If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, or simply prefer not to eat meat, you may enjoy incorporating tofu into your meals. Tofu is a gluten-free, low-calorie food made with soybean curds. It’s a popular choice of protein for those who don’t eat meat.
There are a range of benefits to eating tofu, but there are also risks to be aware of. If you enjoy tofu, you may be wondering whether you can share this food with your pup.
Can you share your tofu with your furry canine BFF?
This comprehensive guide breaks down the benefits and risks of giving your pup tofu in moderation, and can help you decide whether to give your pup this treat.
Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Tofu
Can dogs eat tofu? The answer is yes, dogs can eat tofu.
Whether or not tofu is the best protein option for your pup is a bit more complicated. There are a few benefits associated with feeding your pup tofu to consider.
Let’s take a look at the health benefits of tofu for your dog below.
One of the most significant benefits of feeding your dog tofu is that it’s an excellent alternative to meat-based protein.
Tofu is completely plant-based and high protein. It’s made with soybean milk that’s turned into curds, and then turned into the tofu cubes you’re familiar with.
Aren’t dogs supposed to eat meat? The answer is yes and no. Meat is excellent for dogs. If your pup isn’t predisposed to any health conditions or concerns, it’s safe to feed your dog a range of meats, organs, and animal products.
However, there are some cases where your pup may not be able to eat meat. For instance, if they have severe liver disease, tofu is a liver-friendly option. This is because the liver can often process and handle soy better than animal-based protein.
Tofu is also an excellent alternative for dogs with urate bladder stones or kidney stones. Some animal-based proteins contain large amounts of purines. For instance, chicken, beef, and other types of meat contain more purines than tofu.
While chicken and beef are safe for most dogs, tofu is a great, low-purine alternative for dogs prone to bladder stones.
Lastly, tofu is a great protein for dogs allergic to beef, chicken, and other animal-based proteins. Chicken is one of the most common dog food allergies. However, it’s important to note that soy is another common dog food allergy.
Research demonstrates that soy contains isoflavones that may help lower cholesterol levels and support cardiovascular health. It can also help support kidney function.
Soy also contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and folate.
Risks of Feeding Your Dog Tofu
While there are some benefits associated with giving your dog tofu, there are also some risks to be aware of.
Soy is chemically processed and texturized, meaning it can be difficult for your furry friend to digest. This is especially true in puppies, and can lead to gassiness or gastrointestinal discomfort.
Feeding your dog tofu may also lead to nutritional imbalances if you overfeed this ingredient to your dog.
Soy in Dog Food
Many dog parents choose soy-based dog food as an alternative to animal-based proteins. While it seems like an excellent alternative that can offer some health benefits, it’s important to understand that there are some risks of including soy in your dog’s diet.
Soy in dog food is often a hazardous ingredient to find. Here’s what you need to know.
First, soy is a common food allergy in dogs. It can lead to itchiness (especially itchy ears), gastrointestinal distress, and a negative response from your dog’s immune system. Soy is also associated with various risks and may not be the best protein to give your pup.
Eating too much soy can also lead to gastrointestinal discomfort and be the culprit for gassiness, canine bloat, and poor appetite in dogs, and may even lead to extreme weight loss. In addition, pregnant dogs or dogs who are nursing should avoid any tofu or soy in their diet due to the potential for hormonal imbalances, specifically estrogen.
At Sundays, all of our food is soy-free. While soy can benefit some dogs with certain health conditions, there are other ways to choose the perfect proteins to keep your dog healthy. By keeping soy out of your dog’s food, you’re doing them a favor.
Alternatives to Soy Products
When it comes to tofu, soy milk, and soy in general, it can be good to avoid this ingredient in dog food even if you live a vegan lifestyle. Many dog food brands will pack kibble with filler ingredients including soy, as well as corn, wheat, gluten-based grains, synthetic ingredients, and additives.
Filler ingredients are ingredients with inadequate protein and little to no nutritional value designed to make your dog feel full. In other words, these help your dog eat more empty calories and carbohydrates with fewer nutrients.
Nutrients are essential for a healthy dog diet. Instead of soy and filler products, look for gluten-free whole grains, like oats or quinoa, and high-quality proteins like beef.
One of the most common dog food allergies is chicken, so many dog parents assume soy is the best alternative to this ingredient. However, beef is a better option to include in your dog’s food considering chicken is another common food allergy in dogs.
Beef is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals like iron, calcium, phosphorus, folate, copper, and riboflavin. Here at Sundays, we use USDA-grade beef, beef heart, beef liver, and beef bone to give your dog a range of nutrients and protein.
If your dog is allergic to chicken, consider giving them a diet rich in beef protein over soy-based protein like tofu, which could be harmful to health.
Other Plant Protein
When it comes to protein, meat and tofu aren’t the only way to include this macronutrient in your dog’s diet. Lentils, peas, chickpeas, and other vegetables are surprising sources of protein to help your furry BFF thrive.
Things To Know If You Do Feed Your Dog Tofu
There are many reasons to consider feeding your dog soy alternatives and soy-free dog food. However, if you choose to feed your dog soy, there are a few things you should know to do so safely.
First, find organic, minimally processed tofu. Low-quality soybean tofu can cause more harm than good for your dog.
It’s also important not to feed your dog too much tofu or soy. If you’re using tofu as a source of protein, be sure to feed them appropriate portions. Sprinkle some tofu crumbles on top of their kibble, or offer it as a treat between feedings.
Your dog needs a wide range of nutrients in a balanced diet, like whole fruits, vegetables, fiber, antioxidants, lean proteins, and herbs.
Here at Sundays, we carefully formulate our dog food formula with all-natural ingredients. Our food is completely soy-free but rich in nutrients that support a balanced and varied diet for your furry BFF.
It’s also critical to avoid extra seasoning when preparing tofu at home. If you want to slip your dog some tofu from your plate, it shouldn’t contain any extra salt, oil, butter, garlic, onion, or seasonings.
Excessive sodium can be harmful to your dog, and they don’t need extra butter or oil. In addition, some seasonings like garlic and onion can be toxic for dogs and lead to serious conditions and health concerns.
It’s important to start in small quantities whenever you introduce a new food to your dog. Just like humans, dogs can have a food allergy that you likely won’t find out about until they have a reaction.
Be careful to monitor your dog’s behavior closely after giving them tofu for the first time. If you notice any excessive itching, excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, extreme fatigue, difficulty breathing, or other symptoms or behavioral changes after giving your dog tofu, stop and see your vet right away. They can perform tests to see if your dog has an allergy and can provide treatment to address symptoms.
Better Days With Sundays
Your dog needs protein to thrive. Protein contains essential amino acids that your pup’s body can’t make on its own. Your dog relies on dietary sources of protein to give them these building blocks and generate energy.
However, many dog parents like to consider what a meatless diet would look like for their pup. From tofu to plant-based proteins, some dog parents prefer to go without any meat. Some plant sources of protein are excellent, but when it comes to soy, it’s best to avoid this ingredient in your dog’s diet.
For an idea of what ingredients you should be including, take a look at our carefully formulated, vet-approved dog food here!