Soybeans have become a popular ingredient in human and dog food. It’s a great alternative to meat and is a common ingredient in vegetarian and vegan diets. Soybeans are high in fiber, cholesterol-free, and loaded with antioxidants. They provide plenty of health benefits not only for humans but also for dogs.
Soybeans supply dogs with essential nutrients, such as high amounts of folic acid that help with the production of red blood cells in their bone marrow. Additionally, soybeans are high in amino acids that help with body tissue repair, muscle development, and breaking down food. It also contains Omega fatty acids that aid in vitamin absorption, improve the dog’s skin and coat, and help support brain, heart, and joint health. Fiber in soybeans helps regulate digestion and bowel movement, while potassium supports neural function and bone health. Soybeans also contain antioxidants that help prevent diseases and allergies.
Many high-quality, premium dog foods contain soybeans in their list of ingredients. However, not all dogs should eat soybeans, and some forms of the ingredient aren’t recommended. Soy allergies are not uncommon in dogs, just like humans, so it may not be the best ingredient for all dogs.
Although many people think soybeans in dog food are cheap fillers, this is not true. Soybeans have a high nutritional value that is beneficial for dogs. It is important to note that not all soy products are suitable for dogs. Before giving your dog any soy products, check if they contain genetically modified organisms (GMO) soybeans, as these have different nutritional values that can affect your dog’s gut health. Soy products that contain seasonings or spices are not recommended for dogs as these may contain garlic or onions, which are toxic to dogs. Soy sauces are high in sodium content, which can make your dog sick. Other soy products may contain high-fat ingredients that could upset your dog’s stomach or contribute to their obesity. It is best to stick to plain edamame or soybeans, which are soybeans before they have fully ripened. Give them to your dog raw, cooked, frozen, or as an ingredient in their kibble, sans the seasoning.
For dogs with soy allergies, it’s essential to avoid giving them food with soybeans. They may experience an allergic reaction such as hair loss, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive licking, and ear infections. In this instance, it’s best to talk to your vet, who can recommend a specialized diet with hydrolyzed soy protein. Hydrolyzed protein is a form of protein, broken down into tiny pieces that the immune system no longer recognises as a threat. In this way, your dog can still get the protein necessary, even if they are soy allergic.
Recently, the FDA has been investigating a possible link between grain-free diets with legumes, including soybeans, and non-hereditary Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). Although this investigation is still ongoing, most veterinarians and pet owners have been advised not to feed their dogs grain-free diets that include legumes as one of the top ingredients. However, soybeans are currently considered safe for dogs to consume, despite being a legume.
In conclusion, soybeans provide many health benefits to dogs. They are safe to eat in moderation or as an ingredient in your dog’s kibble. Avoid giving your dog soy products that contain seasonings or spices, and check if they contain genetically modified soybeans. Dogs with soy allergies should avoid this ingredient, whilst vets can recommend specialized hydrolyzed soy protein diets. Soybeans are considered safe for consumption, despite being a legume, and have no current link to DCM. As always, it is best to consult with your veterinarian and discuss any dog food ingredient concerns.