The Surprising Benefits of Soy Protein for Small Dogs

Soy Protein for Small Dogs by Rebecca Daniel |04-03-2024

Soybean, also known as soya bean or simply soy, is widely considered a superfood. That’s due to its abundance of essential nutrients.

But can these nutrients benefit our canine friends too? Can dogs eat soy?

Well, these questions shall be the focus of this article. Read below as we delve deep into the
surprising benefits of soy for small dogs, with a particular focus on soy protein.

SoybeansPhoto Credit:

Soy protein is obtained from soybeans and is widely touted as a healthier replacement for animal-derived protein. The past few years have witnessed a tremendous surge in demand for plant-based protein, with soy protein at the center of the buzz.

The growing interest in soybeans has translated to increased international soy production. Soy-based products are now available in multiple formulations. There are also widespread, ongoing initiatives to foster sustainable soybean cultivation
practices. Such campaigns are intended to avert a possible shortage of these nutritious legumes.

Can Dogs Eat Soy?​

Soy is essentially a plant. That description may instill reservations in some dog owners about feeding this legume to their canine friends.

But contrary to popular belief, dogs are omnivores and not carnivores. That means Fido is just as happy to snack on plant-based foods as animal-derived foods.

The main dietary difference between dogs and other omnivores is that these adorable creatures typically prefer a diet comprising up to 80% of animal products, with plant-based foods taking up the remaining portion. You may have realized that although it’s conspicuously present in many dog foods, soy typically appears in small amounts.

So, while soybeans can offer immense benefits to your pup, serving the legumes in small portions and only as an occasional treat is essential. This is especially true for puppies whose digestive systems aren’t completely developed, which means they can react more dramatically to unfamiliar foods.

A litter of puppies eating food out of a stainless steel dishPhoto Credit:

How Might Soy Protein Benefit Your Small Dogs?

Although not a staple ingredient in most dog foods, soy is a protein-rich food that may benefit your pups in many ways.

For starters, soy boasts the highest protein quantity by weight of any food. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 100-gram serving of fresh soybeans provides 36 grams of protein.

Below is how the same serving amount of popular animal-based protein sources compare with soy;

  • Beef – 26 grams
  • Pork – 27 grams
  • Chicken – 27 grams
  • Turkey – 29 grams
  • Salmom–20 grams

Another reason to feed soy protein to young dogs is that soybeans abound in all nine essential amino acids and eleven nonessential amino acids.

Amino acids are distinct molecules that combine to form proteins. These molecules are grouped into two major categories – Nonessential and Essential.

Nonessential amino acids are those the body can produce on its own, while essential amino acids must come from the foods your dog consumes.

Here are the nine essential amino acids in soy and how each might benefit your small dog.

1. Threonine

Threonine is the primary amino acid-producing structural protein like collagen and elastin. Dogs, particularly puppies, need this compound to maintain a radiant coat.

Threonine is also involved in fat metabolism. Therefore, it can help keep your puppy's weight in check.

2. Methionine

Like threonine, methionine plays a role in fat metabolism. The compound can also help remove toxins from your pup’s body.

Besides, methionine absorbs other essential minerals like zinc and selenium.

3. Tryptophan

Is your pup struggling with inappetence, insomnia, or mood swings? Then feeding him soy protein might make a world of difference.

Soy is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that stimulates the secretion of serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter noted for its positive effects on appetite and mental relaxation.

4. Leucine

Leucine is another BCAA responsible for muscle growth and repair. This amino acid is also involved in blood sugar regulation. Therefore, it might protect your pup from unhealthy blood sugar spikes.

Other noteworthy functions of leucine include stimulating wound healing and aiding the production of growth hormones.

5. Histidine

Like humans, dogs secrete the hormone histamine in response to allergens, pathogens, and inflammation. Histidine is the amino acid responsible for stimulating histamine production.

Histamine can regulate your pup’s sleep-wake cycles, digestive processes, and sexual functions. And it’s great to know that soy protein abounds in this essential amino acid.

6. Lysine

Lysine is an essential amino acid involved in calcium absorption, an important mineral that helps maintain the health of your dog's bones and teeth while aiding muscle regeneration.

Lysine also boosts the production of certain hormones, enzymes, and the structural proteins collagen and elastin.
Collectively, the proteins in soy may stimulate feelings of fullness for longer by inducing the release of CCK in your dog’s gut.

Longer feelings of satiation consequently reduce food cravings and hunger pangs. It’s a natural way to cushion your pups from unhealthy weight gain and lifestyle diseases like obesity and diabetes.

Other Benefits of Soy for Small Dogs

Besides its high protein content, soy abounds in many other nutrients your pup can benefit from.

A noteworthy mention is a dietary fiber, which works synergistically with protein to promote feelings of satiation for longer. Fiber also aids regular bowel movements, making it a welcome addition for small dogs battling constipation.

Soy is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, noted for their anti-inflammatory properties. Not to mention disease-fighting antioxidants like isoflavones, saponins, and phytic acid.

Final Word About Soy Protein for Small Dogs

Soy protein is a healthy replacement for animal-based protein sources, not only for humans but also for dogs. Remember to consult your vet before introducing soy into your pup’s diet. Also, observe the moderation rule while feeding your dog soybeans or other unfamiliar foods.

Soy Protein for Small Dogs
Author Bio

Rebecca Daniel, based in California, is an avid writer, with many years of blogging experience. She had been working as a professional writer for a while but now she goes on as a freelancer, devoted to enhancing her own knowledge in various niches and helping others do the same through her writings.

When she’s not writing you can find her traveling and taking care of her dog, Zoro.

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About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, beagles, English bulldogs, carin terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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