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Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds? Are They Bad For Them?

If you enjoy snacking on sunflower seeds, then you might want to share some of your stash with your pup. But should you?

Can dogs eat sunflower seeds? Yes, dogs can consume the sunflower seeds without any trouble as long as you can feed it to them with moderation and in the right way.

Sunflower seeds possess a conical shape with a hard outer shell and an edible kernel inside derived from sunflower, an herbaceous plant.

These seeds are a splendid source of minerals, fatty acids, and vitamins apart from its delicious taste.

Sunflower seeds prove beneficial to your dog but ensure that they don’t have a shell, unsalted and no additional flavor or spices, therefore, relieving your dog from gastrointestinal distress.

Are Sunflower Seeds Good For Dogs?

The definite answer is yes; your dog can safely consume sunflower seeds, thus deriving immense positive, healthy benefits from them. These include:

Improvement of skin and coat.

Studies have demonstrated that the dog’s skin and hair coat have exhibited some improvement after eating sunflower seeds for a specified duration. Sunflower seeds contain essential fatty acids, vital in improving your dog’s coat and hair skin.

The vital fats in sunflower seeds are unsaturated, thus proving to be beneficial to your pet. These fats are responsible for maintaining your dog’s coat healthy, shiny, and averting problems such as dry skin and hot spots.

Relieve stress and depression.

Sunflower seeds provide a calming effect over anxiety in dogs as it is in humans—they comprise magnesium, which helps mitigate stress, depression, and fatigue.

Sunflower seeds contain vitamin B, specifically pyridoxine and niacin, which help improve brain activity and reduce anxiety and neurosis. They also have high tryptophan content, an essential amino acid that increases the serotonin level in a dog’s brain.

Serotonin assists in improving a dog’s recovery from stress and also reduce its aggressive behavior.


Did you know that one ounce of sunflower seeds provides a daily dose of vitamin E to your dog?

Vitamin E helps regulate cholesterol levels, and it also serves as essential fat for metabolism, development of cell membranes, and facilitating cell respiration.

Vitamin E is also significant in protecting your dog from harmful oxygen-free radicals.

Production of good cholesterol.

Sunflower seeds contain healthy fatty acids, which help the body suppress the production of harmful cholesterol and increase good cholesterol production in the dog’s body.

This cholesterol regulation helps lower your dog’s pressure, reducing the risk of heart ailment and stroke in your pet.

Improves overall health

Sunflower seeds contain vitamins, minerals, and crucial nutrients culminating in an improved, balanced diet for your dog, therefore revamping the entire body system’s functioning.

These nutritional supplement compositions help produce hemoglobin, hormones, healthy bones, proper brain functioning, and strengthening the immune system.

Vitamins and minerals in sunflower seeds also help make red blood cells, adequate utilization of carbohydrates and proteins, and connective tissue and collagen development.

Are Sunflower Seeds Safe For Dogs? Will It Kill Your Dog?

Sunflower seeds are not only composed of high calories but also increased fat content. Feeding your dog with large quantities of sunflower seeds can pose some health complications for your dog.

It’s also advisable to be cautious when feeding your dog with sunflower seeds because of potential safety concerns and their side effects.

As a dog owner, it’s imperative to observe the precautions set below to avert any health dangers associated with feeding sunflower seeds to your pet. These includes:

Salted sunflower seeds are harmful to your dog.

Human beings prefer consuming sunflower seeds, which are salted and seasoned. Salted sunflower seeds are not toxic, but feeding your dog these seeds with high salt content can subject them to serious health complications.

Excessive consumption of salt can result in sodium iron poisoning. High levels of salt content in your dog’s diet can result in sodium toxicosis, an illness ranging from mild to severe.

The symptoms of sodium toxicosis poisoning in dogs include:

  • Repeated urination.
  • Extreme thirst.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Imbalance.
  • Seizures.

Sunflower shells can cause gastrointestinal disturbances in dogs.

It’s dangerous to feed your pet with sunflower seeds containing shells and hulls. In humans, when one chews these unshelled seeds, he/she is supposed to spit the covers, but when it comes to a dog, this is unachievable.

These unchewed shells pose a choking hazard to dogs if they are not appropriately chewed and culminate into a stomach ache.

Covers of sunflower seeds are not easily digestible and can get trapped in the gastrointestinal tract, causing a blockage, which can be a life-threatening situation.

Sunflower seeds can cause allergy in dogs.

Some parts of the sunflower seeds may become allergic to your dog, causing repeated vomiting or your pet becoming very lethal. If your dog is entangled in this situation, you are supposed to seek the attention of a vet immediately.

If you want to detect if your dog is allergic to sunflower seeds, it’s prudent to feed him with around 3-5 seeds as a snack.

If your dog portrays any hyperactivity signs, it is advisable to seek alternative fatty acids and vitamin E sources such as coconut oil, flax seeds, eggs, fish, and red meat.

How Much Sunflower Seeds Can You Feed Dogs?

When you are feeding your dog, it’s crucial to pay attention to quantities. It advocated that you should not give your small dog more than 10-20 seeds, while a big dog should not be fed with more than 20-40 grains once a week.

It’s recommended to stick to feeding them with smaller quantities as prescribed.

One cup of sunflower seeds has 269 calories, but if you doubt the number of calories that your dog should consume, it’s advisable to consult a devised online calculator of your choice.

Final Word

The above article has illustrated that you can feed your dog with sunflower feeds provided you observe moderation and strict care.

When you feed your dog with recommended quantities of sunflower seeds can boosts your dog’s health, particularly its immune system.

Dog owners should ensure that they only procure natural sunflower seeds, which are unsalted or does not contain any flavors to accrue the beneficial nutritional value contained in these seeds.

image: Pixy

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National Canine Research Association of America