Yes. Dogs can eat the sunflower seeds from time to time as long as they don’t include salt and the shell. The shell of the sunflower seed can be very risky for dogs, as it causes diarrhea and severe gastrointestinal distress. Seeds alone won’t make an issue, but there are things to consider.
I won’t exaggerate though, and I’ll explain why it’s better to keep sunflower seeds as a tasty treat and not make them a habit for your dog.
Sunflower Seeds Are Not Toxic for Dogs
On the contrary, they can have positive effects if fed in small amounts. According to a study developed by the College of Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University, dogs that eat sunflower seeds show temporary improvement in their skin and coat.
On top of this, these seeds have a low saturated fat content and are rich in iron, selenium, and Vitamins E and B8. They can help reduce cholesterol levels and can even make your dog happier.
Sunflower seeds have no side effects if you respect these three rules:
- no shells, because they’re hard to digest;
- no salt, because it can be poisonous for dogs;
- no flavors, as many are obtained using artificial ingredients that can harm your dog.
How Much Sunflower Seeds Should We Give Them?
Each cup (1.62 oz. / 46 grams) of sunflower seeds has 269 calories, so you should pay attention to quantities. As a guideline, you should give no more than 10-20 seeds to a small dog, and 20-40 seeds to a large dog, no more than once a week. It doesn’t seem like much, but don’t feed them more. Use these recommended small amounts of seeds to make cookies or other tasty treats, instead.
Sunflowers are not just high in calories, but also in fats, and too many can cause serious health problems for your dog. Quantities should be even smaller when giving them sunflower seed oil or sunflower seed butter, as they’re even higher in fats and calories.If you have any doubts about how many calories your dog needs, you can use this formula provided by Dr. Shea Cox:
Daily calorie needs = 30 x (your pet’s weight in kilograms) + 70.
Dogs can eat sunflower seeds, but the benefits that come with them aren’t worth the risks, so I wouldn’t feed her these regularly. It’s OK to give her a few seeds once in awhile, but I prefer to keep my dogs on a balanced diet, where Vitamin E and fatty acids come from safer sources.
What do you think? Does your dog like sunflower seeds? Leave us a comment and share with us your experience with this food and its effects on your dog.