Can Dogs Eat Natto? Benefits, Precautions, and Best Serving Methods

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close up of natto between wooden chopsticks from black bowl

Can dogs eat natto?   YES! 

Natto, a traditional Japanese dish, is made by fermenting raw soybeans. Natto has a polarizing reputation due to its unique scent and sticky texture, can dogs eat it?

The answer is yes, dogs can eat natto. It's a healthy food that can offer your pup various benefits. Soybeans, the primary ingredient in natto, are a great source of protein and the fermentation process to make natto provides a great deal of probiotics. Natto also contains a unique enzyme component called nattokinase that can aid in controlling blood pressure and promoting digestion.

What are the health benefits of feeding natto to dogs?

closeup of a pile of natto

Due to the healthy beneficial bacteria formed during fermentation, natto has an advantage over raw soybeans in terms of digestion and absorption. Dogs can benefit from natto's probiotics and nutrients, which can help strengthen their immunity, improve digestion, and enhance cardiovascular health.

  • Nattokinase

    Nattokinase is a sticky component of natto that develops during the soybean fermentation process. According to research, nattokinase is capable of enhancing blood circulation by dissolving blood clots. This enzyme can also help regulate metabolic conditions such as obesity and diabetes by accelerating metabolism and reducing body fat.

  • Protein

    Soybean, the main ingredient of natto, is a great source of vegetable protein. The amino acids that make up this protein are one of the most important ingredients that dogs can consume.

  • Fiber

    The fiber content can help with a dog’s digestive health helping to make their stool soft.

  • Vitamin K2 and calcium

    Calcium and vitamin K2 are crucial nutrients for maintaining good bone health in dogs. Vitamin K2 plays a significant role by activating proteins that contribute to bone formation. It can also help prevent the accumulation of calcium deposits in the arteries, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease.

  • Vitamin C and vitamin B6

    Vitamin C and B6 both help to strengthen a dog's immune system.

  • Folic acid

    Folic acid is particularly good for pregnant dogs and helps with cell growth.

  • Vitamin B5

    Vitamin B5 helps metabolize fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy. It also plays a role in enhancing physical strength and contributing to the production of neurotransmitters.

According to studies, nattokinase can help prevent blood clots serving as a preventive measure for cardiovascular diseases. The beneficial gut bacteria found in natto, bacillus subtilis, can aid in preventing diarrhea and constipation. It can also help promote nutrient absorption by improving digestion, making it easier for your dog to extract vital nutrients from their meals.

Precautions when feeding natto to dogs

Do not feed natto to dogs on medication due to the high vitamin K content. Vitamin K is known to interfere with certain medications and could disrupt their treatment.

Excessive intake

While natto can be extremely beneficial for your puppy, it can cause several digestive symptoms if fed in excess. Feed your pet some natto occasionally and you can avoid symptoms such as digestive upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. During the fermentation of natto, a small amount of alcohol is produced. If a dog consumes an excessive amount of natto, symptoms of alcohol poisoning can occur as well.

Signs of alcohol poisoning:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Wandering
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dehydration
  • Slow heart rate
  • Seizures

The above reaction may occur within 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the amount of natto consumed. Symptoms can vary from mild intoxication to life-threatening. If your dog displays any indication of alcohol poisoning, it's essential to seek veterinary care immediately.

Soy allergy

Do not feed any natto to your dog if they have a soy allergy. A good rule of thumb when feeding a new food item is to feed a very small amount and monitor for any symptoms before feeding more. If you see any abnormalities, immediately contact your veterinarian for treatment.

Signs of an allergic reaction to look out for:

Best way to serve natto for your dog

natto nestled between a straw spoon

Dogs can easily consume natto right out of the packaging because of the soft, fermented beans. It is best to first let your dog smell the natto before offering any, as they may dislike it right off the bat due to the unique smell. If they do not mind the smell it is safe to proceed feeding a small amount. You can start with a teaspoon of natto to check for any allergic reaction before offering more.

You can also mix the nato with their preferred protein such as plain chicken or rice. Another suitable serving method is to blend natto into a paste and use it as a meal topper. Ensure that you do not add any seasoning and oil to the paste before serving.

Wondering if you can feed your dog any other foods besides natto?

What can dogs eat safely buddydoc pet food dictionary

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