Maybe you’re a vegetarian who wants to share his delicious tofu with his pup and wonder if tofu is a good plant-based protein source for dogs. Or, maybe you’re a dog owner who just loves tofu and wants to give some to his dogs and want to know if dogs can eat tofu safely. So, you’re wondering whether tofu is good or bad for dogs. Then, you’re in the right place.
Is Tofu Good or Bad For Dogs?
Sadly, the short answer to that question is no! Tofu is not good for dogs even though you might think otherwise. Most dogs have issues with digesting soy products because they have soy sensitivities. Also, most of the soybeans cropped in the U.S.A. to make soy products are GMOs.
We believe this article will make you reconsider your and your dog’s relationship with tofu because of all the worrying reasons we’ll touch upon. But, first, let’s start with what tofu is and what it is actually made of.
What is Tofu?
As most of you probably know, tofu is made of soybeans and curds of the soymilk used in its production. It is very similar to cheese in that sense, and the only difference is soymilk is used in it rather than regular milk.
Then, it is pressed in the blocks, and softness of the tofu can be adjusted to either soft or firm, according to the preferences of the person or the company that makes them. Its neutral flavor is what makes tofu versatile and preferred by a lot of people.
The only ingredients used when making tofu are usually just soybeans, water, and a coagulant nigari or gypsum.
History of Tofu
Just like many other soy foods, tofu was found in was China. It was believed that a Chinese cook accidentally discovered it by adding nigari seaweed when he was cooking soymilk.
Tofu has come to the west by the healthy eating trend, and it managed to reach every household so both you and even dogs can eat and enjoy it.
Nutritional Value of Tofu
Even though it is loved by mostly vegetarians, nutritional values and benefits of tofu cause real controversy among people. Because there are a lot of various proposed benefits suggested by some people and when you look at the nutrients it really looks impressive.
However, there are also some concerning reasons make us believe tofu is not good for both humans and dogs to eat.
First of all, let’s start with the good things.
Tofu is an excellent source of protein, and it contains various micronutrients such as manganese, selenium, phosphorous, iron, potassium, and calcium.
Not only in protein but tofu is also rich in fat, which might sound surprising, but that is a good thing because dogs need fat. It also contains a fair amount of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
There is also good research suggests that it can help reduce diabetes.
On the other hand, as mentioned above, there are a couple of things that cause some debate between people.
First, tofu contains some anti-nutrients, and what they do is preventing nutrients from being absorbed in the body.
There is another concern around the tofu regarding the exposure of soybeans to a lot of pesticides during their cultivation.
Also, the fact that most of the soybeans in the U.S.A. are genetically modified doesn’t help a lot to the tofu proponents.
Don’t worry, we’ll cover both the potential benefits and risks of tofu for dogs in this article, and those also apply to the humans so you might want to read it carefully.
Is Tofu Good For Dogs?
The main ingredient in tofu is soybean, which is essentially a source of carbohydrate and whether dogs need carbs in their diet is a big question. So, to answer the question of whether tofu is good or bad for dogs, first, let’s get it out of the way.
Dogs don’t need carbohydrates to live a healthy life, and, to be honest, dogs do not need to have carbs in their diet at all. However, that doesn’t mean all the carbohydrates are bad for your dogs, and they should be taken out of their diet.
Carbohydrates can have some benefits for dogs because most of them contain a lot of beneficial nutrients, and they are usually high in fiber. When we look at the ingredients, that looks like the case for tofu as well.
As mentioned above, tofu has a fair amount of manganese, which is helpful for a better digestive system and absorption of both protein and carbohydrates.
Tofu contains a good amount in selenium, and since dogs need an adequate amount of selenium to have a well-functioning thyroid gland and the immune system, it is an essential mineral for dogs.
Also, calcium and phosphorus amount in the tofu is essential for dogs to have healthy bones and teeth, and it contains a relatively high amount of potassium, which is crucial for muscle strength and a healthy metabolism.
Things look very good when you add to that the plant-based source of protein and tofu seems like the ideal food that dogs can eat. However, we believe that it is not the case.
First, dogs need protein in their diet, and we could even say that it is the most crucial part of it because they are evolved from wild wolves whose only source of food was protein. But, we believe that there is a significant difference between animal and plant-based protein for dogs.
Because animal protein is the only way they get most of the nutritional value, and it contains all of the essential amino acids your pooch needs to have a healthy life. Soybeans are usually used in dog foods as a cheaper alternative to animal protein, and they are considered as low-quality ingredients.
Another problem with soybeans is allergies. Some dog owners prefer soybean because their dogs are allergic to animal meats such as chicken; however, soy allergy is a more common issue among the dogs.
Other than that, soybean contains a fair amount of antinutrients, which can reduce the digestion of protein by preventing the absorption of them.
Even though it seems like tofu can have a lot of nutritional value, those reasons make us believe that tofu is not that of a good food source dogs to eat.
Also, we believe there are reasons to be more concerned about tofu and its safety because of all the reasons we’ll get to in a second.
Why Is Tofu Probably Not Safe For Dogs?
The thing that concerns some people about tofu is the fact that most of the soybeans cropped in the U.S.A. are genetically modified. The number is %85 to be precise. So, that means that any time you have tofu, it is most likely made of genetically modified soybeans.
Another worrying aspect of this issue is that because of the lenient food regulations in the U.S.A.; the GMO products don’t have any warnings on them. So, even if you want to make homemade tofu to stay away from the genetically modified products, you will not have a chance to do so because the GMO and non-GMO products are indistinguishable in the markets even to the most alert shoppers.
Not only that but also there is also some well-conducted research to suggest that a significant amount of pesticides found in the soybeans cultivated in the U.S.A.
We believe there is no need to explain why dogs should not eat the products filled with pesticides such as tofu and why they can cause all sorts of issues for them.
Conclusion: Is Tofu Good or Bad For Dogs?
All the reasons mentioned above clearly indicates tofu is not the ideal food for dogs, and it can cause all sorts of issues if they eat enough amount of it.
Also, since most of the reasons show that tofu can cause problems are not applied to the dogs but also humans, you also might want to reconsider your relationship to tofu and decide if you wish to continue to eat this food.