For most of us, dogs are part of our family. Because of this, we like to share everything with them, especially the food we eat. However, some human foods are not safe for dogs. Today, we look at whether dogs can have Tofu or not.
What is Tofu?
Also known as bean curd, Tofu is a popular Asian dish that was first prepared about 2,000 years ago. It is made by pressing condensed soy milk into blocks.
Tofu is a great vegan meal with lots of calcium, phosphorus, and selenium and is associated with very low calories and a reduced risk of heart diseases.
Most vegans use Tofu as a meat substitute. Back to dogs, they love meat; everyone knows that. But, can they eat Tofu since it is not a meat protein?
Is Tofu Safe For Dogs?
According to nutritional vets, Tofu is a safe meal or treat for your furry friend. It is incredibly beneficial for weight management and metabolic disease management.
Tofu is also a good source of plant-based protein for your dog and can be consumed by those with digestive issues.
Vets recommend Tofu as an essential dish for a dog’s hypoallergenic diet to treat food allergies.
Nutritional Benefits of Tofu to Dogs
High in Fiber
Fiber-rich foods can make your dog feel fuller faster, leading to a lower food intake. This can help overweight or obese dogs reduce a few pounds. If your dog is on a weight management plan, you should look into soy as it can be an excellent addition to their diet.
Helps with Severe Liver Disease
Compared to most proteins consumed by dogs, the plant-based protein that comes from Tofu is more liver-friendly. When Tofu is given to dogs battling severe liver disease, their bodies can handle it better, making the dog not miss out on the required daily protein intake.
Helps Dogs with Bladder Stones
Tofu and many other soy-based foods are beneficial to pups vulnerable to the formation of urate stones. English bulldogs are an example of dog breeds with these health issues.
To prevent the bladder stones from reoccurring in your canine, vets put the dog on a low purine diet. Tofu has lower purine levels than meat-based protein and has a high nutritional value, making it one of the best ways to control bladder stones.
Helps with Allergies
The most popular opinion on soy-based products is that they may worsen food allergy symptoms. This is not true. Hydrolyzed soy molecules are smaller than ordinary protein molecules, making them able to enter a dog’s digestive system without triggering an allergic reaction.
When Is Tofu Bad?
Tofu is not a complete protein source for dogs. The amount of protein provided by Tofu is insufficient to meet your dog’s nutritional needs and calories.
Letting your dog consume lots of Tofu can lead to flatulence. Hypersensitivity to Tofu by a dog, though rare, can be an issue. If your canine has soy allergies, feeding them Tofu can lead to an allergy attack.
When introducing Tofu to your dog for the first time, it is best to do it in moderation while keeping an eye out for any adverse reactions. In case of any, it will be best to reach out to your vet immediately.
Look out for problems like digestive upsets, allergic reactions, or other symptoms highlighting an adverse reaction to the Tofu. It is best to avoid Tofu and other soy-based foods if you have a pregnant or lactating dog. You should also use the food with caution for dogs with kidney and thyroid conditions.
Is Tofu a Good Main Protein Source For Dogs?
As much as Tofu has many health benefits for your dog, you cannot use it to substitute animal protein. Dogs need both plant and animal protein for survival and to thrive. If your dog is on a diet because of health issues, consult with a vet for nutritional guidance.
Your vet can guide you on how to prepare homemade pet foods that give your dog better nutritional benefits. Your dog’s diet should ensure adequate calories and essential nutrients.
Can Tofu Cause Hormonal Imbalance in Dogs?
Tofu contains a high concentration of isoflavones phytoestrogens which is similar to estrogen in humans, although it has weaker effects. More research is necessary to determine whether phytoestrogen consumption can cause a hormonal imbalance. This is why it is important to be moderate when feeding your dog tofu.
How to Prepare Tofu for Your Dog
Although you want to be careful when feeding Tofu to your pup, you don’t have to panic whenever they eat it. You can follow a few safety measures to ensure your dog doesn’t react violently to it.
The first thing you need to do is avoid using any seasoning, spices, artificial flavors, and sauces. These condiments make food sweet for us but not so for dogs. They are actually toxic, a good example being onions which contain, N-propyl disulfide, a compound that can harm your dog. It breaks down the red blood cells, which leads to anemia.
The effects of using onions in dog food are not felt immediately, but you still shouldn’t risk it.
Other ingredients that can harm your dog include avocadoes, yeast dough, anything containing caffeine, garlic, and so much more.
The best way to give Tofu to your dog is by serving it straight. Strain the Tofu and press it for around 15 minutes. Cut it into slices or cubes. Pan fry it, giving each side enough time to turn golden brown.
You should then control the amount of Tofu your dog eats. Feed them at most two servings a week. Moreover, ensure your dog gets meat in their diet.
If you have an ethical opposition to eating meat, even for your dog, you will have to do thorough research. Find healthy substitutes for meat that meet all their nutritional needs. Please don’t force your dog to eat foods they don’t like; find a middle ground for the both of you.
Other Vegetarian Substitutes
There are a few vegetarian options that will boost your dog’s diet. This can help you ensure they get adequate nutrients and stay healthy. Some of these foods include:
- Wheat. It is a more affordable way to boost your dog’s diet and is full of fiber.
- Pumpkin puree. Add a little cooked pumpkin to your dog’s food. This helps with diarrhea or constipation and adds flavor to the food.
- Blueberries. They contain antioxidants and vitamins, which prevent cancer, among other illnesses.
- Cashews. They are rich in fat content and protein. They also contain essential vitamins and minerals.
- Carrots. Whether raw or cooked, they are a great supply of nutrients. Also, your dog will enjoy their natural sugary taste.
Feeding your dog tofu at least once a week is okay, but make sure it is spice free. You can speak to your vet to find the appropriate amount of servings based on your dog’s age, weight and health condition.
Whatever you do, your dog’s health is very important – don’t feed your furry friend anything that can jeopardize it.