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You love your dog, and it's important to you to feed them a healthy diet to keep them active, energetic and happy for years to come. Some ingredients, though, certainly might make you wonder if they can be eaten by your pup. There's a good chance that soy is one of those ingredients... Can dogs eat soy? Are products like soy sauce safe for your dog? Some people think of it as a healthy addition to a diet while others say to avoid it. Let's explore whether soy is a healthy ingredient in dog food and if it can be eaten in various forms.
Can Dogs Eat Soy?
For the most part, yes, dogs can consume soy as long as they don't have a diagnosed soy allergy. However, it matters how much soy your dog is ingesting.
Always consult your veterinarian before feeding anything new to your dog. If you're introducing it to your pet's diet and don't know how they'll react, start slow. Only introduce one new type of food at a time so you can identify if there are any reactions to the new food. Also, if you do notice any type of reaction, contact your veterinarian right away to determine if your pet is having an allergic reaction.
Are Soy Ingredients Okay in Dog Food?
Currently, studies say yes. In an article for Your Dog from Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts veterinary nutritionist Cailin Heinze, VMD, DACVM, says, "Some people think soy is being used in diets as a cheap, inferior replacement for meat, but that's not the case. It's not inferior. Soy is the best quality of the plant proteins [...] While some animal proteins are more digestible and usable by dogs, other animal proteins aren't as good as soy. So having soy protein in a diet doesn't mean the protein quality is bad, and having meat or other animal protein in a diet doesn't mean that the protein quality is good."
In fact, soy has many benefits — it's high in vitamins, folic acid and amino acids. It also contains a good concentration of fatty acids, and it's a good source of fibre and potassium.
So, What's the Problem with Soy (& Soy Products)?
Feeding your dog too much of some of the most common soy options may not be the healthiest choice. Not sure what food has soy in it? Tofu, edamame, miso, tempeh and tamari are some of the most common soy foods. And don't forget soy-based products, such as soy milk, soy cheese, soy yoghurt and more.
Sometimes soy is just one of many ingredients in a food. You'll often find soy in baked goods, cereals, peanut butter, vegetable oil, high-protein energy bars to name a few.
As mentioned before, soy has some inherently great benefits for your dog, but when mixed in with other ingredients in some common foods it can create problems for your dog.
Take soy sauce as an example. Can dogs eat soy sauce? The answer is no, but not because of the soy content. Soy sauce is loaded with sodium, and ingesting too much sodium could make your pet quite ill. If you ever find that your dog has licked up some soy sauce, make sure your pet drinks plenty of water.
Overall, it's best to limit your dog's food intake to healthy dog food and dog treats so you don't have to worry about your pet ingesting something unhealthy, or too much of something that is allowed. But if you've ever had concern on whether or not soy as an ingredient in your dog's food is bad for them, you can rest easy. A properly balanced meal containing soy contains many benefits. When in doubt, your vet can help plan your dog's dietary options.
Erin Ollila is a pet enthusiast who believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghostwriting, blog posts, and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Reach out to her on Instagram @ErinOllila or learn more about her at http://erinollila.com.
Reviewed by Dr. Hein Meyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl-ECVIM-CA