There are a number of food products that dogs should not eat, or at least avoid eating regularly. Many foods just do not agree with a dog’s digestive system, and many can be toxic!
In this article, we’ll look into whether you can feed your dog Tofu and other soy products or not.
And, should you worry if you find out that they’ve had some?
Well, the answer to this question isn’t so straightforward. Tofu isn’t toxic to dogs, which is good news if your dog just sneakily ate a full serving of it that you accidentally left out.
Yet Tofu isn’t a complete protein for dogs. Because of this, it can at worst cause severe gout. Or some of the mildest symptoms can be that your dog experiences gas.
On top of this…
Many dogs can have soy allergies, so is it worth risking finding that out by feeding it to them?
We’ll discuss this point in detail later…
So dogs can definitely become bloated and can experience the harsh effects of gout from eating too much Tofu.
Some signs of this can be noticed in your dog if they have a bloated abdomen, difficulty breathing, vomiting, drooling heavily, and possibly a pale nose or mouth.
If you notice any of these symptoms after your dog has eaten Tofu, you should keep a close eye on them. If their symptoms do develop drastically, it might be a good idea to call a vet to be on the safe side.
There are other issues to consider…
Recent Findings About Soy
For those who don’t know, Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the curds into blocks. It’s considered a great source of plant-based protein for non-meat eaters as it provides quite a large amount of protein, but it’s low in calories.
One thing we must mention is that approximately 90% of soy produced in America is genetically modified (GMO) – this is, according to the US Department of Agriculture. As well, US soybeans are one of the US’s largest growing crops too!
What implications could this have?
Well, in recent times, soy has become a major part of the pet food and livestock feed industries. It’s because soy is a very affordable and high protein crop. It was and still is thought of by some as a very healthy option for dogs and other animals.
But, the problem is…
Pesticides are used to cover GMO soy and do an excellent job of killing everything but the soy. This, however, means that soy can just absorb all those nasty chemicals. So if it’s in the soy, it will surely go into your dog too.
Therefore, if you are going to feed your dog Tofu or other soy products, it’s a good idea to check where the soy was sourced from. Organically grown or non-GMO forms, for example, should not present you with this problem.
There’s the idea that soy is an endocrine disruptor, and this is something that has been said to mess with your thyroid function.
Basically, it is argued that excessive soy consumption can develop too much estrogen and a hormone imbalance. This means additional health issues for your pet could occur, including cancers and thyroid issues.
Plus, not only could soy have adverse effects on your dog, but also yourself too – if you eat it regularly.
There is a list of other complaints that seem to be almost endless with soy products these days, on top of what we’ve already mentioned.
These can include:
- Soy being high in goitrogens
- Soy containing trypsin inhibitors
- Soy contains phytic acid
- Soy has high levels of manganese
- Soy has high levels of aluminum
- Compounds in soy resemble estrogen
- Soy is antigenic
The list goes on. We’re not trying to scare you here; it’s just what’s going on in the world of soy at the moment.
You should read the up-to-date information about the science of this, as it has been debated quite a lot. We’re just pointing these things out.
So with all this in mind…
Types of Tofu
If your dog doesn’t seem to react to Tofu now and again, then it might be worth considering which type could be best suited for them.
There are actually seven main types of Tofu you can eat, and all of them are quite different in their texture and consistency.
Are some better than others if you are going to feed it to them?
The first type is Silken Tofu, which has minimal processing. This could be seen as a positive in terms of feeding it to your pet. However, given it’s very soft and delicate consistency, it might not come out of the other end so well (if you know what we mean).
Then there’s Medium Tofu, which has a firmer texture. Essentially more processing occurs, and the soy is more sufficiently curdled than the Silken version.
Your dog might prefer Firm Tofu, as it has a closer texture profile to meat than the others we’ve looked at. The only issue here is that this type can be flavored in different ways, and you don’t know how your fluffy friend’s digestive system might react to it.
Furthermore, there are Tofu Skins, Fermented Tofu, Shredded Tofu, and Aburaage Tofu.
Tofu Skins aren’t really what you would consider as Tofu because they are made through a different process. Fermented Tofu might be too strong in flavor for most dogs. Shredded Tofu is like noodles but considered tastier by many.
Finally, Aburaage Tofu is thinly sliced and fried up so that it puffs out. Then fillings can be added.
In all seriousness, though, if you were to give your dog a little Tofu from time to time, we’d recommend an organic Medium or Firm Tofu, with as little processing and additives as possible.
Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
In some circumstances, soy in a different form could be beneficial for dogs.
Hydrolyzed soy protein for dogs can be used to actually help dogs with digestive issues. As well it could be helpful to put them on a hydrolyzed soy dog food diet to find out any allergies that you may suspect they have.
Additionally, this form of soy protein is said to be beneficial in helping overweight dogs lose weight. One of the reasons why it works so well is the high fiber content usually in hydrolyzed soy dog food. The theory is, the high fiber can make your dog feel full after meals and so they won’t want to eat so much.
Soy Allergies In Dogs
There are several different ways when soy allergies become apparent in dogs. It can be stomach problems right through to hives, and even anaphylaxis can occur – a serious allergic reaction that can result in death.
Signs of anaphylaxis, according to vcahospitals.com, can include “…itching, red skin swellings called wheals or hives, a swollen face or muzzle, excessive salivation or drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. In systemic anaphylaxis, the dog will have difficulty breathing and may be cyanotic (have a bluish color to the tongue and gums).”
If you think your pet is suffering in any of these types of ways, seriously think about seeing a vet as soon as possible.
Stomach issues and licking…
Whether it’s gout, vomiting, diarrhea, or all three, it’s advised to stop feeding your dog straight away. Then, if symptoms do persist after a 24-hour period, seek medical help.
Another sign of allergies is if your dog repeatedly licks itself. If this isn’t resolved soonish, your canine friend could develop this as a compulsive behavior – which will be hard to get rid of once it’s been established.
Ear infections and hair loss…
A soy allergy can reveal itself through ear infections and hair loss in your dog. However, it is important to establish if both of these reactions are happening because of the soy. Quite simply, remove it from their diet and see if any changes happen for the better.
How To Detect Soy In Dog Food?
Now, if you’re really not keen on giving your dog Tofu or other soy products, it’s good to know how soy can be labeled on cans and packages.
You might think they’d just tell you “Soy,” but sometimes they use different names.
Here are some of the variants of the name you can see on the can:
- Textured vegetable protein
- Vegetable broth
- Guar gum
- Tofu (of course)
- Natural flavoring
So watch out for some of these names.
And if you are getting super confused about whether the dog kibble or canned food has got soy in it, why not just delve into the meat section at the supermarket to get their next meal? In the end, they are carnivores, after all!
The Final Verdict
We’ve come to the end of this Tofu and soy related journey of discovery!
Can dogs eat Tofu? Yes, they can.
Is it a good idea to give them Tofu regularly? No.
It’s not toxic for them, but there’s a chance that they could be allergic to soy. Also, in excess, it can cause bloating and gout, which will be very uncomfortable for your dog.
As well, there is some debate about whether soy’s protein benefits outway other issues that have emerged about what it does to the thyroid function. Plus, if you are buying soy that’s been treated heavily with pesticides, it isn’t a nice thought feeding it to yourself or your pets.
Oh, and then there’s that long list of potential issues of soy that we certainly couldn’t cover in detail in this article!
On a sensible note, however…
We do recommend checking out hydrolyzed soy protein for dogs since it has been used to actually help dogs with digestive issues. And it could be a great tool for allergy detection.