Protein is great for dogs, and tofu is a source of plant-based protein. So, does that mean it’s perfectly fine to give tofu to our canine friends? Can dogs eat tofu?
Tofu is not toxic for dogs, so, technically, dogs can eat tofu. It is a good source of protein for humans and works well as a meat substitute.
However, if you are a vegetarian and you have your pet dogs with you, you can’t just feed them with tofu using recipes designed for human consumption.
Moreover, tofu isn’t a complete protein for dogs. So, it can’t be their primary source of essential amino acids. The protein content in tofu isn’t just enough to give them what they need to function well.
Your pooches are still better off eating vet-approved commercial dog foods or homemade pet food with animal-based protein such as chicken, beef, and fish.
If your dog only relies on tofu for his protein source, he may suffer the consequences of having an inadequate amount of protein in his body. Below are some of the signs that you should watch out for:
- Extreme fatigue
- Lack of appetite
- Weakened bones
- Stunted growth
- Significant weight loss
- Poor condition of his coat
- Behavioral changes
- Weakened immune system, and reduced ability to recuperate from an illness or injury
The key to feeding tofu to your dog is by giving it in moderation. At most, give your dog one or two servings of tofu per week.
So, if your dog snatches a small amount of tofu on top of your countertop, he should just be fine. However, since you can’t be sure how much he really consumed, it’s still best to observe for untoward reactions because some dogs may have soy allergies.
The most common symptom of food allergies in dogs is itchy skin. You should also watch out for ear canal infections characterized by head shaking and scratching at ears, vomiting, diarrhea, and obsessive licking leading to hair loss.
What is Tofu?
Tofu is basically condensed soy curd that is pressed into white cubes. It originated from China, and the process used in making it is similar to cheese making. Tofu is a highly nutrient-dense soy product that is great for human consumption.
It is packed with essential nutrients like protein, phosphorus, manganese, iron, calcium, zinc, fat, and a lot more. And every 100-gram serving of tofu only has 70 total calories.
Can Dogs Eat Tofu?
For dog owners, it’s fairly normal for their pups to sneak and steal a slice of chicken meat on their dinner table. Should this happen always? Of course, not!
We know that human foods are usually seasoned with spices and filled with ingredients that may be harmful to dogs. The same precautionary measures should be observed when you are giving soy proteins like tofu to your pup.
Also, a good rule of thumb that you should apply to any human food is to give it to your dog in moderation.
Chances are if you are always giving in to your dog’s desire to eat what you are eating, sooner or later he may shun away from the nutritionally balanced dog food. When this happens, it can cause him dietary and even health issues in the future.
Health Benefits of Tofu for Dogs
Tofu is not toxic to dogs, and it also offers several health benefits. Hence, we won’t be surprised if you may be encouraged to give your dog tofu treats even just once or twice a week.
Below are some of the benefits of feeding soy milk or other soy products to dogs:
Good Source of Protein and Helpful for Dogs With Food Allergies
Soy products like tofu are heaven-sent for those who can’t benefit from the high protein content of meats. Some people are allergic to some (if not all) animal proteins, while some have limited choices due to religious and cultural beliefs. Soybeans and other soy products are also popular meat substitutes for vegetarians.
The same is true for dogs. In certain cases, dogs may develop allergies to canned wet foods and the processed meats found in kibbles.
When this happens, tofu can be a great meat substitute for them so they can still meet their target protein intake in their diet. This is because tofu can pass through the digestive system without causing an allergic reaction.
While tofu may not be the best source of protein for our canine friends, we can’t deny that it still has high protein content. So, just in case your pet dog has allergies to certain meats, tofu is there to the rescue. As they say, it’s better to have an alternative than nothing at all.
Overweight and obese dogs can also benefit from mixing a bit of tofu in their diet. Doing so wouldn’t just ensure that they are getting enough nutrition, but it would also sate their appetite or make them feel fuller. This is still be attributed to the high protein content of tofu.
As a result, they won’t feel the need to consume a lot of food just to be satisfied. They can even skip their snack times without being hungry. And of course, this will eventually help them in achieving their ideal body weight.
Low in Fat and Carbohydrates
Having high protein content, yet low in fat and carbohydrate, tofu is undeniably a healthy treat to your pup, especially if he needs to lose some excess fats.
Rich in Fiber
The high fiber content of tofu also contributes to the satiating effect of protein. Hence, it can really help get positive results with your dog’s weight management goals. If your dog is overweight or obese, you can discuss the addition of tofu to his diet with your vet.
Good for Dogs With Liver Problems and Kidney Diseases
Removing meat proteins is just one of the dietary modifications prescribed by veterinarians for dogs with liver and kidney problems. This is because these sick dogs can better handle tofu and other plant-based proteins.
Tofu plays a significant role in the dietary management of dogs with liver issues such as congenital portosystemic shunts, as well as those with renal diseases.
Good for Dogs With Bladder Stones
Bladder stones are somehow related to the problems in the kidneys. Dogs that are prone to developing bladder stones need protein sources with low purine content.
And according to research, tofu and other soybean-derived foods have lower purines than animal proteins.
Helpful for Dogs With Digestive Issues
Dogs that are having issues or difficulties in digesting animal-based proteins can do well with hydrolyzed soy protein such as tofu.
Is Tofu Bad for Dogs?
Depending on the preparation, tofu can also be harmful to dogs. In some instances, tofu can be highly processed so it will taste more like meat and be more palatable.
Tofu that is prepared this way should not be served to dogs because it most likely contains ingredients that can be toxic for them.
While tofu is a nutrient-dense food for people, we cannot say the same thing for our dogs. Some studies claim that dogs cannot efficiently absorb all of these nutrients the way people do. Hence, they can’t take full advantage of all the benefits of tofu.
So, if you are thinking of relying solely on tofu for your pup’s protein intake (which is also unlikely), then, you may be setting your pooch for trouble in the future.
Also, if you are giving too much tofu to your dogs, below are potential health issues that they may run into:
We’ve established that tofu can be a good alternative for dogs that are allergic to animal proteins, but there are also canines with allergies to tofu.
Below are signs that your dog is allergic to soybeans and other soy-derived foods:
- Itchiness, gastrointestinal issues, chewing at feet, itchy ears, obsessive licking leading to hair loss, recurrent pyoderma, vomiting, and diarrhea
Bloat and gas are two of the common stomach issues that dog experience when they eat too much tofu. Bloat is a dangerous condition where the stomach is distended and even rotated.
Signs that you have to watch out for are bloated abdomen, vomiting, drooling, pale nose or mouth, and some dogs may even have difficulty breathing.
Seek professional help right away if you are suspecting that your dog is suffering from bloat.
When consumed in moderation, tofu is perfectly safe and helpful for dogs. However, when your pup eats too much soy, it can mess up with his hormones causing hormonal imbalance.
This is because soybeans contain phytoestrogens, which are plant-based compounds that mimic the effect of estrogen in the body.
Logically speaking, when a dog consumes a lot of tofu or soy products, then, he is also introducing significant amounts of phytoestrogens in his system. As a result, the hormonal imbalance may cause skin issues, poor coat quality, and even thyroid problems.
Tofu or other soy-derived foods are not essential for a dog’s health. It is not a complete protein for our canine buddies, and it also carries some risks as mentioned above.
So, unless, your dog doesn’t have enough options, it’s better to stay away from tofu or if not, then, just consider it as a treat to your dog.
However, if your pooch is faced with few choices for his protein sources, then, that is the time when you can discuss its addition to your dog’s diet with your veterinarian.
Your vet may also recommend other meat alternatives other than tofu, so, your dog won’t suffer the side effects of too much soy in his system.
Enjoy some diy tofu incorporated dog recipes below.
Vegan Dog Food Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups Tofu
- 1 cup Rice cooked
- 1 cup Black eyed peas* cooked
- 1 tsp Sunflower oil
- 4 tsps Azestfor Vitamins optional
- Place dried peas in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove pot from heat and allow to soak for 60 minutes.
- Drain soaking water, rinse peas, cover with fresh, cold water for boiling. Place pot back on the stove, cover and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer, tilting the lid slightly to allow steam to escape. Cook for up to an hour, or until tender. Set aside to cool.
- If you have an Instant Pot, you can cook your black-eyed peas in 30 minutes without doing a pre-soak, and save yourself a ton of time!
- Simply rinse 1 cup of black-eyed peas in water, pour them into your Instant Pot and cover with 3 fresh cups of water. Cover with lid and cook for 30 minutes on high pressure cook, with a 10-15 minute natural release.
- If your dog tends to be gassy naturally, you may want to soak your dried beans overnight in water, or for about an hour prior to the Instant Pot step to aid digestion and keep your house smelling fresh!
- While your black eye peas are soaking or boiling, place rice in a saucepan with double the amount of water. Bring to a boil.
- Then turn the heat all the way down and cover the pan tightly with a lid. Cook on the lowest heat possible for 10-15 minutes without uncovering the pan. Use a fork to fluff up the cooked rice. Set aside to cool.
- Tofu does not need to be cooked. It actually can be eaten raw. While rice is cooking, drain tofu from its package, and chop into bite sized pieces.
- Sunflower oil is added as a source of linoleic acid to support a strong immune system and promote a healthy coat and skin. If you would like a substitute oil you can add Wheat germ, Walnut or Corn oil in the ratio of 1.2 per 1 teaspoon of sunflower oil.
- When the tofu, rice and black eyed peas are cool to touch, add Azestfor vitamin mix for homemade dog food to make your pet’s meal nutritionally balanced. Combine all ingredients and serve.
Doggy Veggie Casserole
- 2 lbs Chicken cut up
- 2 cups Quinoa
- 2 tbsp Canola oil
- 1 1/16 tsp Kelp ( about a pinch)
- 1 pack Tofu
- 2 tsp Bone meal powder
- 4 oz Carrots (125g) chopped
- 4 oz Celery (125g) chopped
- 2 tbsp Parsley chopped
- Place chicken into a large stockpot.
- Pour hot water until the chicken is covered, bring to a boil.
- Add the carrots, kelp, parsley, and celery into the stock pot and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer for approximately 2 ½ hours until the chicken is tender.
- Remove the chicken from the liquid and place it into a separate pan until needed. You'll want to keep the liquid (broth) in a separate container.
- In a skillet cook tofu for 4 minutes, until firm. Set aside and slice/mash when cooled down.
- Take the quinoa and place it into a fine mesh strainer. Hold the quinoa under cold running water rinsing until the water runs clear, drain well.
- Pour 3 cups of the chicken broth into a saucepan and add the rinsed quinoa and canola oil. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 12 to 15 minutes until the quinoa is tender.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork.
- Cut up the chicken to the size you prefer. Larger pieces for large dogs, smaller pieces for small dogs.
- Sprinkle the bone powder over the quinoa mixture and add the tofu.
- Add the remaining water from the broth into the quinoa mixture and stir.
- Let this sit for about 5-10 minutes until room temperature and serve to your dog.
- 1 1/2 cup Chicken meat, boiled shredded
- 1/2 cup Natural peanut butter unsalted
- 1/4 cup Low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Water
- 1 pack (14 oz) Extra firm tofu, drained on a towel and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 cups Roughly chopped cabbage
- 1 Small head of broccoli, cut into florets
- Peanut butter
- In a large skillet or wok, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the tofu, and let it fry for a few minutes on each side, about 10-12 minutes total.
- When the tofu has gotten crispy remove from pan and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.
- In the same skillet add the cabbage and broccoli, and sauté until the vegetables are soft and tender, about 8 minutes.
- Heat peanut butter and add a bit of water to make it less sticky in consistency. Set aside.
- Turn the heat down to medium, add chicken meat & tofu to the skillet and add the peanut butter sauce. Toss to coat and allow to cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Serve over steamed rice, or simply as-is.
Is tofu harmful to dogs?
Tofu isn't toxic, but soy is not a complete protein for dogs. If your dog eats tofu, he may experience a mild case of gas or a more severe case of bloat. Also, soy is a common food allergy among dogs, so be sure to monitor your dog if he eats tofu.
Is soy toxic to dogs?
Soy is also safe and is actually found in many pet foods as a protein source. Soy, however, is one of the top food allergens in dogs. So soy milk should be avoided when the dog has food allergies. The biggest concern for feeding soy or almond milk is the extra calories.
Is soybean OK for dogs?
Soybean products are good protein sources for both adult and growing dogs, provided they are heat treated before diet extrusion.
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.
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