When we want better epidermal and gastrointestinal health, sunflowers are always an option for us. It offers many vitamins and minerals that are important for our canine friends. But can dogs have sunflower seeds?
The good news is that dogs can have sunflower seeds, despite some safety concerns. For example, they can’t eat the shells of sunflower seeds; the amount must be small; the seeds should be unsalted; and so on.
Before you decide to include these amazing seeds in your dog’s diet, it would be better to be certain about their merits and demerits. So stay tuned.
Can Dogs Have Sunflower Seeds?
Sunflower seeds can be a great addition to dogs’ diets, as they contain nothing but nutrients. However, sunflower seeds can only be good for your dog if he eats them in the right amount and in the right way.
We know sunflower seeds contain shells that we need to peel off before eating the seed. If your dog eats the seed along with the shell, he may get no benefit but a choking hazard. Besides, eating sunflower seeds in the right amount is important. Not only these seeds but every food should be consumed in the right quantity.
With some essential nutrients, like B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, copper, zinc, etc., these seeds can be a saviour for your dog. They can all help fight against several diseases.
Considerations Before Offering Sunflower Seeds To Dogs
Well, sunflower seeds are safe for dogs, with some exceptions. That’s why you must always have some safety concerns when offering these seeds to your canine friend.
For instance, you must peel off the sunflower seeds’ shells first. Although the shell is not toxic, it can cause choking hazards for dogs. Not only dogs but also humans should avoid the shells of sunflower seeds to avoid any sort of intestinal blockage. Besides, you should not offer him large amounts of these seeds, as they are high in sodium.
The canned sunflower seeds are loaded with other additives too. So make sure you only feed fresh sunflower seeds to your dog, not canned ones.
While offering dogs fresh sunflower seeds, don’t forget to wash them. Any sort of germ in the seeds won’t give them nutritional benefits, but side effects.
Benefits Of Having Sunflower Seeds For Dogs
Sunflower seeds can have many health benefits for your dog if he takes them in the right quantity. These seeds are high in protein and fibre. In ¼ cup of sunflower seeds, you will get 3g of fibre and 5.5g of protein. Fibre can help your dog have a good digestive system, whereas protein will take care of his muscle health.
Sunflower seeds are also rich in vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, and vitamin E. Vitamin B1, or thiamine will keep your dog’s nervous system healthy, and vitamin B3 will lower his blood pressure. Again, vitamin B6 will maintain his blood sugar levels, and vitamin B12 will promote his blood cells. Lastly, vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and protects against inflammation and heart disease.
You will also find some essential minerals in sunflower seeds. Such as phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, manganese, folate, copper, and zinc. Phosphorus is a great substitute to maintain cell and tissue growth. Selenium enhances immunity, whereas magnesium promotes healthy muscles and bones. On the other hand, folate keeps the homocysteine level in check, copper promotes red blood cells, and zinc promotes wound healing.
Sunflower seeds also have a type of unsaturated fat called linoleic acid. Its small quantities can offer a normal function to your dog’s body and keep his skin and fur smooth.
Risks Of Having Sunflower Seeds For Dogs
Your dog may have to deal with side effects if he doesn’t consume sunflower seeds in the right way or in the right amount. As said earlier, canned or salted sunflower seeds have added salt and other additives. They are designed for humans, not dogs.
Consuming these ingredients can make your paw friend’s health worse. He may have to deal with sodium toxicosis, which can result in dehydration. Also, the high sodium content can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, seizures, etc.
Eating too many sunflower seeds can also be the reason for your dog’s unhealthy condition. A ¼ cup of sunflower seeds contains 163 calories and 14 grams of fat. It means that having high amounts of sunflower seeds means having high amounts of calories and fibre. Vets usually restrict dogs from ingesting too much fat, as it can inflame the pancreas. Again, too many calories can increase your dog’s weight, which can lead to obesity.
Another problem is the gastrointestinal blockage that occurs when dogs eat sunflower seeds with shells.
As said earlier, these seeds are high in fibre. It means they can cure constipation but worsen a sensitive stomach. So if your dog has a sensitive stomach, eating too many sunflower seeds can cause diarrhoea and vomiting.
How Much Sunflower Seeds Can Dogs Have?
Since waiting for too many flower seeds can cause adverse effects on dogs, it is important to know the right amount. Usually, we decide the amount of food for dogs based on their size.
If he is a small breed, you can offer him ¼ teaspoon of shelled sunflower seeds. If he is a medium breed, the amount should be half a teaspoon, and if he is a large breed, one teaspoon would be fine. This is the amount of sunflower seeds that a dog can eat at one time. Well, small dogs should not have more than 20 seeds a week, and large dogs should not have more than 40 seeds a week.
When Can Dogs Have Sunflower Seeds?
Sunflower seeds are safe for dogs, but that doesn’t mean dogs can have them in every situation. For example, the high-fat content in sunflower seeds can inflame a dog’s pancreas if taken in large amounts. Hence, you should not give them to a dog that is already struggling with pancreatitis.
Sunflower seeds are also high in calories. These can be a good addition for dogs who need to put on some weight. Not for dogs that are overweight or obese.
These seeds have unsaturated fats, which dogs must have in small quantities. If your dog’s diet already includes unsaturated fats, you should avoid sunflower seeds for him. Their fibre content can be helpful to aid constipation. So make sure your dog doesn’t eat them when they have an upset stomach.
Frequently Asked Questions: Can Dogs Have Sunflower Seeds?
What is better for dogs, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds?
Both pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are safe for dogs in small quantities. However, sunflower seeds are a better option as they are high in protein compared to pumpkin seeds. Meanwhile, dogs also seek protein in foods.
What should you do when dogs eat sunflower seed shells?
We know eating sunflower seed shells can be risky for dogs as they can cause intestinal blockage. If your dog ever eats them, consult with your vet immediately. He may prescribe some medicines to smother out the GI tract.
Can sunflower seed shells kill dogs?
Well, consuming one shell of a sunflower seed won’t pose adverse health threats to dogs. But if they eat many shells, that can be hazardous for their GI tract. Dogs, especially those with small oesophagi, can have severe side effects from it, which can be life-threatening.
What happens if dogs eat salted sunflower seeds?
Salted sunflower seeds can increase the blood pressure level in dogs, which can result in dehydration. They can feel restless and excessively thirsty at that time. So offer them raw or unsalted seeds.
After learning about some exceptions to sunflower needs, we may still think, Can dogs have sunflower seeds? The answer is yes if it is in small quantities, the seeds are unsalted, and the dog is not allergic. Besides, you can offer them to your dog when they don’t have constipation, pancreatitis, obesity, or other health issues.
Let’s say your dog is healthy enough to consume sunflower seeds. Yet, you must ask your vet first. Because sometimes the health records of dogs restrict them from eating certain foods, even if they seem healthy for them.