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Sunflower seeds have a variety of health benefits. They are rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, C and E. The seeds contain minerals such as magnesium, potassium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus and sodium.
No matter how you eat them, raw or roasted, these seeds are good for you in many ways.
Now comes the main question: Can you feed your dog sunflower seeds? Will it benefit your dog as much as it helps you? Not all human foods are considered helpful for your four-legged friend.
So, let’s check if you can feed sunflower seeds to your dog. We’ll also look at the benefits and risks of sunflower seeds for your dog.
Can your dog eat sunflower seeds?
Yes, your dog can eat sunflower seeds in moderation as an occasional treat.However, increased consumption of sunflower seeds may trigger Gastrointestinal diseases and other complications in the long run.
When fed to dogs in the right amount, sunflower seeds will help reap valuable benefits. So, let’s look at how to provide sunflower seeds to your dog for better results.
How to feed your dog sunflower seeds?
The first criterion to remember when feeding sunflower seeds to your dog is to pay extra attention to the amount. Once that’s done, there’s not much risk.
- For a small breed like a Yorkshire terrier, Chihuahua, or Malta 10-20 seeds per week. For larger varieties, 20-40 seeds should be measured per week.
- When feeding your dog sunflower seeds, be sure to choose plain, unsalted sunflower seeds. Giving your dog salted seeds is not a safe and healthy option for them and may even lead to salt poisoning in extreme cases.
- Also, when feeding sunflower seeds to your dog, make sure it does not contain flavorings like garlic, honey mustard, and onions.
- Avoid giving your dog the husks of sunflower seeds as they are difficult to digest and may clog your dog’s intestines. Additionally, the seeds may even pose a choking hazard.
Whenever you add new food dog diet, seeking consultation from a veterinarian is always a task. Therefore, don’t miss contacting your veterinarian when adding sunflower seeds to your dog’s food.
Sunflower seeds benefits for dogs
There are many benefits to sunflower seeds, and when you give them to your dog in moderation, they can help in many ways.
One-quarter cup of shelled seeds contains:
- 5.5 grams protein
- 3 grams fiber
- 14 grams fat
- 163 calories
The seeds also contain vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, vitamin E and minerals such as copper, selenium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.
These minerals and vitamins will help your dog in different ways.
- Vitamin B1 is essential for enhancing motor and cognitive function. It also works to maintain healthy brain health.
- Vitamin B2 is important in promoting normal digestion.It also helps break down fats, carbohydrates and protein in dogsconverting them into energy.
- Vitamin B3 aids in metabolism and the overall function of the dog’s body. It even helps treat skin inflammation.
- Vitamin B6 has many uses. It helps produce glucose. Vitamins also aid in the function of the nervous system, red blood cells, and hormones.
- Vitamin E has many functions. It helps build cell membranes and contributes to healthy skin and eyes. It can even metabolize fat and assist the body in synthesizing other nutrients. It even acts as an effective antioxidant, protecting cells in your dog’s body from free radical damage.
- Regarding minerals, manganese and magnesium aid in the growth of cartilage and healthy bones. Zinc aids in thyroid and immune system function. In contrast, sodium helps nerve and muscle function.
Sunflower seeds contain all the vitamins and essential minerals mentioned above. Therefore, when you feed your dog the seeds in the right way and in the right amount, they will be beneficial to your pet.
However, if you think you can replenish your vitamins and essential nutrients with sunflower seeds, you are wrong. This healthy snack offers added benefits as a snack, but not as a healthy meal.
Sunflower seeds side effects for dogs
Feeding your dog too much sunflower seeds may cause side effects if you don’t follow the recommended amounts.
- Giving your dog salted sunflower seeds may be harmful to him. In severe cases, it may even lead to salt poisoning, resulting in serious consequences such as depression, muscle tremors, gastroenteritis, ataxia, and weakness.
- As previously mentioned, the shell or outer skin of sunflower seeds can pose a choking hazard or even cause gastrointestinal obstruction, causing vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and other uncomfortable symptoms in dogs.
- Sunflower seeds are rich in fatty acids and fat; when your dog consumes too many, he may develop gastrointestinal problems. If your dog has a sensitive stomach or is prone to pancreatitis, it is recommended not to give him sunflower seeds. Ingesting these seeds may aggravate your dog’s condition, causing digestive problems such as loss of appetite, lethargy, and vomiting.
Can dogs eat sunflower oil?
Yes, dogs can eat sunflower oil, but no more than a teaspoon, about once or twice a week. Small dogs may not need a teaspoon, while larger dogs may need a little more than a teaspoon.
However, introduce the oil in small amounts and see how your dog’s system adjusts. If your dog can digest the oil well without any danger, you can continue giving it the same oil.
Sunflower oil contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and other essential nutrients. It helps keep your dog’s skin healthy and even promotes hair growth. Vitamin C facilitates rapid wound healing.
However, it is always recommended to consult your veterinarian before adding sunflower oil to your dog’s diet.
Can dogs eat sunflower oil?
Yes, dogs can occasionally eat moderate amounts of sunflower oil. However, they should not eat sunflower oil that has added sugar and salt. Also, you should make sure that this is not a normal thing.
A spoonful of sunflower oil once or twice a month is fine, but no more.
Can your dog eat shelled sunflower seeds?
Dogs should not always eat shelled seeds. If it’s a puppy or smaller breed, the shells are likely to get stuck in their throats, causing a choking hazard.
Additionally, if it is a larger breed that is able to eat the shell, there is a chance that the hard shell will get lodged in their intestines, causing a blockage. Therefore, it is important to remove the outer shell of the seeds and give them to the dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sunflowers are not considered toxic to dogs and puppies. This means they can eat any part of the sunflower plant. However, having said that, it is important to know that sunflower plants are not considered a food source for dogs. Therefore, eating too much may cause stomach upset.
Some seeds, such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds, are considered safe for dogs. However, many seeds are on the list that dogs cannot eat. These include apple seeds, which contain cyanide. There are also poppy seeds, which can be toxic to humans when ingested by dogs. You should even prevent your dog from eating the pits of fruits like cherries and avocados.
Dogs can also eat sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. However, pumpkin seeds are higher in fat. Therefore, feeding pumpkin seeds to dogs should be reduced. When your dog eats too many pumpkin seeds, it can lead to gastrointestinal disorders that can cause an upset stomach.
So, all in all, it can be said that sunflower seeds are not a bad choice when you feed them to your dog in moderation. You should even remove the shell before giving it to your dog. Otherwise, they could be dangerous to your dog. However, give it a small amount of seeds as a starter.
Monitor your dog’s ability to digest it. If you notice that your pet is allergic to sunflower seeds, has difficulty breathing, or has other signs of an allergy, you should stop feeding him sunflower seeds immediately.
Dr. Lillian is a DVM with a passion for raising awareness about dogs. She shares her expertise through her blog at canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology and urgent care. Dr. Lillian is committed to animal welfare.