Sunflower seeds are a very healthy, delicious snack that most people enjoy. Can you share this snack with your doggy friend? In this article, I help you find the answer to the question: can dogs eat sunflower seeds? Are sunflowers seeds toxic or poisonous to dogs? Keep reading on to find out the answers.
Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?
Dogs can have sunflowers seeds, but they cannot eat the outer shell layer. The shell can cause digestive problems. Just like us, we shouldn’t eat the outer layer of the sunflower shell either. You also want to make sure the sunflower seeds you give your dog are unsalted and plain without any added flavors, such as ranch sunflower seeds.
Too much sodium can be very harmful to your dog. This can give your dog high blood pressure in the future. So sunflower seeds should only be given to your dog in small amounts; that way, you’re not overdoing it, and your making sure your dog isn’t allergic or doesn’t have any negative reactions.
Do Sunflower Seeds Have Any Health Benefits for your Dog?
While sunflowers seeds are thankfully not toxic for your dog, they don’t have as many health benefits as other human foods, but you will notice an improvement in your dog’s skin, coat, good cholesterol, and overall health.
Skin and Coat Health
Sunflower seeds contain fatty acids. Fatty acids are essential when it comes to your dog’s skin and coat health. This can greatly improve your dog’s skin and coat; especially if your dog has trouble with itchy skin, it may improve its condition.
The oils that are found inside the sunflower seed are unsaturated fats, so this means it is good for your dog. You will notice your dog’s skin and coat looking healthier and shiny.
Produces Healthy Cholesterol
The fatty acids also help to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol found inside your dog’s body. This can improve overall cholesterol levels. When these levels improve, it can also reduce things like high blood pressure, making your dog healthier.
Sunflower seeds contain great amounts of vitamin E. Even just one ounce of sunflowers sees will give your dog all it needs in one day. Vitamin E does many things, such as helping create cell membranes, cell respiration, and even protecting itself from free radical damage.
How Many Sunflower Seeds Can Dogs Have?
This may surprise you, but dogs do not need very many sunflower seeds to get the nutritional benefits. First, make sure the sunflowers seed you are about to give your dog does not have salt, flavorings and is unshelled already.
Small dog breeds only need 10-20 sunflower seeds. This, of course, doesn’t look like much but is plenty for your dog. You do not want to overfeed your dog sunflower seeds. A large dog breed can have between 20-40 sunflower seeds.
You can give your dog sunflower seeds by adding them on top or mixed into your dog’s food. This will make the typical dog food slightly more exciting.
Another thing to keep in mind is if this is your first time giving your dog sunflower seeds, only start with a few to see if your dog is allergic. If your dog starts to act strange or even develops a rash, it could mean your dog is allergic.
Do Sunflower Seeds Have Side Effects for Your Dog?
Even though you can safely give your dog sunflower seeds, there are certain things to keep in mind that could give your dog a negative side effect.
Sunflower Seeds are Usually Salted
Many sunflower seed packages you can find at the store have salt on them. Even if they seem like they are plan without added flavors, most of the time, they have been roasted and salted.
It may difficult for you to find sunflower seeds that are not salted. Check the ingredient list carefully, and if it says salt, then you should avoid that package. Salted seeds can severely harm your dog and give it underlying health conditions.
Most commercial sunflower seeds have a shell on them. You don’t want to feed your dog a shelled sunflower seed as the shell can cause major problems.
When your dog digests a sunflower seed, it can cause a blockage in your dog’s digestive tract. This can make your dog throw up or even having trouble making a bowel movement, which would cause for a trip to the veterinarian.
So, if you do purchase unsalted sunflowers seed, but it has the shell around it, you will need to remove the shell by hand before giving it to your dog.
Limit the Amount Given to your Dog
You still do not want to overdo it when it comes to giving your dog sunflower seeds. It may surprise you that dogs do not need very many before they have gotten all the fatty acids and nutrition needed.
The seeds contain natural oils and fatty acids that do have a limit in consumption. Your dog can certainly feel sick from the amount eaten, so make sure your only feeding your dog a small amount.
Can Dogs Have Sunflower Oil?
Sunflower oil may have already been introduced into your dog’s diet from your dog’s food. This may surprise you to know that sunflower oil is actually used in most dog foods to give your dog a dose of fatty acids.
You may remember from above fatty acids great help the skin and cost of your dog. Dogs that have issues with the dryness of their coat may need some sunflower oil.
This can also be bought in the form of a supplement for your dog. It could be in a pill or in the oil itself. You should always consult your veterinarian for advice first before giving the supplement to your dog.
Can Dogs Have Sunflower Seed Butter?
Yes, dogs can eat sunflower butter, but it does contain a lot of calories. This is more calories and fat than regular roasted sunflower seeds. Moderation is the key to everything, so a little goes a long way.
Dogs cannot have a lot of people snacks, and the snacks dogs do get should be less than 10% of their daily food intake.
What’s Better Store Bought or Homegrown Sunflower Seeds?
Clearly, there is no competition if you have grown your own sunflowers seeds. They will likely taste better and be better for your dog. The trouble with store-bought food is you aren’t sure where the product is coming from, and there may be other added ingredients instead of just sunflower seeds.
The process will take a lot longer growing your own and waiting for the flower to die back before you can harvest the seeds. If you have plenty of time on your hands and aren’t in a rush to acquire the seeds, I suggest experimenting with growing your own.
After you have grown the sunflower, you will see that it is ready to be harvested at the end of the season. When it starts to die back, and the flower is looking brown, you can cut the head from the stock and begin removing all the plump seeds.
These seeds will then need to be cleaned thoroughly through a process of rinsing and then soaked in water overnight. The next day you can drain the seeds from the water and put them on a baking sheet to roast in the oven.
When the oven is finished, you will have ready-to-eat sunflower seeds for human consumption. To share with your dog, you must deshell the seed first.
Where Can You Get Unsalted Shelled Sunflower Seeds?
In my case, it is very hard to find the unsalted variety in my local grocery stores. Many people prefer the salted kind, but your dog certainly won’t. I was, however, able to find unsalted shelled sunflower seeds online. These are very affordable and even organic. You can check out the link for it down below. If you don’t want to purchase a product online, try looking into smaller specialty stores.
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So, can dogs eat sunflower seeds? The answer to that question is yes, and remember to give your dog human treats in moderation. Dogs can enjoy some of these treats, but too much can be harmful. The fatty acids inside the seed will contribute to your dog’s overall health. Have you ever given your dog sunflower seeds? Please let us know what your dog thought of it in the comments below.