Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds? (Benefits and Helpful Answers)


Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are famed for their deliciousness, nuttiness, and, yes, their nutritiousness as well. All these contribute to the widespread relish of sunflower seeds as a summer snack. Do you think you are the only one who enjoys sunflower seeds? Your dog does too! But should you feed your dog sunflower seeds?

Yes, your dog can eat sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds are not poisonous to your dog, provided they are fed to your dog in modest quantity. When peeled and unsalted, sunflower seeds can be a great source of vital nutrients like proteins, vitamins, fatty acids, and minerals for your dog. Make sure to remove the shells from your sunflower seeds before you feed them to your dog.

What benefits can your dog enjoy from sunflower seeds? Can your dog eat and digest raw sunflower seeds? Should you feed your dog sunflower seed oil? These and many more questions we will answer in this guide.

Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?

Your dog can eat sunflower seeds, but it must not be in excessive quantities. Sunflower seeds are best added as supplements to your dog’s meal – especially as treats. You could gradually up the amount depending on the way your dog reacts to it.

Nevertheless, when feeding your dog sunflower seeds, ensure the seeds are peeled and unsalted. Also, the sunflower seeds shouldn’t have additional seasoning.

When salted, there is a high risk of your dog suffering dehydration and sodium poisoning, which is typical when dogs consume foods with high salt content.

Regarding the ideal quantity to feed your dog, it is worth recognizing that a cup of sunflower seeds boasts 269 calories. For context, just a cup of sunflower seeds amounts to 32% of the recommended daily sodium intake for medium and small dogs.

If you have a large dog, it is advised you don’t feed it more than 20-40 sunflower seeds within 7 days.

Should you have a small dog, it shouldn’t be fed more than 10-20 sunflower seeds within the same interval. This can be distributed in the form of (at most) 5 seeds in one snack.

Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds Shells?

No, your dog can’t eat sunflower seed shells. The texture is too rough to be readily digested by your dog’s digestive system.

When your dog ingests sunflower seed shells, it can cause severe gastrointestinal issues.

Given this, it is essential to de-shell your sunflower seeds before feeding them to your dog. Unlike birds and other rodents who have a mechanism for de-shelling foods before ingestion, dogs lack such capacity.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Sunflower Seeds?

Yes, your dog can eat uncooked sunflower seeds provided you remove the shells before feeding them – and the sunflower seeds are of the unsalted variety.

Can Dogs Eat Unsalted Sunflower Seeds?

Sunflower seeds are healthy for your dogs when unsalted and taken modestly. Indeed, as humans, we prefer consuming our sunflower seeds in salted form. But dogs don’t have the same resilience to high sodium levels as we do.

Salted sunflower seeds, especially when your dog takes them immodestly, can result in a spectrum of health conditions. This includes sustained urination, seizures, vomiting, sodium toxicosis, and in extreme cases, death.

Are Sunflower Seeds Poisonous to Dogs?

By themselves, sunflower seeds are not poisonous to dogs. So long you keep to recommendations of peeling off the shells, keeping it unsalted, and in moderate quantities, sunflower seeds can be enormously nourishing for your dog.

When your dog binges on sunflower seeds, there is a high possibility of it ingesting excessive amounts of phosphorus. Indeed, this could result in extensive kidney damage and even the calcification of non-skeletal tissues.

What more, sunflower seeds, when taken immoderately, results in excessive ingestion of selenium. This can trigger selenosis, skin rases, fatigue, irritability, brittle nails, and death.

Selenium can also cause stomach issues for your dog, along with the risk of vomiting and organ inflammation.

Ideally, your dog shouldn’t take more than a tablespoon of sunflower seeds (shelled) in a single portion.

It would be wise to thoroughly grind your sunflower seeds and administering them as sprinkles to your dog’s food in the form of a supplement or even introduce it to your dog’s dish as powder.

Can Sunflower Seeds Hurt Dogs?

While sunflower seeds can be a rich source of vital nutrients for your dogs, there are some significant risks these seeds pose to your dog.

Shells Can Lead to Gastrointestinal Problems

The shells of sunflower seeds are unhealthy for your dog. Yes, we humans can readily chew unshelled sunflower seeds and spit out the hulls, but dogs can’t.

The chances are high that your dog will swallow the shells along when fed unshelled sunflower seeds. When such an unfortunate scenario occurs, your dog can choke.

But there is even a worse possibility. Considering difficult it is for sunflower seed shells to be digested, they can get stuck in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. This comes with the risk of blocking it entirely, triggering stomach aches, or death.

Your dog could be hurt with the significant oil content in sunflower seeds. It is worth acknowledging that sunflower seeds have high-fat content. Admittedly, your dog may struggle to metabolize such a high volume of fats.

Can Dogs be Allergic to Sunflower Seeds?

There are cases where your dog can experience hypersensitivity to sunflower seeds. If your dog has such allergies, you could see it vomiting repeatedly or developing severe lethargy when introduced to sunflower seeds.

Should you notice this vomiting happens, it is advised that you take your dog to the vet at once. Your vet would determine if you have to replace your sunflower seed snacks with an alternative source of vitamin E and fatty acids erstwhile derivable from sunflower seeds. 

For insight, you can resort to flax seeds, red meat, and eggs for such snacks.

Benefits of Dogs Eating Sunflower Seeds

More than how delicious your dog would find sunflower seeds, these seeds are highly nourishing for your pet. How about we touch on some of the benefits of feeding your dog sunflower seeds?

Sunflower Seeds Improve Depressive Symptoms in Dogs

Do you think depression is exclusive to humans? Far from it, dogs also experience depression and stress. Interestingly, sunflower seeds can have a calming effect on dogs, reducing anxiety and depression.

Studies have found that sunflower seeds share the calming effect of the chamomile herb. This can be incredibly relieving for a dog experiencing anxiety. Magnesium, as contained in sunflower seeds, can help improve depressive systems and fatigue.

What more, sunflower seeds are rich in niacin and other vital B-complex vitamins like pyridoxine. These vitamins are famed for their capacity to reduce anxiety and neurosis, overall elevating cerebral activity.

Still on improving stress, sunflower seeds richly contain tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that boosts serotonin.

The latter is a vital chemical that enhances your dog’s resurgence from stress. Effectively, this could result in your dog displaying unprovoked aggression as it used to.

Sunflower Seeds Enhance Your Dog’s Coat and Skin

You will agree that your dog’s beauty and loveliness are largely connected to the health of its skin and coat. This is what sunflower seeds get you: a healthy dog coat and skin.

Studies have shown that dogs that eat sunflower seeds have shinier skins and fuller coats, thanks to the significant fatty acid content in these seeds. These fats are unsaturated, making them healthier and more efficient in preventing hot spots and dry skins.

Sunflower Seeds Boost Good Cholesterol

As you could know, there exists LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) & HDL  (High-density lipoprotein). This is bad and good cholesterol. Certainly, good cholesterol is a far better deal.

Therefore, it is good news that sunflower seeds simultaneously boost the production of good cholesterol while reducing the amount of bad cholesterol. Decreased bad cholesterol means reduced blood pressure.

Consequently, a healthy intake of sunflower seeds indicates your dog stands a lesser risk of developing heart conditions and stroke, thanks to a significantly lowered blood pressure.

Sunflowers are Wealthy with Antioxidants

Antioxidants play a crucial role in our health. The same applies to dogs too. Yes, vitamin E supplies these vital antioxidants.

Sunflower seeds have amazing vitamin E content. Specifically, your dog’s recommended daily intake of Vitamin E is the equivalent of 1 oz of sunflower.

The antioxidants in the sunflower seeds eliminate destructive radicals in your dog’s system. These antioxidants contribute to improved cell creation, fat metabolism, and cell respiration.

Sunflower Seeds Enhance Your Dog’s General Health

Aside from these specific functions of sunflower seeds, these seeds improve your dog’s overall health. Sunflower seeds improve hemoglobin production, immune function, and bone health.

There is even more. Sunflower seeds improve the way your dog’s system utilizes proteins and carbohydrates. Furthermore, sunflower seeds enhance the development of red blood cells and collagen.

Can Dogs Digest Sunflower Seeds?

Yes, your dog can digest sunflower seeds so long its hard exterior (shell) has been peeled off before administering it to your dog.

Can Sunflower Seeds Cause Diarrhea in Dogs?

Your dog can experience diarrhea when you feed it unpeeled and salted sunflower seeds. Feel free to feed your dog the sunflower kennel but ensure you take off the black shell first.

Why Do Dogs Like Sunflower Seeds?

It is not unnatural for your dog to like sunflower seeds. Considering how crunchy, nutty, and delicious sunflowers are, it is expected that your dog falls in love with them.

Though sunflower seeds don’t have the most attractive sights, this shouldn’t turn an animal as curious as a dog off. And once your dog gets to taste these seeds, the probability is higher that it cherishes it. Nonetheless, not all dogs would fancy sunflower seeds.

Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seed Oil?

Sunflower seed oil is derived from sunflower by squeezing the seeds to a pulp. What you get is oil with a wealthy composition of fatty acids.

Sunflower seeds have significant omega-6 fatty acid content. This is beneficial in improving your dog’s immune system and enhancing skin and hair growth.

However, the problem with sunflower seed oil for dogs is that it has inappropriate Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio. Having the wrong ratio could adversely affect your dog’s immune system and even inflammation.

The ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 should be 5:1. Sunflower seeds oil don’t have this ratio. Nonetheless, if the sunflower seed oil is ingested in moderate quantities, the impact on your dog wouldn’t be too negative.

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