Dog lovers know that owning a dog is a lifelong commitment. Our fur babies need more than hugs and affection but also tender loving care, including taking care of the food they eat. Nutrition in dogs just like in human plays an important role in their well-being. This article will discuss about one of the most popular source of protein in the world – Tofu. Now more and more dog food companies are adding tofu and other soy by products in dog food. Moreover, of course as a dog owner, we are a little bit concern. Are tofu safe for my dog? Piece of advice, read this article first before joining the bandwagon. Let us discuss about Tofu for dogs.
What is Tofu?
Tofu, known as bean curd, is made by coagulating soy milk and the curds (same as how cheese are made) into white blocks. It is a common ingredient in East and Southeast Asian cuisines. If you like, Chinese or any oriental restaurants, this is probably on one of the food you love. Tofu comes in different textures; it can be soft, firm or extra firm. It can also be used either in sweet or savory dishes. It is part of healthy’s eats because it is low in calories but high in protein. As for the benefits of eating tofu, it is a great source of vitamins, known to reduce the risk of cancer and a host of other diseases.
Can Dogs Eat Tofu? - The Answer is Both a Yes and a No!
Since eating tofu has lots of benefits for human, does this mean that tofu is safe for dogs? The answer is both a yes and a no. Although dogs can be vegan, you must remember that dogs are genetically designed to consume meat, and giving them tofu as full meat substitute is not an option. Tofu should only be given to dogs in moderation to prevent potential side effects.
The good side of tofu for dogs are it is nutrient dense, namely Manganese, Calcium, Selenium, Phosphorus, Copper, Magnesium, Iron and Zinc. Dog owners who are also vegans and vegetarians swear that their pet’s health improved when they gave them tofu.
The Pros of Eating Tofu
There are three potential health benefits when we give tofu to our beloved pets:-
- Tofu can be a substitute for dogs with allergies to certain food. Some commercially available dog food with processed meat proteins can cause food allergies in dogs. Tofu can replaced the protein content in their kibble with allergic reaction.
- Tofu is recommended for dogs with bladder stones. Dogs who are at high risk of developing bladders stones need a diet that is low in purines. Soy is a good source of diet with low purines and yes, tofu is from soy.
- Tofu is liver-friendly. Your vet agree that dogs who has liver issues must have significant dietary change to fix the issue. The first to go are the animal proteins. Moreover, as mentioned in this article, tofu is a good source of protein. The same goes for dogs with renal problems because tofu breaks down easily in the process.
The Cons of Eating Tofu by Dogs
Although there are many benefits we can get from Tofu, and again giving in moderation are the key words here, there are also potential side effects. These means that tofu cannot be a full source of protein for dogs because:
- It has inadequate full-structure protein; it lacks some amino acids that needed to maximize full growth potential. Your beloved canine will most likely have health issues due to inadequate proteins.
- Have you heard about gastric dilatation volvulus – simply put bloating in dogs? Excess consumption of soy can lead to bloating because it contains gas.
- Higher chance of developing kidney stones for dogs. There are high levels of silicate in soy that will contribute to the development of kidney stones.
- Tofu is made from soybeans and it contains phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) plus indigestible sugars that can lead to stomach upset and distress to your dogs.
- In addition, some sources of soybeans were exposed to pesticides and are genetically modified which can have harmful side effects.
- To conclude, given the pros and cons in feeding our dogs with Tofu, yes, you can give your beloved dogs tofu but only on occasion and not as protein substitute. We can harness the benefits of tofu and at the same time avoid the potential side effects.