Can Dogs Eat Tofu?

Can dogs eat it

Written By: Angela Jakeson

Can Dogs Eat Tofu?
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Can dogs eat tofu? Not all dogs can eat tofu. This human food provides a good amount of essential amino acids, minerals, and healthy fats. However, it contains compounds that can be detrimental to pets with certain health conditions.

To further understand why care should be taken when feeding tofu to dogs, let us weigh its health benefits and risks.

What is tofu?

Tofu is a soy-based food that originated in China. It is made by coagulating soymilk, thus the nickname soybean curd.

This human food has long been a staple ingredient in many Asian cuisines and is now popular in many places around the globe, probably because of its versatility and health benefits.

Tofu is found to aid in reducing the risk of heart disease, certain forms of cancer, and diabetes. Since it is good for human health, some pawrents might be wondering if tofu is beneficial to canines as well.

5 Top Health Benefits of Tofu to Dogs

A block of tofu on a plate.

Tofu is a good source of plant-based proteins and contains plenty of beneficial nutrients for dogs. Some of these include calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus.

Let us take a look at the health benefits of tofu to canine health and find out if it is good for dogs:

1. Low in Carbohydrates and Fats

Tofu can help dogs with weight management, especially if they are overweight or obese because it only contains small amounts of carbs and fat.

100 grams of tofu provide less than 2 grams of carbohydrates and less than 5 grams of fat.

Note that the calorie and fat content of this human food may vary depending on its type. The firmer the tofu, the higher the calories and fat due to its low water content.

With this in mind, silken tofu is a better option for dogs in need of weight loss.

2. Good Source of Plant-Based Protein

Animal protein is an integral part of a dog’s nutrition. It plays a big role in muscle development and repair and is essential in creating nails, cartilage, and tendons in canines.

Tofu works great as an additional protein source for dogs. For every 100 grams, it offers nearly 9 grams of protein. More notably, it contains 9 essential amino acids that dogs need, namely:

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

In some cases, some dogs are allergic to animal proteins. Thus, tofu can be used as an alternative.

How tofu is cooked can affect its protein content. According to a 2019 study, frying this human food increased its amount of protein by over 20%. Make sure to use healthy cooking oils such as olive oil or chia seed oil.

3. Potentially a Good Option for Dogs with Liver Disease

Animal proteins are commonly removed from the diets of canines suffering from an advanced form of liver disease called hepatic encephalopathy.

This condition greatly hinders liver function, which can often lead to protein waste buildup. Animal proteins, such as organ meats, are observed to cause the worst effect due to their high purine content.

In this case, tofu can be a substitute for animal proteins as it is less likely to aggravate their illness.

Keep in mind that this type of dietary change is only applicable to some dogs with severe liver disease. Always check with the veterinarian before making alterations to your canine companion’s meals.

4. Provides Additional Omega-3 Fats

Tofu contains significant levels of omega-3 fats that offer various health benefits for dogs, such as:

  • Reducing body inflammation
  • Alleviating joint pains
  • Improving coat health
  • Boost cognitive abilities

However, the omega-3s in tofu come in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is less digestible for dogs compared to eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids.

If you want to boost the omega-3 intake of your furry pal, consider using tofu fortified with DHA.

5. Strengthens Bones

Tofu is a rich source of bone-strengthening minerals for dogs, particularly if it is made with calcium sulfate as an ingredient.

100 grams of this human food contain over 300 milligrams of calcium, 121 milligrams of potassium, 97 milligrams of phosphorus, and 30 milligrams of magnesium.

Read: 7 Essential Dog Vitamins and Their Natural Food Sources

8 Common Health Concerns in Feeding Tofu to Dogs

Cubed tofu in a bowl.

Although tofu offers numerous health benefits for dogs, it also comes with several downsides.

Let us look at the disadvantages of tofu in dogs and gauge if these are significant concerns. This will help dog owners make an informed decision and answer the question, “Can dogs eat tofu?”

1. Risk of Canine Bloat

Canine bloat is a deadly illness that can take a dog’s life in a matter of hours. This condition commonly occurs when the dog’s stomach becomes distended. In turn, the liquid and gas build up inside the dog’s digestive system.

Soy-based ingredients, such as tofu and soy milk, increase the possibility of canine bloat because they cause gas in dogs. Ingesting a large amount of tofu can lead to this life-threatening health issue.

The most common symptoms of canine bloat are a bloated stomach, excessive drooling, difficulty eliminating, and vomiting. If you observe these clinical signs in your dog, take him to the vet immediately.

2. Can Cause Stomach Upset

A block of herbed tofu on a wooden chopping board.

Soybeans contain phytoestrogens and sugars, which are indigestible to canines. Keep in mind that tofu is made from soybeans. Allowing your dog to consume tofu can result in flatulence, diarrhea, or worse, canine bloat.

3. May Cause Hormonal Imbalance

Feeding tofu to dogs puts them at risk of estrogen imbalance. Soy contains phytoestrogens, which are believed to cause this problem.

These compounds can increase the risk of cancer and can also become detrimental to adrenal and thyroid functions. This may result in the development or aggravation of thyroid issues.

Skin problems and poor coat quality are also side effects of hormonal imbalance brought on by consuming tofu.

4. Can Trigger Allergic Reaction in Some Dogs

Slices of herbed tofu on a wooden chopping board.

Tofu is considered an excellent option for dogs with food allergies. However, it is also observed that some dogs that are allergic to soy are possibly allergic to tofu too.

Research shows that some canines are allergic to protein sources, including plant-based ones such as soybeans. And it is worth noting that tofu mainly comes from soy protein.

If a soy-allergic dog eats tofu, symptoms of food allergy, such as gastric upset, inflamed skin, itchiness, constant scratching, and ear infections, may occur. If this happens to your dog, get him checked by the vet.

5. May Set Off the Development of Kidney Stones

There is conflicting information about how tofu affects dogs’ kidneys. Some studies claim that it helps improve the condition of dogs with kidney issues.

However, other researchers negate this assertion. They believe that tofu can instead cause the formation of kidney and bladder stones in dogs because of its high silicate levels. Due to this, eating soy is not the best idea for dogs with kidney problems.

6. Contains Trace Amounts of Antinutrients

Soybeans contain trypsin inhibitors and phytates antinutrients. These make the absorption of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, and zinc, difficult for canines.

It can lead to the development of leaky gut syndrome in dogs, which may cause other health issues to manifest, such as arthritis and autoimmune diseases.

However, during tofu production, the levels of antinutrients are significantly reduced.

7. May Be Exposed to Pesticides

Some brands of tofu and soy are made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This means they may be in contact with pesticides and other chemicals that are toxic to dogs.

GMO soy also possesses high glyphosate concentrations, a toxic carcinogen. This compound has detrimental effects on the canine digestive tract and immune system.

Although you can find organic and non-GMO tofu varieties in the market, it does not guarantee that they are free from harmful chemicals. Many types of tofu are likely treated with pesticides, including those labeled organic and non-GMO.

It is important to note that most tofu makers get their resources from various growers. Thus, determining the exact source is very difficult.

Is It a Good Idea to Feed Dogs Tofu?

After weighing the pros and cons of tofu for dogs, what do you think is the final verdict? Is tofu bad for dogs or not?

Tofu is generally safe for dogs to eat but it should be served in moderation. Undesirable side effects tend to crop up when pawrents go overboard in feeding tofu to their canine companions.

As with any human food, seek professional advice from a veterinarian or a certified veterinary nutritionist first to ensure that tofu is suitable for your furry pal.

This is especially important to do if your pet is predisposed to or currently suffering from health conditions like bloat, food allergies, thyroid issues, or renal problems.

FAQs About Tofu for Dogs

1. Can Pregnant Dogs Eat Tofu?

Unless approved by the veterinarian, refrain from giving tofu to pregnant dogs. Some compounds found in tofu can affect the estrogen levels of canines, which can cause hormonal imbalances.

Health issues such as this are dangerous for dams since they may result in miscarriages.

2. Is Tofu Good for Dogs With Kidney Disease?

There are no definitive findings proving that tofu is good for dogs with kidney disease. Moreover, it remains debated whether or not this human food can exacerbate canine renal issues.

For this reason, it would be best to keep tofu away from pets with kidney disorders.

3. How Do I Cook Tofu for My Dog?

Cook tofu for your dog by slicing it into small cubes and then pan-frying it until all sides are golden brown. As much as possible, keep the dish simple and use minimal ingredients to avoid upsetting your pet’s stomach.

4. Can Dogs Eat Spicy Tofu?

Dogs cannot eat spicy tofu since their digestive system has a low tolerance for spiciness. Eating this type of food will inevitably lead to gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and flatulence.


Cooked tofu cubes for dogs.

Tofu can serve as a nutritious and healthy doggy snack or an addition to your furry pal’s meals.

While it is dense with high-quality proteins, minerals, and other nutrients, this human food should not be given in excess to dogs to avoid nutritional imbalances and soy-related health issues.

If you are wondering what other human foods are safe for dogs, head over to our Human Food section to learn more.