Can Dogs Eat Tofu?
Is tofu a safe vegetarian snack for dogs?
If you’re eating pad thai with tofu for dinner and your pup’s begging for a bite, you might want to share some with your dog.
But can dogs eat tofu?
We spoke to Dr. Michelle Burch, a veterinarian with Paramount Pet Health, to find out what to know about feeding your dog tofu.
Can dogs eat tofu safely?
Tofu isn’t toxic to dogs, so your pup can have a bite every now and then.
It’s made of soy, which is used as a protein source in many hypoallergenic dog foods for pups who are allergic to certain meats. So if your dog has food allergies, you might end up feeding him dog food that has soy in it (like this prescription dog food from Purina).
“Tofu is a good source of protein and can be used with dogs who have digestive problems,” Dr. Burch told The Dodo.
Is tofu healthy for dogs?
There are some health benefits of tofu for dogs.
“Tofu is also a good source of fiber, which can aid in digestive health and weight loss,” Dr. Burch said. Foods with lots of fiber will make your dog feel full for longer, which can be helpful if your dog’s trying to lose weight.
If you want to give your pup some tofu, you can give him a little bit of plain, cooked tofu — just make sure it’s not cooked with any spices or seasoning.
Even though it’s healthy, you definitely shouldn’t give your dog tofu to replace meat unless it’s recommended by your vet for food allergies. Since it’s not a complete source of protein, it won’t give your dog all the nutrients and calories he needs, Dr. Burch said.
Potential risks of tofu
While tofu can be a healthy snack for dogs, there are some risks to feeding it to your dog.
If your dog eats too much tofu, he can get more gassy than usual — which is annoying for you, but it’s also a problem because it can lead to him developing bloat. Bloat is a life-threatening condition that happens when a dog’s stomach fills with gas and twists, blocking anything from entering or leaving the stomach. Symptoms of bloat include a swollen belly, retching, panting, pacing, drooling and pale gums. If you notice any of these symptoms in your pup after feeding him tofu (or any other food), take him to the vet ASAP.
You also shouldn’t feed tofu to pregnant or nursing dogs because the phytoestrogens in it can cause complications, Dr. Burch said. Phytoestrogens act like the hormone estrogen in the body, which can cause an imbalance of hormones.
Some dogs can also be allergic to soy, so you shouldn’t feed your dog tofu if you know he has a soy allergy. If you give your pup tofu and he gets an upset stomach, he might have a soy allergy you didn’t know about. So be sure to introduce tofu to him slowly, and if you notice any signs of illness, stop giving it to him and go to the vet. Some common symptoms of food allergies in dogs are itching, vomiting and diarrhea.
Tofu has health benefits when given to your dog in moderation, and if your pup has food allergies, there might even be soy in his hypoallergenic dog food as a protein. Just be sure to give him plain tofu, and don’t give him too much.
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