We share a lot with our canines, from our homes, beds, and, more importantly, our food.
Hence it can be hard to resist the urge to give your dog a taste of your usual tofu serving, especially when your furry friend stares at you with those glowy innocent eyes.
If you have been wondering whether your dog can eat tofu, the benefits it will obtain from the food, and if there are any side effects, read on to get all your questions answered.
What is tofu?
Otherwise called bean curd, tofu is a food made from coagulated soy milk (a fluid obtained from soybeans) that is pressed and cut into small solid blocks.
Bean curd is a low-calorie dairy-free food full of proteins, making it an ideal meat alternative for vegan and vegetarian diets.
It also constitutes nine primary amino acids the body requires to function optimally.
Additionally, tofu contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, such as
- Vitamin A
Can dogs eat tofu?
You can give your dog tofu occasionally as a treat, but it shouldn’t make a regular appearance in his diet.
Tofu doesn’t contain sufficient amounts of protein to keep a dog’s body functioning as it should. Thus, it shouldn’t be a bulk component in a canine’s diet.
For your dog’s primary meals, veterinary doctors recommend the approved commercial dog foods as they contain adequate proteins for proper growth.
You should consult your vet doctor before introducing non-dedicated canine foods to your puppy’s meals.
If you want to treat your furry friend to a serving of nutritious tofu, then you should do so in moderation (about half a block once every two days).
Benefits of tofu for dogs
Even though experts advise against regularly feeding your dog tofu, if you feed the food in moderation, it can offer your dog plenty of benefits.
Below are some of the advantages of feeding tofu to dogs
Tofu has minimal calories
Tofu is low in fats, carbs, and, consequently, calories. Studies have shown mixing a tiny amount of tofu in an overweight mutts’ regular food can encourage weight loss.
Moreover, tofu contains a lot of fiber. Hence a dog will feel fuller after eating a small amount, which also helps with digestion.
Obese dogs need to lose weight since they stand the risk of developing.
- Tumors like lipomas (benign fatty tumors)
- Skin diseases
- Breathing difficulties
- Heart conditions
- Poor quality of life as the dog will be sickly
- Urinary bladder stones
- Anesthetic complications
- Diabetes mellitus
Helpful for canines on a low purine diet
Dog breeds like Yorkshire Terrier, Shih Tzu, and Bichon Frise commonly develop bladder stones.
Such canines require a low purine diet (with lesser uric acid) to reduce urinary problems.
Low protein commercial dog foods aim to meet this need, but tofu can be a better option if you don’t want to use processed foods.
Tofu contains soy proteins with lower purines (uric acid) than other animal proteins. Therefore, it’s a beneficial substitution for a canine’s diet.
Aids dogs with liver problems
The liver plays an essential role in a dog’s overall well-being. That’s because a dog’s liver helps with blood clotting, digestion, and removing toxins from a dog’s system.
Therefore, when a dog has liver issues, veterinary doctors usually recommend the canine eats lesser proteins.
Regular animal proteins contain many toxins, which will stress an already sickly liver, so replacing animal proteins with soy proteins can be beneficial.
Studies have also shown that a mutt’s liver can process soy proteins faster and more efficiently than regular animal proteins.
A healthy option for a dog with allergies
If your dog has acute or severe protein allergies, veterinary doctors recommend gradually incorporating hypoallergenic soy protein into your dog’s diet.
They do so because when a dog doesn’t get proteins in its system, it can lead to neurological issues, leaky gut, reduced immunity, etc.
Therefore, if your canine is allergic to animal proteins, your vet may advise adding small amounts of tofu to his meals.
Isoflavones are phytonutrients that affix themselves to estrogen receptors and trigger them to start functioning.
As a result, the isoflavones produce effects similar to the naturally occurring estrogen in a dog’s body.
Scientific studies have indicated that increased daily intake of isoflavones dramatically reduces the amount of fat accumulation in a mutt’s body.
Therefore, experts recommend tofu for neutered or spayed canines since they don’t produce the adequate estrogen hormone that their bodies require.
Side effects of tofu for dogs
Before you include tofu in your canine’s diet, you must understand some of the potential side effects it can pose.
Tofu has phytoestrogens, a form of protein that interferes with estrogen production.
Hence, regular tofu consumption may lead to hormonal imbalance by lowering or increasing estrogen production.
Indicators of estrogen imbalance include poor skin quality, lethargy, and behavioral changes.
Frequently adding tofu to your dog’s diet can cause chronic bloating, also called gastric dilation volvulus or gassiness.
If you observe your furry friend is visibly bloated after consuming tofu, you should rush him to a veterinary clinic.
Additionally, canines with soy hypersensitivity may experience vomiting and diarrhea. Hence you shouldn’t include the food in their diet.
Tofu has excessive amounts of silicate concentration, which makes it more likely for dogs that consume it often to develop kidney stones.
Being omnivores, dogs require a well-balanced diet of plant and meat-based food to be healthy.
Tofu doesn’t provide your canine with sufficient amounts of proteins for it to meet your dietary needs.
Inadequate consumption of proteins is highly detrimental and can result in
- Severe weight loss
- Stunted growth
- Reproductive issues
- A low immune system means more chances of suffering from diseases
- Behavioral changes
- Dull coat
- Weak bones and recurrent bone fractures
Tofu may contain pesticides
Chances are the soybeans used to make the tofu you are using could have been genetically modified (GMO)
This also means that the food contains some pesticides as it was sprayed while in the field.
Feeding your dog such kind of tofu can result in a host of health issues and even lead to cancer.
Therefore, it’s important that you only use organic tofu as it’s a healthier option.
Some dogs are highly allergic to soy which is tofu’s primary ingredient.
Consequently, consumption of tofu will cause allergic reactions in these dogs.
Signs to watch out for after feeding your dog tofu
If you are unsure whether your dog is allergic to tofu, feed him a tiny amount of the food, about 20grams, then observe him for any reactions such as
Ear infections can indicate allergic reactions to tofu about 48 or 72 hours after giving your dog tofu.
Your dog may start shaking his head and scratching the ears to ease the pain.
If your canine develops blepharitis, a health condition that causes eyelid inflammation, it’s a sign that the dog is sensitive to soy.
Diarrhea and vomiting
These are perhaps the surest ways to learn if your dog’s digestive system can’t handle soy.
Once you notice diarrhea, you should stop feeding tofu to your dog and seek immediate veterinary attention.
Hair loss from obsessive licking
Often dogs indicate allergic reactions by developing rashes, which cause intense itching, making the dog lick the area obsessively.
Intense continuous licking can lead to hair loss.
Severe pruritus refers to constant skin itching, which makes your canine lick, chew or scratch its hair.
You can notice a tiny rash on your mutt’s belly that intensifies when the dog attempts to scratch it. Severe pruritus can make your dog aggressive as it will be in a lot of pain.
Other Vegan foods you can feed your dog
Apart from tofu, there are other vegan foods you can offer your canine that pose little or no risk.
Let’s look at them below
Blueberries are a healthy snack, containing minimal calories and plenty of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Moreover, blueberries are tiny enough for large and small breeds; all you have to do is wash them and serve them.
Wheat ranks high among the most consumed foods by humans. It’s also a primary ingredient in many commercial dog foods due to its immense nutritional value.
For instance, wheat has dietary fiber, which is essential in keeping your dog’s digestive system healthy.
Wheat also has minerals, carbohydrates, and vitamins; hence it’s a nice addition to your dog’s regular food.
Pumpkin is not only full of nutrients, but experts also recommend it for dogs with constipation and diarrhea.
Additionally, pumpkin has lots of fiber that aids digestion and has fewer allergens than other foods.
You can use fresh pumpkin, but if it’s not readily available, you may go for the canned variety. However, it would help if you steered clear of the sugary types.
Carrots are a tasty and nutritious treat you can occasionally feed your furry friend.
Whether you offer them cooked or raw, these vegetables are full of potassium, dietary fiber, and other nutrients that will improve your dog’s well-being.
You can even use large carrots as chew toys to enhance your canine’s dental health.
Cashew nuts contain various vitamins like A, B, D, and E. These nuts also have essential nutrients such as zinc, phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, and calcium that aid your dog’s well-being.
Some dogs are allergic to cashew nuts; hence you should introduce them gradually while observing your dog’s reaction.
You can give your dog tofu in moderate amounts to avoid health issues.
Furthermore, observing your puppy’s overall behavior after eating tofu is important to spot early signs of allergic reactions.
Veterinary doctors recommend probiotic supplements such as Safe Guard in a dog’s diet to enhance nutrient absorption, lessen allergic reactions, and improve immunity.
Safe Guard is a leading probiotic made from premium ingredients that can boost your dog’s digestion and also help with detoxification.