Is Soy Okara Good For Dogs and Cats?

Source: Healthline

In a previous article, we covered the ten different ways that we could incorporate soy okara into our diets. And now, continuing in this direction, we shall explore the possibility of adding soy okara into the diets of our furry friends.

Recap on Soy Okara

Source: WoonHeng

If you haven’t already read our previous article on soy okara (which I highly suggest you do), this foreign-sounding ingredient is simply the insoluble parts of a soybean left over from the filtration of pureed soybeans in soy milk or tofu production.

Source: MDPI

Soy okara is a perfectly safe ingredient for consumption, being a natural by-product of soy processing. But of course, while safe for consumption, you do still ensure to cook the okara before eating – as with most foods, the raw consumption of soy okara is sure to give your stomach a bad day.

Source: Eurasian Journal of Food Science and Technology
Raw soy products contain potential harmful compounds that are inactivated through cooking

Is Soy Okara safe for dogs?

Moving onto the main topic of today, let’s first tackle the question of – “Is Soy Okara safe for dogs?

Source: Cancer Prevention Society

Similar to other soy-based products, soy okara is also perfectly safe for dog consumption – granted that they do not already have a diagnosed soy allergy. Contrary to common misconception, soy is not an inferior source of protein for dogs (as compared to meats) and has nutritional valuewhich will be mentioned in the following sections

Source: Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital
Soy products are Bad — Myth or Fact?

If you are worried about the safety of your dog when feeding them okara, some steps of precaution that you may take include:

  • Consulting your veterinarian – consulting your vet before making significant changes to your pet’s diet is typically a good practice as it would keep your vet aware of changes to their lifestyle (diet, activity) in the event of a medical emergency.
  • Introduce okara gradually – introducing small amounts of soy okara gradually into your dog’s diet would allow you to monitor for adverse reactions towards the okara. 

When incorporating okara into their diets, ensure that no other new ingredients are also added alongside the okara so that the possible effects of okara can be accurately monitored.

Source: Zignature

Symptoms of a soy allergy that you can look out for include:

  • Skin inflammation – red & itchy skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in behavior – excessive scratching, licking or rubbing against surfaces

The myth that soy is not easily digested by dogs and results in bloating has also been stated to be untrue, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). As stated in an article from them, soy products are well-digested by dogs, where the amino acids even tend to be digested as equally well as the amino acids of meat.

While bloating is not a cause for concern, wind might be. However, this can be avoided by limiting the amount of soy incorporated into your dog’s diet (~10% dietary concentration).

Soy in Illness Management

Soy-based products have also been shown to be useful in the management of medical conditions in dogs such as bladder stones and liver disease. The onset of such medical conditions can be attributed to excessive uric acid formation from purine metabolism.

Source: Science Notes 
Purines and pyrimidines are nitrogen-containing biomolecules that play important roles in cell DNA formation

In nature, nucleic acid bases exist in two main forms – purines & pyrimidines. Animal tissue tend to have higher purine levels as compared to plant tissue.

Source: CIDRAP

Due to the rich purine nature of animal tissue, meats are often not the ideal protein source for dogs suffering from the aforementioned conditions. Soy, with their lower purine content, serves as a suitable alternative protein source to meats.

As soy proteins also contain all essential amino acids for growth, soy products have essentially equivalent protein value to that of animal tissue, while also containing less saturated fat and no cholesterol.

Is Soy Okara good for dogs?

Soy okara is a good choice for dogs not only due to their high protein quality but also their high insoluble fiber content. Fiber is an often-overlooked nutrient in the diets of not only us but our pets too.

The recommended daily calorie intake for dogs of different weights are:

Source: NAP

An adult dog needs at least 10% of its daily calories from protein and a minimum of 5.5% from fats. An adult dog’s diet can contain up to 50% carbohydrates, including 2.5% to 4.5% percent fiber.

While other foods can also act as sources of fiber (such as vegetables), it is important to know that not all fiber is made equal. Fiber can exist in two main forms – soluble fiber & insoluble fiber – both with their unique benefits.

Source: Hot Dog on a Leash

The high insoluble fiber content of soy okara might be preferable over soluble fiber sources (like apples, broccoli or carrots) due to the gas-creating properties of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber typically undergoes fermentation in the colon, creating intestinal gas. Having too much soluble fiber can thus result in excessive intestinal gas production and diarrhea.

Insoluble fiber, due to its metabolically inactive nature, does not undergo fermentation and is instead involved in the absorption of water in the colon – which reduces the likelihood of constipation in our furry friends

Insoluble fiber thus, plays an important role in the regulation of intestinal transit timethe movement of feces within the intestine – promoting healthy bowel movement.

Source: Purina

Healthy bowel movement not only reduces the likelihood of diarrhea and constipation but even reduces the risk of colon cancer in dogs due to the increased removal of ingested carcinogens.

Despite the benefits of insoluble fiber, having too much can result in adverse side effects such as the decrease of a meal’s nutrient value due to mineral binding, leading to issues such as weight loss and flatulence.

Like with all other health foods, balance is ultimately key.

If you’re unsure about how you may go about incorporating okara into your dog’s diet, why not begin by checking out these PetCubes by Paws & Play.

Source: Paws & Play

The PetCube incorporates both insect protein and fermented okara as its main sources of protein. This rather unique ingredient list can be attributed to the company’s vision of creating both an eco-friendly and sustainable alternative protein source to livestock for pet feeding. 

These pet cubes are sold as packs of four 80-gram cubes, retailing at $9 per pack. The recommended PetCube feeding guidelines can also be found here

Being certified by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), rest assured that the PetCubes are guaranteed safe for consumption.

Source: TheCookieRookie

You can also go about baking okara-based dog treats, using this recipe from Organic Pet Digest as a starting point for your creations (based on the preference of your dog of course). For instance, making peanut butter dog treats, but using okara flour instead of wheat flour!

Is Soy Okara safe (or good) for cats?

Source: Autumn Trails Veterinary Center

Similar to man’s best friend, soy okara is also safe for consumption by cats. However, while okara might be good for dogs, the same CANNOT be said for cats. This can be explained by the scientific families that both pets fall under.

Cats belong to the family Felidae (felines) while dogs belong to the family Canidae (canines). Due to their different lineages, they differ in dietary restrictions where felines are obligate carnivores and dogs are omnivores.

Due to their omnivorous nature, dogs can survive on nutrition derived from plant and animal sources – allowing them to fully utilize the nutrition obtained from okara. Cats, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores and require nutrients from animal sources for survival.

Source: AAFCO
Some dietary nutrient requirements of a cat

The differential nutritional requirements of dogs and cats are illustrated in the recommended nutrient profiles by the AAFCO. An example of a dietary need that cats require (that dogs do not) is taurine. Taurine is an essential amino acid present in high amounts in meats but low to undetectable amounts in plants. Meat consumption is thus important for cats. 

According to Pet MD, other important nutrients provided primarily by animal-based sources include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B12
  • Arachidonic acid – essential fatty acid
Source: Cats

Deficiency in these nutrients can result in the development of medical issues which include:

  • Taurine deficiency – increased risk of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (impaired heart function) and retinal degeneration (impaired vision)
  • Vitamin A deficiency – increased risk of night blindness, muscle deterioration and abnormal skin conditions (such as skin inflammation, hair loss – alopecia)
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency – increased risk of gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea, vomiting), neurological dysfunction (increased blood cell destruction) and weight loss
  • Arachidonic acid deficiency – decreased efficiency of platelet aggregation (impaired blood clotting function) and reproductive capability

As such, while soy is likely to not be toxic to your cat, it is also not an optimal nutrient source for them either due to the specific dietary needs of cats. The fiber-fits (benefits) of okara are also less impactful in cats due to their shorter digestive tracts and inability to utilize fiber as effectively as dogs.


To sum up, the addition of okara to your dog’s diet might be a good choicebut probably not so much for your cats. In dogs, okara can aid in the promotion of healthier bowel movements, decreasing the likelihood of minor conditions such as constipation and severe ones like colon cancer.

However, due to the differential dietary needs of cats, the incorporation of soy okara while not directly harmful, does not reap equivalent benefits and can even result in nutrient deficiency and thus not highly recommended.