Sunflowers are a sign that the end of summer is coming and fall is drawing near. For many, sunflower season is a favorite time of year.
Besides big, beautiful yellow flowers, sunflowers are also popular for their seeds. Sunflower seeds are packed with nutrition and healthy fats and can be added to salads, trail mixes, and a variety of other foods.
If you’re enjoying sunflower seeds, you may be tempted to share with your dog. But is it safe? and, Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?
Your dog can eat sunflower seeds, but you’ll need to make sure they’re prepared and portioned properly. Owing to the high amount of unsaturated fats, sunflower seeds are very calories dense. To avoid overfeeding your dog, it’s important not to give them too many.
Preparation is key. Make sure the seeds are unsalted since salt is not good for your dog, and don’t give them seeds with the shells on. Dogs won’t know to remove the shell or spit it out; they will most likely eat the shells if given the chance.
Sunflower Seed Nutritional Value
Seeds are very nutritious, and sunflower seeds are no exception. A quarter-cup contains 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 16 grams of unsaturated fats, and 190 calories.
Many of the different B vitamins are packed into sunflower seeds in addition to vitamin E, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and many other minerals.
Fatty acids are responsible for a number of the health benefits associated with sunflower seeds. They contribute to hair and skin health and the good cholesterol levels in the body.
Sunflower seeds bring many health benefits. They are believed to be anti-inflammatory, reduce the risk of cancer, improve heart health, and they’re great for skin and hair.
The B vitamins, magnesium, and proteins in sunflower seeds will contribute to your dog’s mental health. These nutrients can reduce anxiety, increase serotonin levels, and lead to a decrease in aggressive behavior.
Despite the many health benefits, sunflower seeds can be bad for your dog if the proper precautions aren’t taken.
Potential Side Effects
We know that sunflower seeds are good for the heart, but if dogs are given salted sunflower seeds, the salt will raise their blood pressure. High blood pressure is bad for the heart and can have negative effects on other organs.
The shells of sunflower seeds can also cause issues for dogs. First off, they present a choking risk since they are more difficult to chew. If ingested, the shells can cause issues in the digestive tract. They are not easily digestible, so they could give your dog a stomachache or cause a blockage.
Blockages are very serious and can lead to complications or death. If your dog eats a sunflower seed shell, make sure they are still pooping regularly, and call a vet if you notice anything different about your dog’s digestion.
It is possible for dogs to be allergic to sunflower seeds. This is not the case for most dogs, but when you give your pup sunflower seeds for the first time, you should watch them for signs of an allergic reaction. The symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, a rash, or swelling. If you notice any of these symptoms, call a vet.
Sunflower seeds are very calorie-dense, so if you aren’t careful with portions, your dog may gain weight from this snack. Remember that a little goes a long way.
This is especially true since the seeds contain a lot of fat. Although sunflower seeds contain healthy, unsaturated fats, dogs do not need a lot of fat or oil, and it’s best not to overdo it.
Best Way to Feed Your Dog Sunflower Seeds
If you’re planning on sharing sunflower seeds with your dog, make sure you give them unsalted sunflower seeds with the shells removed. Salt isn’t good for dogs, and they won’t know not to eat the shell. If you give them a seed with the shell, they will eat the whole thing.
Portion control is key for these calorie-dense treats. It is recommended that small dogs have less than 20 per week and large dogs have less than 40 per week. Keeping servings small will also limit the amount of oil your dog is getting from the sunflower seeds.
Sunflower seeds can be very beneficial to your dog, but you have to be careful with this treat. Portion control and proper preparation are very important for keeping your dog healthy.
Give your dog a few unsalted, shelled sunflower seeds with their food or as a treat, and they will safely reap the health benefits this seed has to offer.