Tofu is a complete vegan protein made from soybeans. It can also take on the flavor of different ingredients, making it an ideal addition to a variety of dishes for people. But can dogs have tofu?
Can Dogs Eat Tofu?
Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer for the AKC, advises that “tofu can be given in small or moderate amounts as an occasional snack.” Tofu is a heart-healthy food that can support kidney function and heart health. It also contains isoflavones, which can help to lower cholesterol.
“Dogs can eat tofu in moderation as it is not toxic to them, but it does not contain enough protein to fulfill their nutritional requirements,” explains Dr. Klein. As a result, you should not use tofu protein as a primary ingredient in your dog’s diet. “For its primary meals, feed your dog veterinarian-recommended commercial dog food, which contains sufficient protein for proper health,” advises Dr. Klein.
How to Feed Tofu to Your Dog
To share tofu with your dog, make sure that it has been cooked; it should have cooled and be prepared plain. Avoid sauces and seasonings with ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as onions and garlic.
Possible Risks of Feeding Your Dog Tofu
If your dog has a soy allergy or any kind of soy sensitivity, you should avoid feeding tofu to your dog. However, many pets also tolerate soy as an ingredient in their food without issues. For these dogs, a tofu snack can be harmless and tasty.
It’s also relevant to consider the potential hormonal impact of feeding tofu to your dog. Dr. Klein explains that soy contains phytoestrogens. He notes that studies show that if fed in large amounts, soy could affect a male dog’s hormone balance or a puppy’s hormone levels.
Eating large quantities of soy can lead to gastrointestinal upset and discomfort for dogs. Tofu is also high in silicate, which can result in dogs being more likely to develop kidney stones. In addition, Dr. Klein says, “be warned that many dogs may have difficulty processing tofu and will produce a lot of gas.” For some pets, this can present serious health concerns.
Dogs with a history of bloat (or breeds at a heightened risk of bloat) should avoid snacks that naturally produce excess gas like tofu. Bloat is a serious condition in which a dog’s stomach fills with air and the stomach flips, cutting off blood circulation; without immediate treatment, bloat can be fatal.