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Can Dogs Eat Tofu? | Is Tofu Good for Dogs?

is tofu good for dogs

Tofu is the curd of mashed soybeans.  It’s a high-protein option commonly used by vegetarians to get enough protein in their diets without consuming meat.  Tofu can be used in breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and even desserts!  I’d like to see a hamburger do that!  Although it can be a different, healthy choice for humans, what about our pups?  Can dogs eat tofu?  Is tofu good for dogs?  Let’s find out!

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Can Dogs Eat Tofu? (The Short Answer)

In small quantities, yes, dogs can eat tofu.  Tofu is a protein-rich food that also contains multiple vitamins and minerals.  For dogs with food sensitivities or kidney or liver problems, tofu may even be recommended over meat products!  However. even good things shouldn’t necessarily be consumed in large quantities.  Too much tofu can cause excessive gas or even gastric dilation volvulus which can cause death if it’s not treated promptly.  As usual, make sure there are no added seasonings or spices and, especially important with this food, make sure it is free of pesticides.

It’s important to remember, that even with the best of intentions, accidents happen and dogs can easily eat things they shouldn’t.  Unfortunately, even if those accidents aren’t fatal, they can result in huge, unexpected veterinary expenses.  That’s why we recommend all responsible dog owners get a free, online pet insurance quote from Healthy Paws.

Is Tofu Good For Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat tofu?” Now, let’s learn about the benefits of feeding your dog this food! Is tofu good for dogs?

Yes, there are some health benefits associated with tofu, however it should only be eaten in small quantities.  There aren’t too many calories in tofu and it also contains a decent amount of protein.  In a half of a cup, there are 94 calories and 10 grams of protein.  In the same amount of chicken there is closer to 20 grams of protein, but this is still a significant amount of protein for not being a meat.  Additionally, tofu is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron and vitamin B-6.  Here’s why these seemingly negligible amounts of vitamins and minerals are actually super important for dogs!

Calcium: Supports healthy bones and teeth to keep that smile looking adorable!  Also plays an important role in muscle contraction and lengthening. 

Magnesium: Considered a co-factor, meaning without it a lot of functions wouldn’t be able to happen such as hormone secretions! 

Iron: Essential for hemoglobin transport, the oxygen-carrying unit of blood. 

Vitamin B-6: This little vitamin does everything!  From glucose generation, to red blood cell and nervous system function, to hormone regulation and assistance with the immune system. 

In some instances, when your dog has had an upset stomach, giving them tofu with some rice is an easy way to ensure they’re getting enough protein.  This option may be less harsh on your dog’s digestive system than their normal food or meats. 

Research has also shown that tofu can help reverse some liver damage caused by unhealthy diets.  This is because the proteins in soy may be easier for your dog’s body to handle and break down than animal proteins.  Additionally, for dogs that commonly suffer from bladder stones, tofu can be a great option.  Decreasing the amount of purines in one’s diet can help decrease the risk of bladder stones, and tofu contains fewer purines than animal meats. This is important because it means your dog will still get the amino acids from the tofu without compromising renal function. 

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Is Tofu Bad for Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat tofu?” Now, let’s learn about the dangers of feeding your dog this food! Is tofu bad for dogs?

There are plenty of good aspects to tofu, but for dog owners there are a few negative things you should be aware of as well.  Tofu is made with soy which is a fairly common allergy amongst both humans and dogs.

Additionally, seasonings are added into a lot of foods, so before serving make sure that there are no harmful spices or seasonings added to the tofu.  Some especially important ones to be aware of are garlic and onion, which are toxic to dogs. 

With tofu, there is a high likelihood that a lot of pesticides were used.  There are ways to avoid buying foods that potentially contain pesticides, such as buying organic options. 

As always, this should only be given in moderation.  Tofu can also cause some pretty significant bloating and gas in dogs.  Watch for signs and symptoms which include a visually bloated abdomen, difficulty breathing, vomiting, excessive drooling, or a pale nose or mouth.  Bloat, also known as gastric dilation volvulus, is the second leading cause of death among domesticated dogs.  Tofu is not considered a full protein for dogs, therefore it does not satisfy all of their protein needs.  It can be given as a small snack, or sprinkled on top of their normal dinner, but it should not completely replace their canine food. 

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Other Varieties & Related Foods:

Can Dogs Eat Tofu Products?

Most likely yes dogs can eat tofu products.  This question is really specific to the exact item that you’re talking about.  Obviously, if a tofu product advertises that it is spicy, your dog probably shouldn’t eat it as the spiciness can upset their stomach.  For this question, it’s more important to look at what else is included with the tofu to determine its safety.  The tofu itself is safe in small amounts, but some ingredients that may be added could be more dangerous. 

Is Cooked Tofu Safe for Your Pup?

Yes, dogs can eat cooked tofu!  There are certain cooking methods that are better than others.  We recommend baking or boiling tofu.  Frying tofu can turn this once healthy food into a high-fat, unhealthy option.  It’s in your dog’s best interest to keep this food as healthy as possible. 

Can Dogs Eat Tofu Skin?

Yes, dogs can eat some tofu skin in moderation!  Interestingly enough, tofu skin is made by heating up soy milk slightly and waiting for the top layer to solidify a little.  It is then peeled away from the pan and set to dry.  Soy milk, like some other milk substitutes such as almond milk, is safe for dogs, and so is tofu skin!  Again, be sure not to include any harmful spices or seasonings and to only give this in moderation. 

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Tofu?

Yes, in moderation dogs can have tofu.  Too much tofu can case bloat which can have very serious complications and expensive vet bills.  In small quantities, it can still provide nutritional benefits for your dog!  Tofu is known for being high in protein and low in fat and sugars, making it a great addition to your pup’s list of favorite snacks.  Remember, boiling and baking are the best ways to cook tofu for your dog and to only give your pup plain tofu without any additional seasonings or spices. 

Want to Learn More?

Check out these related articles from our “Read Before You Feed” series for more advice on safe foods for dogs!

Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians and this article should not be taken as medical or veterinary advice.  If you have any questions about your pet’s health or dietary needs, please contact your local veterinarian.