Tofu Is a Vegan Mainstay in Your Kitchen, but Can Your Dog Eat It, Too?

Tofu is typically composed of soy, but alternative versions may be made of pumpkin seeds or other legumes.

Jamie Bichelman - Author

Mar. 29 2024, Published 10:03 a.m. ET

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Tofu is a versatile and excellent vegan meat substitute for climate-conscious consumers, but is it safe to share a block of soy-based food with your companion dog? As you consider the numerous ways to incorporate tofu into your next meal, you may wonder if you can sneak your dog a bite while you cook.

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Keep reading for important information about whether dogs' tummies can handle soy-based foods so that you and your dog are both at your happiest and healthiest come meal time.

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Can dogs eat tofu?

Healthy dogs can eat tofu in moderate amounts as an occasional snack, but for dogs who cannot handle tofu, the symptoms can be life-threatening. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), tofu can both help your dog's kidneys and help your dog maintain a healthy heart.

The isoflavones in tofu, per the AKC, can also aid in managing your dog's cholesterol. Tofu shouldn't, however, be your dog's only source of protein.

"Dogs can eat tofu in moderation as it is not toxic to them, but it does not contain enough protein to fulfill their nutritional requirements," writes Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer for the AKC.

Pet sitter and dog walker website agrees: Tofu is insufficient for your dog's daily protein needs, and the adverse side effects may be distressing if your dog cannot handle it.

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Per, if tofu consumption has made your dog sick, some of the symptoms you should monitor include bloating, labored breathing, vomiting, drooling, and changes to your dog's nose or mouth.

Bloating in dogs, per Wag!, could be life-threatening and necessitates a trip to the vet immediately. Tofu consumption can also lead to kidney stones in some dogs.

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Can dogs eat soy?

According to The Dodo, dogs without a soy allergy can safely consume soy, and it is included in some dietary formulas for dogs with certain food allergies. Per the pet food brand Hill's, your dog may benefit from the high vitamin, folic acid, amino acid, fatty acid, fiber, and potassium content in soy.

Soy has received undue criticism from various sources online, leading to an unfair reputation; per the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, soy can be beneficial when given to dogs in the right settings.

"We use soy quite a bit as the main or only protein source in diets for dogs with certain health conditions. There are lots of legitimate medical reasons soy can be a really good ingredient in a pet food," says Tufts Veterinary Nutritionist Cailin Heinze, VMD, DACVM.

“Soy has been shown to be more liver-friendly than most animal proteins,” Dr. Heinze adds. “It’s a ‘cleaner’ protein source that seems to be less associated with side effects than animal proteins in dogs with severe liver disease."

Ultimately, it's important to monitor your pup for any changes in appetite, behavior, and appearance and consult with a veterinarian before incorporating soy into your dog's diet.

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