Have you wondered if you can give your dog soy milk? The short answer is yes, dogs can have small amounts of soy milk occasionally. Dogs don’t actually need milk of any kind after they grow beyond puppyhood but, dogs being dogs, your canine pal might beg for some of your soy milk. However, there are some issues with soy that you should consider before you give your dog soy milk. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of soy milk for dogs.
Soy milk (also known as soya milk) is a plant-based drink made from soaking and grinding soybeans. The mixture is then boiled and the sediment is then filtered out, leaving behind a liquid. It’s a stable emulsion of oils, water, and proteins. Calling it a “milk” is really a misnomer. It only resembles milk but has little else in common with dairy milk. Some people, especially vegans and those who are lactose-intolerant, do use it as a substitute for dairy milk.
As a substitute for dairy milk, soy milk is often used to make soy versions of milkshakes, yogurt, and other products that usually call for the use of dairy.
|Nutritional content of human, cow, soy, almond, and oat milks
(non-human milks are fortified)
per 250 mL cup
|Energy, kJ (cal)||720 (172)||620 (149)||330 (80)||160 (39)||500 (120)|
|Saturated fat (g)||4.9||4.55||0.5||0.21||0.5|
|Vitamin B12 (mcg)||0.1||1.10||2.70||0||1.2|
|Vitamin A (IU)||522||395[b]||503[a]||372[a]||267[a]|
|Vitamin D (IU)||9.8||124[c]||119[a]||110[a]||144[a]|
- Commonly added to plant milks, which do not naturally contain significant levels of the nutrient.
- Vitamin A fortification is only required for skimmed milk in the US.
- Vitamin D fortification for milk is mandatory in the US.
Nutritionally, soy milk is low in saturated fat and very low in cholesterol. It is a good source of calcium. However, a large amount of the calories in soy milk come from sugars.
Soy milk is made up of 54 percent carbohydrates, 27 percent fats, and 19 percent protein. A 12-ounce serving (the smallest size served at Starbucks) contains 162 calories.
One serving contains 21.6 grams of carbs, 1.2 grams of dietary fiber, and 17.4 grams of sugars. It also contains 4.8 grams of fat and 7.8 grams of protein.
Soy milk may be beneficial for people with higher cholesterol levels. This may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Soy milk may also help with the symptoms of osteoarthritis and menopause.
There were once concerns that soy milk could contribute to risk factors for breast cancer but recent studies suggest that this is not the case.
For people who are lactose-intolerant, soy milk is lactose-free so people can drink it without any lactose side effects.
For people who have problems with the protein casein found in dairy milk, soy milk does not contain casein.
Soy milk does have a beany flavor that is unlike dairy milk so if you are making the switch, you may have to try several different brands before you find one that you enjoy. Some people buy soy milk flavored with chocolate or vanilla but these flavors are also likely to contain added sugars.
There are some drawbacks to drinking soy milk. Soybeans and especially soy milk contain phytic acid. Phytic acid can inhibit mineral absorption in the diet.
People with thyroid problems may need to avoid soy and soy milk because they could interfere with thyroid activity.
Animal studies also suggest that soy can interfere with fertility.
Soy is one of the top nine food allergies according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).
Some kinds of soy milk have added sugars which make the soy milk much less healthy. They can also increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes. Choose unsweetened soy milk when possible.
Can Dogs Have Soy Milk?
Dogs can have a small amount of soy milk occasionally. Soy milk is not toxic to dogs. However, there are some reasons why you shouldn’t give your dog very much soy milk or give it very often.
- Soy is a common allergen among dogs.
- Soy can affect the thyroid.
- Soy can interfere with fertility in animals – a particular problem if you ever intend to breed your dog.
- The phytic acid in soy can interfere with the absorption of some of the minerals and protein your dog needs in his diet.
Some dog foods contain soy products and even powdered soy milk. It is often added as an extra source of protein to boost the protein percentage of the food. As long as your dog isn’t allergic to soy, this isn’t a problem. If your dog is allergic to soy, try to avoid these foods. Read the ingredients.
Soy milk can also be problematic for dogs because of its calories and sugars. A cup of soy milk typically contains more than 100 calories. If it’s sweetened, it can be very high in sugar. Both of these things combined can put extra weight on your dog.
How Much Soy Milk Can You Give Your Dog?
If you would like to give your dog a little soy milk, it’s best to only give a small amount. Make sure that your dog is not allergic to soy products. A large dog could have 1/3 cup of soy milk. A small dog could have ¼ cup of soy milk.
It’s best not to give your dog soy milk very often even if he is not allergic to soy. Since it can affect the thyroid and interfere with the absorption of minerals, it should only be shared with your dog occasionally.
If you give your dog soy milk and suspect he is having an allergic reaction, watch for the following symptoms:
- Facial swelling
If you are concerned or if the problem doesn’t get better in a few hours, call your veterinarian. If your dog has a severe reaction, don’t waste time. Go to your veterinarian’s office immediately.
Soy milk isn’t toxic to dogs. If your dog doesn’t have an allergy to soy products, you can share some soy milk with him in small amounts occasionally. Even though there are some health benefits associated with soy milk, there are some reasons why you should use caution in giving it to your dog. Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about giving your dog soy milk.