Most dog parents can’t imagine life without their furry friends. Dogs provide unconditional love, loyalty, emotional support, and unlimited cuddles; they are there for you even when people aren’t. Maintaining good nutrition to promote their health and well-being is an essential way to care for them.
With numerous dog food brands, ingredients, and preparation methods, it can be challenging to choose the best diet for your four-legged friend. Also, some dog food ingredients like soy are met with criticism, with some people doubting their safety and nutritional benefits. So, is soy safe and healthy for dogs? Read on to learn more.
Is Soy Safe for Dogs?
Soy is safe for dogs, with international soy farmers striving to produce quality soy for animal nutrition. In the US, pet food must meet certain standards for health and digestibility before sale. Generally, soy and soy products adhere to these standards and do not contain anything harmful to dogs.
Soy is an affordable vegetable protein source compared to animal proteins like meat and eggs. Subsequently, it is a top choice for dog food enterprises looking to lower costs and increase pricing competitiveness, passing the savings to consumers.
While soy is safe for dogs, it is not advisable for dogs with a diagnosed soy allergy. Some dogs have allergic reactions to soy, like other food sources. Nonetheless, the belief that dogs will have allergies when they consume soy is flawed.
Some forms of soy, like hydrolyzed soy, help treat dog allergies because they are broken into pieces undetectable by the dog’s immune system. Besides, soy doesn’t feature in the top five allergy-provoking dog food ingredients –beef, dairy, wheat, chicken, and egg.
If you are introducing soy to your dog for the first time, it is advisable to do it gradually. This way, you identify any reactions to the plant protein and act accordingly. Consult your vet immediately if your dog becomes itchy, vomits, gets diarrhea, or loses appetite after eating soy.
Be wary of the amount of soy your dog consumes. Huge amounts of soy can increase the odds of your dog getting an allergic reaction. Also, some dog foods combine soy with other ingredients that may be problematic for a dog. For example, soy sauce is harmful to dogs because of the high levels of sodium, not soy, causing salt positioning and kidney damage.
Does Soy Have Any Benefits in Dog Food?
Soy has numerous benefits in dog food, including.
- Rich in vitamins that promote overall well-being and improve coat shine
- Has omega-3 helping with inflammation control and wound healing
- Contain folic acid, vital for normal metabolic functions
- It is an excellent source of fiber, allowing overweight dogs to maintain a healthy weight
- Helpful for dogs with problems digesting other proteins
- Strength immune system
- Soy diets manage certain conditions like advanced liver disease.
Is Soy an Inferior Protein?
Many people assume that soy is an inferior protein with negligible nutritional value. Others regard it as a cheap replacement for animal protein. However, this is untrue. Soy has immense nutritional value and provides the best quality plant protein.
Dog food brands utilize different soy products, varying in purity level, protein content, and cost. Soy protein concentrate and soy protein isolate are the expensive variants of soy and are used sparingly in dog foods. However, even cheap variants like soybean meal boost crude protein. Therefore, claims of soy being an inferior protein are misguided.
Does Soy Cause Digestion Problems in Dogs?
The opinion is divided on whether soy leads to digestion problems in dogs like bloating, also called gastric dilation volvulus (GDV). Soy proponents contend that dogs digest soy as well as they do animal proteins.
Soy proteins in pet foods have high digestibility values than animal proteins. Dogs process the crude proteins and amino acids in soy meals better than poultry meals. Therefore, unless a dog has a preexisting digestive problem, soy is a good and easily digestible protein source.
Currently, FDA is investigating the possible correlation between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and grain-free pet food, including soy. DCM is a canine heart disease inhibiting a dog’s ability to pump blood, culminating in congestive heart failure.
While FDA is still investigating the issue, it has not found any relationship between legume soy and DCM. So, more research on soy’s effect on dogs is needed to ascertain if it can cause any health issues.
Can Dogs Have Tofu?
Many pet parents ask whether their dogs can eat tofu, a soybean vegan protein. Tofu appeals to many people as a flavor absorber and text enhancer with high protein content and low fat and calories. When it comes to dogs, tofu is a safe and nutritious snack.
Does tofu have any health benefits for dogs? Yes, tofu is good for a dog’s heart and kidney health and is an excellent source of magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium. It also contains isoflavones, lowering cholesterol and helping with weight management in dogs.
Nevertheless, while tofu is primarily a safe occasional treat, vets recommend moderation when giving it to your dog. The tofu should be cooked and served plain –avoid sauces and seasonings containing ingredients like garlic since they hurt dogs. Since tofu doesn’t meet a dog’s protein requirements, it should not be used as the primary protein ingredient in pet food.
Some dogs have allergies to tofu, like other soy products. Therefore, do not feed the plant protein to your furry friend if it has a soy allergy. In addition, huge amounts of tofu may impact a male dog’s hormonal levels as well as result in gastrointestinal upset and discomfort.
Soy is a safe and healthy plant-based protein for dogs with tons of nutrients, ranging from vitamins to fiber and fatty acids. While most dogs can consume soy well, some have allergic reactions. So, soy is best consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Too much of it, combined with other ingredients, can wreak havoc on your pet. Therefore, consider tracking your furry friend’s diet to identify any reactions. A vet can help you devise a good diet plan for your dog for greater well-being, immunity, and health.