Tofu is one of those dishes that spark a lot of debate. Some people can’t rave enough about the health benefits, while others are focused on the genetically-modified aspect, saying tofu should be avoided at all costs.
With all these altercations, you might be wondering whether you should give tofu to your dog or not. Can dogs eat tofu? Is tofu healthy for dogs? Let’s unlock the answer to this question in the article below:
What is Tofu?
Tofu is made from curdling and squeezing soymilk into solid white blocks, just like you do cheese.
Rumor has it that it was discovered 2,000 years ago by a Chinese cook who accidentally mixed fresh soymilk with nigari. Nigari is the liquid that’s left over after drawing out salt from seawater. It’s a mineral-rich coagulant that helps tofu to retain its iconic shape and texture.
However, some people resist tofu because most soybeans are grown in the US and a large proportion of them are genetically modified (GMO). Although there are many controversies around GMOs, research has not found them to be detrimental to human health so far.
However, if you’re an anti-GMO fanatic, you can simply go for organic tofu brands.
Can dogs eat tofu?
Yes! Dogs can eat tofu. GMO or not, tofu is considered safe for dog consumption. It’s a great source of protein and contains all the amino acids your dog needs.
However, tofu also has a high concentration of estrogen and is thus not recommended for regular feeding. Your dog should eat tofu in moderation.
Below are the benefits and potential risks of giving tofu to your dog.
Benefits of Tofu to Dogs
Tofu isn’t toxic for dogs. In any case, feeding it to your dog can improve your pets’ health in many ways. Some of the benefits gained from dogs eating tofu include:
Good source of protein
Tofu is a good meat supplement because of its high protein content. It comprises more than 8 grams of the pure form of plant protein per 100-gram serving. These necessary amino acids are essential for strong dog muscles and ensuring healthy growth of pups.
Low in fats and starch
Dog food shouldn’t be high in carbohydrates and fat, as this can lead to obesity in pets. To prevent this, you should feed your dog with healthy protein-based foods, and this comprises a small piece of tofu.
Rich in minerals
Minerals play a vital role in maintaining a healthy coat, skin, and bones. Tofu contains iron that’s essential for the formation of red blood cells and zinc for maintaining a healthy body defense system. Other minerals include magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and selenium.
Healthy alternative for dogs with food allergies
A significant number of dogs are allergic to certain types of dog food brands and especially the processed meat proteins that are found in kibble. However, tofu is an excellent alternative to these ingredients and can go through your dog’s digestive system without causing any allergic reaction.
Besides, if your dog is allergic to soy products, you can buy hypoallergenic tofu that contains hydrolyzed soy protein.
Potential Side Effects of Tofu for Dogs
While there are numerous benefits to adding tofu to your dog’s diet, there are also risks. Here are the potential health risks of tofu for dogs:
Causes hormonal imbalances
Tofu comprises phytoestrogens (a group of proteins that serve as estrogen activators). they affect your dog’s overall health by interrupting the innate production of estrogen.
Estrogen imbalance affects thyroid function, adrenal performance, and the quality of the skin and fur. You’ll also observe changes in behavior because of the hormonal imbalance.
Similar to other plant-based foods, tofu has traces of anti-nutrients found in soybeans. It has phytate anti-nutrients and trypsin inhibitors that lessen absorption of minerals like zinc, calcium, and iron.
Nevertheless, the quantities of these anti-nutrients are considerably low to cause any serious damage.
Soymilk can cause allergic reactions
Soymilk is the main ingredient in tofu. However, many dogs are allergic to soymilk, which can lead to chronic diarrhea. Besides, tofu’s fluffy and chewy texture makes it hard for a dog to digest.
Can Dogs Eat Tofu? The takeaway
Tofu isn’t toxic for dogs. However, overfeeding your dog with tofu may end up causing a lack of proper nutrition your pooch really needs. So the bottom line is simple; give tofu to your dog as an occasional treat, but never let it live on tofu alone. Always consult your veterinarian before making any change in your dog’s diet.
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