, let’s check the labels for Tofurky products. The most “safe” option is this Italian sausage. On top of very nice and relatively clean ingredients, it contains granulated garlic.
And you definitely don’t want your pup to ingest this component at all.
Some pets are much more tolerant of spices than others. But overall, any spice dish, including spicy tofu, may cause discomfort, like stomach pain or diarrhea.
For more details, check my guide about dogs and spicy food.
Dogs and tofu. Summary.
As we all aware, at this time, there is no precise answer whether tofu is good or bad for humans, not talking about dogs.
A considerable amount of disagreement surrounds this subject, but we’ll try to make the best of it to establish some clarity.
Soy is the main ingredient of tofu. And it contains phytoestrogen, a chemical that acts like a real estrogen, meaning it either mimics or blocks it. That results in abnormal puberty or infertility. Sounds scary, right?
The truth is that In 2004, a study published in the American Journal of Veterinary Research reported that some commercial dog foods include phytoestrogens in amounts that can provoke biological changes if a dog eats it long-term.
Whether you like it or not soy might be closer to your pup’s feeding bowl than you might have thought. So, in case you decided to eliminate soy from your pup’s life we suggest you read all the labels carefully, otherwise, just remember the rule: everything is ok in moderation.
Credits: thanks for the photo to Anh Nguyen from Unsplash and Canva.