By Darlene Stott
Published: 02/16/2021, edited: 08/10/2021
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With many pet parents opting for a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, similar eating habits are sometimes passed on to the dog bowl.
Looking to top Rusty’s bowl with tofu? While tofu is a healthy addition to the human diet, there are reasons why you may want to have your dog skip this dish. Read on to learn more!
What is tofu?
Tofu is essentially condensed soy milk pressed into blocks. The soybeans that make up tofu are also processed into food products like soy sauce, tempeh, and soybean oil.
Tofu is a good vegan protein that is nutrient-dense (think calcium, selenium, and phosphorus). It’s low in calories and has touted benefits like reduced risk of heart disease in humans. But the question is, is tofu good for your pooch?
Can dogs eat tofu?
Dogs can eat tofu. It is not toxic to dogs but should not be the main protein source of their diet. Your dog will thrive on a vet-approved commercial food with meat sources of protein like chicken, beef, and fish.
Feeding your dog tofu only as a protein source leaves them lacking protein.
If your dog has inadequate protein, you’ll see the following signs:
Lack of appetite
Significant weight loss
Reduced ability to recover from injury and illness
You can give your canine sidekick a small serving of tofu now and then. Watch your pupster afterward for signs of intolerance just to be on the safe side. If you've tried your pooch with tofu a few times and they hesitate to eat it, they may be telling you that tofu does not agree with them.
If you are looking for meat alternatives as a protein source for your dog, try the following:
Plain Greek yogurt
Benefits of tofu for dogs:
Tofu is low in carbs and fat and high in protein: A dog carrying a few extra pounds may benefit from a bit of tofu mixed in with their food on occasion. Adding a bit of tofu will help sate the appetite (that is what protein does), potentially helping your dog lose weight, as begging for snacks won't occur. Tofu does not contain a lot of fats or carbs, capable of adding pounds.
Tofu is protein-packed: A 100 gram serving of tofu has 8 grams of protein. Protein is a building block to muscle strength and repair. Protein is essential for a healthy dog in that it helps the production of tendons, nails, cartilage, and more. Your dog’s system is also more adept at processing animal proteins rather than a lot of plant proteins.
Tofu may be good for dogs with liver disease: Dietary management for dogs with liver disease may be optimized with plant-based proteins. Dogs who have conditions such as congenital portosystemic shunts may do well on a diet with a soy-base.
Potential problems with feeding your dog tofu:
Tofu may increase the chance of bloat: Bloat is a dangerous condition where the stomach becomes distended and even rotated. A dog suspected to have bloat must be seen by a veterinarian right away. Some dogs will experience gas and bloating from soy.
Tofu may cause allergy symptoms: Typically, diarrhea after eating soy means an allergy. You could also see signs like constant licking, ear infection, inflammation of the eyes, and itchy skin.
Tofu may cause hormonal imbalance: It is thought that the phytoestrogens found in soy could bring about hormonal imbalance. A resulting poor coat quality, skin issues, and even thyroid problems could result.
Feeding your dog tofu is not a necessity for their health. The fact that it is not a food that provides a lot of benefits, and even has risks, suggests that there are plenty of good options out there instead of tofu. Before trying your dog on a new food or treat, it’s always a good idea to ask the vet for their opinion.