I have a 5 year Staffy cross called Twiggy who is very healthy and active and has been vegan for years. Should I cook tofu before feeding it to her?
Our advice with tofu is as long as your dog does not suffer with any intolerance to soya, then please feed tofu to your vegan dog. It can be fed raw or cooked and will be very tasty to your dog in either form as they will smell the high protein content in the tofu. We advise using it in all our recipes as it is so healthy. It is the one ingredient that was advised as a protein source when we contacted the top vet nutritionists in the UK asking about feeding a vegan diet to dogs.
What tofu do we recommend?
Make sure it’s the tofu made with calcium sulphate not with magnesium chloride (magnesium chloride is also called nigari if you see it on the ingredients list). The reason is to ensure a better balance between calcium/phosphorous in the diet of your dog and lower the magnesium content to lower the risk of kidneys stones.
You could look at making it yourself (if you have the time:) – The Tofu Box.
Why did the ancient Chinese make tofu?
The very first tofu blocks were made from curdled soyabeans over 2000 years ago by the ancient chinese. The majority of Chinese adults suffer from a deficiency of lactase, the enzyme needed to break down the lactose in milk and the common trigger for lactose intolerance; so by fermenting the soyabean, they found a way of cultivating all the goodness and being able to digest such a highly nutritious protein-rich food.
A mild lactose intolerance occurs in our dog’s digestion too as although dogs are not completely deficient in the enzyme to digest dairy products, some dogs will react very strongly to milk protein with signs of diarrhoea, very itchy ears or generalised scratching.
When I ask clients what they use to feed their dogs their wormers/medication or supplements, 90% of them will reply that they use cheese (it is never confessed first – only if prompted, will they acknowledge how much their dog loves cheese and rushes to the sound of the opening fridge and rustle of packets in the cheese drawer!) We’ve all done it – I confess too to it before I turned vegan! Cheese and cheese snacks are addictive to humans and if we have been sharing our guilty secret with our pets, we have very easily turned them into little addicts too!
Why is cheese and all cheese snacks so addictive?
What makes cheese so addictive is the extremely high concentration of the milk protein casein that, when digested, results in casomorphins. Casomorphins are opioids, belonging to the same chemical family as morphine and opium, inducing euphoric feelings and lowering pain. Just like any addiction, once you stop taking the addictive substance, the cravings do go.
It is particularly easy to replace these cravings for dairy products in our dogs with a healthy piece of tofu!
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