Is Soy Bad for Dogs?
Our four-legged best friends are treated as members of the family and that amount of love and care should carry over to their diet. But you may be wondering about which dog foods are really the best and if there are ingredients to be avoided. Soy is a hot topic in pet care circles, and you are about to discover whether soy is bad for dogs.
In short, soy’s role in pet food is a murky subject. For many years, it has been celebrated for it’s supposed health benefits. However, recent studies have shown that there could be potential risks in feeding your dog food that contains soy. To help you make the best decision on what to feed your furry friend, it helps to understand soy is, how it functions in dog food, and what issues it could potentially cause.
What Is Soy?
Soy is derived from the soybean (or soya) plant and is popular in many Asian countries. It is high in protein, which is why people prefer to use it as a meat substitute, and it can be prepared and eaten in many different ways. To get the most benefits from soy, it is best to consume it in its least processed form, such as in cooked soybeans, edamame, and more.
Soy in Dog Food
Since soy in its natural, non-processed form has some health benefits for people, it makes sense that we would want to extend those same benefits to our beloved pets. However, the soy used in dog food is not of the same quality as soy sold for human consumption.
The soy that is used in dog food is actually soybean meal. After oil is extracted from the soybean, what is left over then becomes the soybean meal. The meal is still nutrient-dense and has a high protein count, which is why many dog food manufacturers add it as an ingredient in their product.
There is an issue here. The same issue is with all soy, and the problem is for humans and dogs alike. Just because there is a perceived health benefit doesn’t mean there isn’t a bigger issue and detriment.
What Soy Does
For nutrition and protein, soybean meal appears to be a very good option for an ingredient in dog food. It is also believed to help with digestion, although soy is not shown to be the most effective ingredient for this. Additionally, a dog with some food allergies can sometimes handle soy as part of a hypoallergenic diet. Although there are some perceived health benefits, they don’t outweigh the problems now being identified as a result of having soy in dog food.
Plants contain phytoestrogens, which can be harmful to our furry friends because they interrupt the normal hormone processes in the body. Think of it as a key and keyhole. Phytoestrogens can fit into the keyhole of a hormone receptor but can’t turn the lock. While the phytoestrogen is in the lock, the hormone that should be there and can actually unlock it passes by and the full process is left incomplete. This can lead to a myriad of issues, from stunted growth and development, digestive issues, it impacts anything that is controlled by hormones, which is nearly every bodily process.
Phytoestrogens can also harm dogs that are already spayed or neutered, or cause fertility issues in breeding dogs, so consider this before including soy meal in your dog’s diet.
Soy also causes bloating and gas in dogs, as well as creating allergies. If you decided to use soy-based dog food as part of a hypoallergenic diet, you could ultimately face new or worsening allergies in the future.
Another problem with soy is that it can interfere with the function of your dog’s thyroid, ultimately causing hypothyroidism. If your pet does develop hypothyroidism, a host of new problems can arise. The medical recommendation? Avoid soy altogether.
Soybean meal may not be listed directly on the ingredient list, so it’s important to know what to look for if you are trying to avoid soy, including:
- Vegetable broth
- Textured vegetable protein
- Guar gum
- And more
Soy-Free Dog Food
Finding dog food devoid of soy or soy additives could seem like a daunting task for the average consumer. However, it takes only basic research to identify food that is perfect for your dog. For soy-free dog food and treats, Flourish dog food is the answer. With natural, healthy ingredients like brown rice, chicken, potatoes, and white rice, you can feel good about feeding this food to your pup.
About Flourish Pets
Flourish Pets has first-hand experience in the adverse reactions dogs can experience from regular commercial dog food. Our own pups were dealing with health issues before we discovered it was due to what they were eating.
By creating our own dog food loaded with natural, healthy ingredients, our pets thrived. With better overall health from their new food, we knew every dog and pet owner needed to experience these benefits. Thus, Flourish Pets was born. We know that many people treat their dogs as members of the family, just like we do, and if we’re eating well, we want them to eat well too.
You can purchase Flourish pet food and dog treats or learn more about the science behind our food by visiting flourishpets.com today.