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Are Soy and Peas Healthy for Dogs? Exploring Benefits and Myths


In the world of canine nutrition, the debate over the inclusion of soy and peas in a dog’s diet frequently swings between support and caution. It’s time to cut through the myths and highlight the actual benefits of plant-based ingredients for our four-legged friends. Let’s go on a fact-based journey to understand the role of soy and peas in supporting a happy, healthy life for dogs.


Health Benefits of Soy and Peas for Dogs

Soy and peas are not just fillers; they are full of healthy nutrients. Soy is an excellent source of high-quality protein, providing all the essential amino acids necessary for your dog’s muscle health and overall vitality. In an article published in Your Dog from Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts veterinary nutritionist Cailin Heinze, VMD, DACVM, said: 

“Some people think soy is being used in diets as a cheap, inferior replacement for meat, but that’s not the case. It’s not inferior. Soy is the best quality of the plant proteins […] While some animal proteins are more digestible and usable by dogs, other animal proteins aren’t as good as soy. So having soy protein in a diet doesn’t mean the protein quality is bad, and having meat or other animal protein in a diet doesn’t mean that the protein quality is good.”

Soy is also packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as iron and calcium. Peas complement this profile with their own set of benefits, including protein, fiber, vitamins A, K, and B vitamins, along with important minerals like magnesium and potassium.

Muscle Health: The high-quality protein in soy and peas supports muscle repair and growth, which is crucial for your dog’s physical activity and recovery. 

Digestive Health: Rich in fiber, both ingredients aid in maintaining a smooth digestive process, fostering a healthy gut microbiome, and preventing constipation. 

Weight Management: The low-fat content in peas and soy helps control weight, making them ideal for a balanced diet.

Immune Support: Loaded with antioxidants and essential nutrients, soy and peas bolster the immune system, protecting your dog from various diseases.

Heart Health: Phytoestrogens in soy might contribute to maintaining heart health, countering myths about their negative impact.


Debunking Myths About Soy and Peas

Myth 1: Soy and Peas Lead to Heart Problems (DCM). The link between diet and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is complex, with no direct evidence pointing to soy and peas as culprits. Genetics and breed play a significant role in DCM, necessitating a balanced diet and regular veterinary check-ups.

In December of 2022, the FDA closed an investigation opened in 2018, which looked into a potential link between certain diets (pet foods that include ingredients like potatoes, peas, lentils, and other legumes) and DCM. This investigation was concluded due to a lack of evidence directly linking the reported cases of DCM to the pet foods consumed by the dogs involved. Additionally, there was a noticeable decline in the number of reported DCM cases.

Myth 2: Soy and Peas Are Common Allergens. While any ingredient can potentially cause an allergic reaction, soy and peas are less commonly allergenic compared to animal proteins like beef and dairy. Observation and moderation are key in identifying any food sensitivities.


Incorporating Soy and Peas into Your Dog’s Diet

For those looking for complete and balanced plant-based diet options that incorporate soy and peas, PawCo’s GreenBites recipes offer a nutritious blend based on our proprietary GreenMeat™. Our LuxBites™ and InstaBites™ lines also provide soy-free alternatives for dogs with soy allergies, ensuring a healthy, well-rounded diet.

Always consult with a veterinarian before making any big changes to your dog’s diet, especially if your pet has specific health issues, allergies, or dietary needs. We also recommend introducing any new food slowly and gradually to minimize the risk of tummy trouble that comes with any diet change.



Soy and peas can play a valuable role in a dog’s diet, offering a wide range of health benefits, from enhanced muscle and digestive health to immune support and weight management. By researching and debunking common myths and understanding how to introduce these ingredients in a healthy way, you can confidently include soy and peas in your furry friends’ meals. 

Ready to give it a go? Find your pup’s new favorite recipe here!


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