As a dog lover, I have a checklist of the things I am not allowed to feed my dogs. They have a very sensitive diet that they have a lot of food restrictions. It is important that we are aware of these things in order to avoid compromising the health of our pets.
Accordingly, tofu is one of those food items that should not be fed to our dogs. Is there truth to this? Can dogs eat tofu or not? What will happen to your dog if he or she happens to eat tofu? Are there severe consequences?
Let us discover the answers to these questions in today’s discussion!
Everything You Need to Know About Tofu
Before we even determine whether or not dogs are allowed to eat tofu, we first need to understand what tofu is.
Basically, tofu is a uniquely versatile food made from soybean curds. Though believed to be Japanese food, tofu originated from ancient China. Chinese people considered soybean as one of their five sacred grains, even if it is not technically a grain. The way they prepared soybeans has a lot to do with the way tofu is processed today.
1. How Tofu is Made
Today, with technology, making tofu has become a whole lot easier. There are tofu makers that can manufacture tofu from up to 20 gallons of soybeans at a time. Higher-end tofu processing facilities have equipment that can work with as much as 5.7 tons of soybeans, producing roughly 3.5 tons of tofu, daily.
Primarily, three basic ingredients are needed to produce tofu. These include coagulating agents, soybeans, and water.
Before, the commonly used coagulating agent is nigari or seawater precipitate. This is rich in minerals. Nowadays, manufacturers are using modern alternatives such as calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride.
First, soybeans are soaked because it is the extracted milk that is really important. Then, a coagulating agent is added to the soybean milk to curd it.
Once soybean milk turns into soybean curds, these are processed into tofu. Usually, they are formed in blocks. Varying textures may also be applied, depending on the water content of the original mixture. Then, if you are very adventurous, different flavors can be applied, too!
2. Why Do We Love Tofu?
The best thing about tofu is that it can be prepared in numerous ways. For us, humans, it could be the best meat substitute. It goes well with almost everything. More importantly, it is rich in essential nutrients! It has the right amount of carbohydrates, fats, minerals protein, and vitamins. It is for this reason that most vegetarians and vegans love tofu as a meat alternative.
Naturally, it is gluten-free and cholesterol-free. So, generally, it helps lower bad cholesterol— in one way or another. In turn, it decreases your risk of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, among others.
Isoflavones are also present in tofu, which can help protect you from heart diseases, osteoporosis, and some types of cancer. Accordingly, the isoflavone genistein has antioxidant characteristics that can inhibit cancer cell growth.
Can Dogs Eat Tofu?
So, yes, we love tofu! It has a lot of nutritional benefits. It helps us, humans, counter a lot of health risks. However, can the same still be said if we are now talking about our beloved dogs?
Let us start with how tofu could possibly help our dogs. First, eating tofu can help if your pet has liver problems. Soy protein is better than meat protein for his or her liver. However, be mindful not to depend solely on tofu.
Then, dogs with kidney problems may also benefit from tofu. It has less purine than animal protein, ensuring that your pet’s kidneys would not be irritated. He or she gets the amino acids he or she needs without further affecting his or her kidneys.
Then again, you may have heard people saying that tofu is toxic for dogs, but there is no truth to that, at least necessarily.
The thing is, dog parents tend to feed their dogs with tofu as a primary meat substitute. With the carnivorous nature of dogs, it just would not satisfy their protein requirements.
Mainly, tofu is soy; and soy does not contain enough protein to meet your pet’s needs. More importantly, soy is a common food allergen among dogs. So, it is not really ideal to include tofu in their regular diet, especially if they have a very sensitive stomach.
Dogs need animal-sourced nutrients. While they can eat tofu, it is not highly recommended. It is a cheaper alternative, yes, but it would not be the best choice for your dog’s health.
Importantly, it is just an alternative. Do not make the mistake of having tofu as part of your dog’s primary nutritional source.
Effects of Tofu Consumption for Dogs
When dogs eat tofu— even just a little amount, they are likely to suffer from severe bloat. Some common signs of this include a bloated stomach, breathing difficulties, excess drooling, pale mouth, vomiting, among others. Keep in mind that bloating is one of the leading causes of death among pet dogs.
Other health concerns include the phytoestrogen content in tofu. Then, high levels of pesticides are of major concerns as well.
To Wrap It Up
Evidently, tofu is good for our overall well-being. It is rich in the essential nutrients we need to thrive. However, the case might be a little different when it comes to our dogs.
So, can dogs eat tofu? Basically, yes. The key here is to not feed it as the main protein source. It should also be done occasionally only and not on a regular basis. Otherwise, your pet might suffer some serious health problems in the long run. Then, of course, if your dog is allergic to soy, tofu is definitely a food restriction.
Have you tried feeding your dog with tofu? How did he or she take it? Are there any food items you are not allowed to feed your dog? Why? Do not forget to share your thoughts with us! I would love to hear from you!
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