Can dogs eat tofu? Tofu is not the healthiest food for dogs. Tofu is beneficial for dogs with liver disease and rich in soy proteins, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, but it is believed to cause health issues, allergies, and hormonal imbalance.
To further understand why our answer is no, let us weigh the benefits and risks of tofu to canines.
3 Top Health Benefits of Tofu to Dogs
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.
Tofu also has high fiber content, which is good for weight loss. Feeding your dog tofu will make him eat less but feel full and sated.
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, cartilages, and tendons in canines.
Tofu works great as an additional protein source for dogs. It has 10 essential amino acids that consist of various proteins. In some cases, some dogs are allergic to animal proteins. Thus, tofu can be used as an alternative.
3. Potentially a Good Option for Dogs with Liver Disease
Animal proteins are commonly removed from the diets of canines suffering from liver disease. In this case, tofu can be a substitute for animal proteins as it will less likely aggravate their illness.
8 Common Health Concerns in Feeding Tofu to Dogs
Is tofu good for dogs since it offers lots of health benefits? Although this is the case, it is not wholly good for dogs, as tofu has many downsides too.
So let us look at the disadvantages of tofu in dogs and gauge if these are significant concerns. This will help dog owners come up with a conclusion and answer the question, “Can dogs eat tofu?”
1. Insufficient Amount of Protein and Nutrients
Although tofu offers a range of vitamins and minerals as well as proteins, these are deemed inadequate to support a dog’s daily bodily functions.
Tofu severely lacks nutrients that canines need, including vitamins A, B12, D, E, and zinc. Iron can be also found in tofu, but it is low to be beneficial for dogs.
Although tofu can be a protein substitute, it is not recommended. Due to the lack of essential nutrients, relying on it as a sole protein alternative can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiency.
It would be best to look for other sources of protein that can completely provide the nutritional needs of your dog.
2. Puts Dogs More at Risk of Canine Bloat
Canine bloat is a deadly illness that can take away 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 it causes 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 bloated stomach, excessive drooling, difficulty in eliminating and vomiting. If these clinical signs show up on your dog, bring him to the vet immediately.
3. Can Cause Stomach Upset
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.
4. May Cause Hormonal Imbalance
Feeding tofu to dogs places them in danger 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.
5. Can Trigger Allergic Reaction in Some Dogs
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 soybean. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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. But during tofu production, the levels of antinutrients are significantly reduced.
8. 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.
Organic and non-GMO types of tofu can be found in the market. However, this does not guarantee that they are free from harmful chemicals. It is important to note that most tofu makers get their resources from various growers.
Thus, determining the exact source is very difficult. For this reason, most types of tofu are likely sprayed with pesticides, including those labeled organic and non-GMO.
Can Dogs Have Tofu? The Bottom Line
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?
Seeing that the disadvantages outnumber the advantages, it is reasonable to conclude that tofu is not exactly safe for dogs.
Although some claim that dogs can eat tofu in small amounts, it is best not to take the risk because the results can be dire. Thus, pawrents should avoid incorporating it in their furry friends’ dog food.