Can Dogs Eat Tofu? – Grow Your Pantry

Can Dogs Eat Tofu?

by Susan Grey on August 21, 2019
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Dogs can eat tofu as it is not toxic and therefore is safe for dogs. However, due to its high concentration of estrogen compounds, it is not recommended for regular feeding. Only give your dog tofu in moderation. 
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Is Tofu Healthy For Dogs?

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It depends. Tofu is a rich source of plant-based proteins and minerals such as manganese, calcium, iron, and zinc, however, it can also be harmful to dogs.
Tofu contains estrogen-like chemicals that can have some benefits for dogs. Especially those with specific medical conditions such as dietary sensitivities and allergies to other foods. Tofu also has a low-calorie count making it a suitable treat for dogs.
One way to limit the risk of adverse effects is by using hypoallergenic soy curd. This has hydrolyzed soy proteins which should not trigger an allergic reaction.

Benefits and Risks

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Benefits

1. Rich source of protein
Tofu has a high protein content that is useful for healthy cell growth. Tofu contains at least 8 grams of protein in every 100-gram serving. These essential amino acids can help maintain your dog's muscles while also ensuring healthy growth.
2. Low in fat and carbs
Dog treats should not contain a high level of carbs and fat as this might result in pet obesity. Obesity in dogs is mainly as a result of unhealthy eating habits, including high-calorie foods. To prevent this, it's recommended to feed your dog healthy protein-based foods; this could consist of a small bit of tofu.
3. Rich source of minerals
Minerals play a significant role in the growth of healthy bones, coat, and skin. Iron is required for red blood cells formation. Zinc, on the other hand, is essential for growth and maintenance of a healthy immune system. Tofu is also rich in manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and selenium.
4. Contains isoflavones
Isoflavones are natural phytoestrogens that can attach to estrogen receptors and activate them. As a result, they produce effects similar to that of estrogen hormone in a dog's body. Scientific studies carried out have proven that increased isoflavones intake daily can lead to weight loss in dogs by significantly increasing energy expenditure as well as the percentage of red body fat accumulation.
Consumption of tofu is therefore recommended especially for spayed or neutered dogs as they have low estrogen production.
5. A rich alternative source of plant-based proteins
There is a considerable number of dogs with dietary sensitivities and allergies. This makes it nearly impossible for such pets to digest some foods such as grains. Nuts have high-fat content, which is not great for dogs. This makes tofu a perfect alternative to these ingredients.
To avoid any allergic reactions to this soy product, you can look for hypoallergenic tofu, which has hydrolyzed soy protein. This is helpful for dogs as hydrolyzed protein is already broken down, meaning the immune system will not recognize it.
 

Risks

1. Leads to hormone imbalance
Tofu contains phytoestrogens which are a group of proteins that act as estrogen activators. Once consumed phytoestrogens affect the general health of your dog by interfering in the natural estrogen production.
This estrogen imbalance interferes with adrenal function, thyroid function, and skin/coat quality. You will also notice behavioral changes due to the hormone imbalance. 
2. Contains antinutrients
Just like many other plant foods tofu contains trace amounts of antinutrients found in the soybeans. Tofu contains trypsin inhibitors and phytates antinutrients, which reduce the absorption of minerals such as iron, zinc, and calcium. However, the amounts of these antinutrients are significantly reduced by the tofu production method.
3. Soy milk can trigger allergic reactions
Some dogs are allergic to soy milk, which is the crucial ingredient in tofu. As a result, the consumption of tofu will trigger allergic reactions in such dogs. This is exhibited by chronic diarrhea. The soft and chewy texture of tofu also makes it particularly hard for a dog to digest.
Signs to Look Out for After Feeding
To avoid any adverse effects, you should feed your dog a limited amount of tofu, preferably just a few cubes, no more than 20g, and observe the reaction of your pet. The main signs to look out for are:
  • Generalized, non-seasonal severe pruritus 
    This refers to severe itching of the skin; this makes your dog want to scratch, lick, or chew its skin and hair.  A rash is usually noticeable on the dog's belly and can intensify as your pet tries to scratch. Severe itching caused by allergic reactions is often corticoid resistant making it hard to deal with.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea 
    This is the surest way to find out if your pet's digestive system cannot handle tofu.  If your dog develops diarrhea and vomiting after eating tofu, then you should stop feeding it to them.
  • Ear canal infections
    Allergic reaction to soy may also be characterized by ear canal infections about 72 hours after your dog has consumed tofu. Head shaking and scratching at ears are the main symptoms that indicate the presence of ear canal infections.
  • Obsessive licking and hair loss
    Due to the severe pruritus, dogs usually result in the only way they know how to deal with a rash; by licking. Obsessive licking, in turn, often leads to noticeable hair loss.
  • Inflammation of the eyelids
    If your dog develops blepharitis a condition characterized by inflammation of the eyelids then its likely as a result of an allergic reaction to the tofu.

Vegetarian and Vegan Food Suitable For Dogs

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Apart from tofu, there are other vegetarian foods that you can feed your dogs. Dogs tend to have carnivore diets. However, there are vegetarian and vegan options available. Vegetarian dog food can provide health benefits, e.g., allergy immunity, better breath, and joint strength.
However, some vegan foods may wreak havoc on your dog's digestive system and their overall health, so it's important to approach such new diets cautiously.
Cashews
Cashews are widely consumed due to their exquisite taste and nutritional value. A 100g of cashews contain at least 30g of carbohydrates in the form of starch and sugars. The nut is also rich in fat with 43g and 18.22g of protein.
Cashews have a wide range of vitamins such as A, B, D, E and K. in terms of dietary minerals cashews contain calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. This aids in maintaining your dog's overall health.
Cashews, just like other nuts may cause an allergic reaction. So it's essential to start with a few nuts and observe how your dog handles them. Also, due to the high fat and carbohydrate content, cashews should not be fed to dogs on a daily basis. Otherwise, your dog can gain too much weight.
Wheat
Wheat is probably the most consumed grain by humans as well as dogs. It has been used as the primary ingredient in many processed dog foods and has quite an extensive nutritional value.
For starters, wheat contains a considerable percentage of dietary fiber, which plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy digestive system for your dog.  Wheat is also packed with carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. You can, therefore, feed your dog wheat products such as bread.
Blueberries
These make for a healthy snack thanks to the low-calorie count and numerous vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. This fruit contains less than 0.3g fat per 100g serving, making it the perfect snack. It is essential to ensure that your dog's treats don't account for more than 10% of its total diet.
Blueberries are small enough for both small and large bleeds to snack on and just like other fruits all you need to do is wash them and they are ready to be eaten.
Carrots
Carrots are an affordable and nutritious snack for your pups. Whether cooked or raw, these crunchy vegetables are packed with vitamin A, dietary fiber, and potassium, among other nutrients.
Frozen carrots are used to relieve teething discomfort for puppies. You can also give large carrots as edible chew toys to improve your dog's dental health.
Pumpkin
This fruit is not only healthy nutrition-wise but is also recommended for dealing with diarrhea and constipation among dogs. Pumpkins contain fiber and beta carotene, which are converted to vitamin A after digestion.
Fresh pumpkin is best recommended for dogs; if not available, you can also use canned pumpkin but avoid the sugary varieties. Pumpkin seeds have a high concentration of omega-three fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory effects.

Vegetarian and Vegan Dog Food Brands

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These brands offer various plant-based diets that are also supplemented with other nutrients to provide a balanced diet for your furry friends. Worried about the quality of the food? We will look into the brands that meet the nutritional standards that are set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials.

V-Dog

V-Dog is an American family-owned company that makes plant-based nutrition diets for dogs. The firm carefully sources ingredients to ensure that your dog becomes healthier, more energetic, and leaner. The kibbles are prepared using healthy whole foods such as lentils, brown rice, quinoa, and peas.
V-Dog meals also undergo intense scrutiny and analysis to eliminate allergic reactions, provide effective weight management, improve oral hygiene, and support healthy skin and coat.  This is achieved by eliminating corn, wheat, soy, and gluten from all their meals. If you have a small breed, the firm is offering mini bites kibbles as well.

Evolution Vegan Dog Food

Evolution offers 100% plant-based dog foods. From dry kibble to wet food and even treats, Evolution is all about bringing joy and variety to your dog's healthy snacks.
Their meals are further enhanced with supplements to help address your dog's individual needs. The diets are especially recommended for improving urinary function, gastrointestinal health, brain function, the immune system, and joints.
Evolution currently has a line up of vegan dog meals, including sweet potato treats, and cranberry meals. Other ingredients include oats, corn, soy, peas, and sunflower seeds.

Halo Pets

Halo vegan pets manufacture high quality nutritionally balanced diets that are great alternatives for sensitive dogs. The meals do not contain any meat, corn, wheat, or dairy products to avoid any allergic reactions.
Halo Garden of vegan includes dry vegan food as well as canned vegan dog food with the main ingredients being chicken peas, fruits, nourishing oils, and non-GMO vegetables. The firm also offers treats such as peanut and pumpkin biscuits, carrots and quinoa cookies, and sweet potato treats.

Natural Balance

Natural balance believes in a healthy vegan lifestyle. Therefore, all their meals contain natural ingredients with no artificial flavors, preservatives or colors. These meals contain all the essential nutrients just like in formulas with meat.
The primary ingredients include brown rice, oatmeal, and potatoes. All these are highly digestible and are rich in energy and other micronutrients such as vitamins. The meals are also enriched with proteins to provide a balanced diet.

FAQs

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Can dogs eat soy daily?
Yes, but only if your dog is entirely free from any allergic reactions as a result of eating soy.

How much soy can dogs eat?
Assuming that your dog's entire protein intake is from soy-based meals, then your dog should consume about 1 gram of proteins per pound of ideal body weight every day.

Can dogs eat tempeh?
Yes, dogs can eat tempeh, albeit under controlled amounts just like any other soy-based meal. Tempeh has lower amounts of isoflavones due to the fermentation process, making it slightly healthier for your dog.

Can dogs with liver diseases eat tofu?
Yes, tofu can be a substitute for meat proteins which are much harder on dogs with liver and kidney diseases.

 

 

Interested in learning more about tofu?
Check out these articles:
What Does Tofu Taste Like?
How Long Does Tofu Last?
Is Tofu Keto?
Can Tofu Be Eaten Raw?
Types of Tofu
Tofu Press
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