Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Disadvantages of Soy Consumption for Dogs

The soybean (Glycine max) is a species of legume native to East Asia. It is an annual plant that may vary in growth, habit, and height. It may grow prostrate, not growing higher than 20 cm (7.8 inches), or even stiffly erect up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) in height. The pods, stems, and leaves are covered with fine brown or gray pubescence. The leaves are trifoliate (sometimes with 5 leaflets), and the leaflets are 6–15 cm (2–6 inches) long and 2–7 cm (1–3 inches) broad. The leaves fall before the seeds are mature. The small, inconspicuous, self-fertile flowers are borne in the axil of the leaf and are white, pink or purple. The fruit is a hairy pod that grows in clusters of 3–5, with each pod 3–8 cm (1–3 inches) long and usually containing 2–4 (rarely more) seeds 5–11 mm in diameter.

Like some other crops of long domestication, the relationship of the modern soybean to wild-growing species can no longer be traced with any degree of certainty. It is a cultural variety (a cultigen) with a very large number of cultivars. However, it is known that the progenitor of the modern soybean was a vine-like plant that grew prone on the ground.

Beans are classed as pulses whereas soybeans are classed as oilseeds. The word "soy" is derived from the Chinese word 醬油 for soy sauce/soya sauce.

Disadvantages associated with the feeding of soy products to dogs include:

  • They contain antinutritional factors such as trypsin inhibitor (inactivitated by extrusion and canning) and oligosaccharides, the latter being responsible for increased production of flatulence;
  • They have low methionine and cysteine concentrations;
  • Their use results in a more voluminous and higher moisture feces;
  • Some animals may exhibit an allergic reaction to soy protein;
  • Soy protein may reduce trace mineral availability because of its phytate and fiber concentrations; and
  • Soy product inclusion in diets may provide excessive quantities of soluble dietary fiber (modified from Hill [1995]).

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