Is It Safe To Feed Dog Tofu?

Is It Safe To Feed Your Dog Tofu?

Can dogs eat tofu? Finn dives into the benefits and drawbacks of using tofu as a treat for your pet and how you can safely do that.

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Humans choose to lead a vegetarian lifestyle for a variety of reasons, ethical and health-related. However, just because we decide what type of diet to follow doesn’t mean that the same decision should extend to our furry friends. 

For vegans, vegetarians, and people making a conscious effort to eat less meat, tofu is often a dietary staple. But can dogs eat tofu? And should they? Let’s take a look.

What Is Tofu, Anyway?

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If you’ve always been a dedicated meat-eater, tofu may not be something you’ve thought about before. It often gets a reputation for being soft and flavorless, but it is far more interesting and adaptable than that!

Tofu, also known as bean curd, is made from soy milk pressed together to form a solid block. It is a popular plant-based protein worldwide, specifically in Asian countries like China and Singapore. 

Like chicken, tofu doesn’t have a distinct flavor on its own. While that makes it excellent to pair with sauces or spices for our diet, it may also make it less exciting as a snack for dogs. 

Can Dogs Eat Tofu?

While we’ll dig more into the hows and whys, the short answer is yes. Dogs can eat tofu. It is considered non-toxic, and there are no components that pose a major threat to the vast majority of dogs. 

However, just like with every food, tofu should not replace your pup’s main diet and should only be fed in moderation. 

What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Tofu?

As we briefly touched on, tofu is an excellent protein source. But it has other nutritional benefits as well, which is why so many people include it in their weekly meal planning. 

One of the benefits of tofu is that it’s gluten free. While dogs don’t suffer from celiac disease like humans do and don’t require a completely gluten-free diet, there are benefits to reducing the amount of gluten your dog eats. Gluten can be an allergy trigger for some dogs and can be upsetting for the GI tract of others. 

Tofu is also relatively low in calories while still filling your dog up. If your furry friend is on a weight-loss plan, tofu may be a great, low-calorie treat that won’t throw off their progress if fed in moderation. It also has a high fiber content to increase that feeling of fullness for even longer. 

And finally, tofu is rich in a few of the vitamins and minerals that dogs need to stay healthy — B complex vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. In fact, nutritionists consider tofu to be a “complete” protein, as it contains all nine of the amino acids that the body can’t naturally make on its own. 

What Dogs Benefit the Most From Eating Tofu?

While most dogs can eat tofu without an issue, some dogs may benefit from it more than others. 

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Dogs With Food Allergies

If your dog has been diagnosed with food allergies, it can be frustrating to find proteins that they can enjoy without dealing with an increase in symptoms. While tofu can’t be used as their primary source of protein, it has the edge over many other proteins commonly used as treats. 

This edge is because tofu (and other soy-based products) have smaller-sized molecules, which means that a dog can digest it more easily without triggering an allergic reaction. However, that doesn’t mean that tofu is entirely hypoallergenic, as there are always exceptions to any rule. 

Dogs Predisposed to Bladder Stones

Like us humans, dogs may be predisposed to developing bladder stones. After being diagnosed with stones, those stones are typed so that the vet can come up with a customized plan to stop them from recurring. 

One type of bladder stone, urate stones, is often managed by placing dogs on a low-purine diet. The protein type that tofu contains is lower in purine than other proteins, like beef and chicken, without giving up any nutritional content. 

Dogs With Liver Issues

Soy may be more liver-friendly than other types of protein. Compared to other common proteins found in dog food, tofu may be easier for dogs with severe liver disease to handle. They also tend to experience fewer side effects. 

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Dogs are just as prone to becoming overweight and obese as humans for many of the same reasons. Overeating and exercising too little are easy to do, and even more so for dogs who can’t control their own schedule. 

Once your dog has been diagnosed as overweight and your vet has discussed how many pounds they need to lose to get back into a healthy weight range, it’s up to you to figure out how to make that happen. 

A great place to start is by evaluating what you are feeding your dog.Consider not only their regular diet but what you’re giving them as snacks as well. While some vets may recommend a specific, low-fat dog food, what you treat them with is up to you. You should cut back on most, if not all, snacks and be very cautious about the few you give them. 

So, can dogs eat tofu while on a diet? Yes, but just small amounts, only a few days a week. Although it is low-calorie, it may still put them over their daily calorie count, so be cautious and keep close track. Most vets recommend that you keep a food diary, and they will tell you exactly how many calories you need to feed your dog a day. 

Helping your dog lose weight should also involve additional exercise, like running, walking, or hiking several times a week. Start slow, especially with older dogs or dogs who don’t regularly get a lot of exercise, and increase as they adjust to their new activity level. 

This time together is also great for your relationship with your dog and gets you out of the house as well.

What Are Potential Side Effects of Giving Tofu to Dogs?

Other than a potential allergy to tofu (or soy), there aren’t too many side effects to watch out for when feeding it to your pet. However, it is still vital that you incorporate it into your diet slowly and monitor your dog closely in the few hours after feeding it to them the first time. 

The primary complaint pet owners have after giving their dog tofu is that it makes them gassier. This most often happens when dogs eat tofu in large quantities, but dogs with sensitive stomachs may also experience an issue. If you notice your dog is gassing you out of the room regularly after starting to give them tofu, you may want to cut back or stop feeding it to them entirely.

Side Note: Tofu and Estrogen

An important note that pet owners should know before giving their dog tofu is its relationship to estrogen and the potential repercussions that it may cause. 

Soy, which tofu is made from, has a high concentration of isoflavones. These compounds, especially when ingested in large quantities, have the potential to mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. While these effects are much more well-studied in humans, they may contribute to hormone imbalances in susceptible dogs. 

How Can I Incorporate Tofu Into My Dog’s Diet?

Like fruits and vegetables, you can feed tofu to your dog raw or cooked. If you decide to cook your tofu before giving it to your pet, do it without spices, sauces, or oils to minimize the potential for GI upset. 

However, it is really not necessary to cook it unless you plan to use it in your own meal.

Stick with small amounts of tofu, especially at first. You can buy pre-sliced tofu at the grocery store, so if you’re unsure about what to do with it, this can make giving it to your dog much more manageable. A few cubes a few times a week is plenty. 

In Conclusion

Can dogs eat tofu? Absolutely, as long as it isn’t their primary source of protein and is fed in moderation only to supplement a balanced diet. 

Tofu is low in calories while still full of vitamins and minerals, and you don’t even need to cook it before you can use it as a treat. However, if your dog has a known medical condition that impacts their hormonal balance, check with your vet before using it as a snack. 


Soy Isoflavones | Linus Pauling Institute 

What every pet owner should know about food allergies | Tufts 

Urinary Stones | American College of Veterinary Surgeons | ACVS



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