So, your dog tends to eat almost everything, but you keep wondering what he should or shouldn’t eat.
As a responsible pet parent, you have reason to feel concerned. Here, we’ll explore another food product you may be concerned about: sunflower seeds.
Can dogs eat sunflower seeds?
It is extremely important to know what your furry friend can and cannot eat, simply because many human foods are harmful to dogs.
Some are even toxic for them and could lead to death if they consume them in large amounts. There are numerous foods we as humans can eat, but our dogs can’t. These include chocolate, grapes, raisins and onion.
Therefore, it is always best to do your research before feeding certain foods to your dog, especially if you are in doubt. In any case, you want the best for your best friend and don’t want him to get sick!
In this article, we’ll discuss dogs and sunflower seeds. Can dogs have sunflower seeds safely? If so, are there any benefits?
But first things first –What are Sunflower Seeds?
Despite their name, sunflower seeds are basically the fruits of the sunflower plant and not seeds.
The sunflower seeds are pointed and consist of a black external shell and an inner kernel, which is the edible part.
So, can-dogs-have-sunflower seeds safely? Let’s find out below.
Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?
The short answer to this question is a definite Yes. Your pooch can consume sunflower seeds safely if you choose the right types and feed them correctly.
More importantly, keep in mind that any seeds should be peeled before they are given to a dog.
Moreover, they shouldn’t be salted since high levels of sodium can lead to health problems like high blood pressure.
Your pup can eat the seed’s kernel safely, but he should not eat the sunflower seed shells. If your dog ingests the shelled seeds, he may suffer from health complications such as diarrhea and stomach upsets.
Sunflower seeds are highly nutritious and have powerful antioxidant properties. They are rich in Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6 as well as small traces of minerals such as copper, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.
Also, sunflower seeds are rich in carbs, protein, fats and fiber.
So that should give you the answer to the question “are sunflower seeds good for dogs?”
Like most other nuts or seeds, the sunflower seeds may be good for skin health.
Although more research needs to be done on the effect of sunflower seeds on a dog’s coat hair and skin, studies on people have shown clear improvements.
But can dogs eat sunflower seeds and enjoy the same benefits? Well, this seems to be the case provided they eat them safely. They are a full of mainly healthy fats and other components and minerals listed above.
Sunflower seeds have in fact proven to improve a dog’s skin and coat hair. It is important to realize that dogs can actually benefit from eating sunflower seeds and research has confirmed this as well.
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The Health Benefits of Dogs Eating Sunflower Seeds
They maintain the health of a dog’s coat hair and skin. Sunflower seeds are rich in fatty acids, which help improve a dog’s coat hair and skin.
They are also a great source of vitamins and a powerful antioxidant that counteracts the damaging cells in the body.
They help reduce the level of bad cholesterol (LDL). They can also improve the levels of good cholesterol in the system. This is because unlike many other types of seeds or nuts, sunflower seeds have a slightly low level of saturated fats.
They aid in the bone mineralization. Sunflower seeds contain calcium, which is important for building bones.
However, it is not just calcium that is essential for bone mineralization. Copper, magnesium and phosphorus are also essential for bone mineralization.
They help promote a restful sleep. This is because these seeds have an amino acid known as tryptophan, which is an important element of serotonin.
Are Sunflower Seeds Bad For Dogs?
“Help! My dog ate sunflower seeds should I be worried?”
If you come home and realize you dog ate sunflower seeds, there isn’t much to be worried about. Problems arise only if the dog eats the sunflower seeds shells or consumes a lot of sunflower seeds at the same time.
Are Salted Sunflower Seeds Toxic for Dogs? Are sunflower seeds poisonous to dogs?
Salted sunflower seeds are not poisonous themselves, but too much salt in them can lead to extreme thirst, frequent urination and possible sodium poisoning.
Symptoms may include vomiting, tremors, diarrhea, high blood pressure and even seizures.
It is important to appreciate the fact that these symptoms are extremely dangerous and could even result in death.
This means that while salted sunflower seeds are not toxic, you should avoid feeding these to your pooch because they are likely to harm your pet’s digestive system.
You can feed your dog sunflower seeds or roasted sunflower seeds, provided they don’t have any salt or flavors added to them.
Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seed Shells?
As we’ve mentioned above, sunflower seed shells can be harmful to dogs and therefore, you should not allow your pet to eat them.
Shelled sunflower seeds are indigestible and can lead to serious problems if they get stuck in the gastrointestinal tract. Obviously, animals can’t chew them up well as humans do.
If not split or chewed well, shells can cause a stomach upset. On the other hand, the sharp pieces of sunflower seed shells may cause esophageal distress or even damage a dog’s digestive tract.
If you come home and realize that your dog ate a lot of shelled sunflower seeds, the first thing you need to do is to try and make him vomit.
What about Sunflower Seed Oil?
Sunflower seed oil can be harmful to dogs and may cause symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.
But is it really toxic?
There’s no need to panic as your dog is going to be fine. You simply need to give him plenty of water immediately to help empty his stomach and avoid giving him any other food for several hours.
Nonetheless, a large amount of sunflower seed oil may lead to inflammation of the pancreas, particularly if he is a puppy or a small dog. Large dogs are usually safe.
Besides, it is a good idea to contact your vet as soon as possible if your puppy or adult dog ingests sunflower seeds oil.
How Much Is Too Much?
There are 269 calories in 46 grams of shelled sunflower seeds, so you should feed them in moderation.
A general rule of the thumb is to feed no more than 10 to 20 sunflower seeds to a puppy or small dog and no more than 20 to 40 seeds to a larger dog per week. This doesn’t seem much, but avoid feeding them more.
Sunflower seeds have a high amount of fat, so you should avoid giving your dog a lot of seeds at the same time.
Sunflower seeds must also not form a large part of your dog’s diet.
Giving them as an occasional treat is fine, but giving them in large amounts can lead to serious health issues.
Precautions for Giving Sunflower Seeds to Dogs
By now you know that the answer to the question “can-dogs-eat-sunflower seeds” is a definite yes.
However, you need to know that sunflower seeds are harmful to dogs in certain circumstances, so you need to take some precautions as a responsible pet owner.
Below are some important things to bear in mind if you want your furry friend to eat sunflower seeds safely:
1. You should not feed him a lot of sunflower seeds: you should limit the amount of sunflower seeds you give to your dog. These seeds have high fat content, which may cause stomach distress.
2. Go for unshelled sunflower seeds: giving shelled sunflower seeds to any dog can be dangerous since the shells are difficult to digest and can be a choking hazard.
If a dog ingests a lot of shelled sunflower seeds, it can lead to gastrointestinal obstruction or blockage, which can easily become a life threatening situation.
3. Avoid salted sunflower seeds: many commercial seeds meant for people are salted.
Allowing your puppy or adult dog to eat salted sunflower seeds can lead to serious health problems, including sodium toxicosis. Symptoms include frequent urination, excessive thirst, diarrhea, vomiting and even seizures.
So, can dogs eat sunflower seeds and not suffer any problems? The simple answer is yes.
Dogs can consume sunflower seeds with no problems if you feed them in small amounts and with care.
Some pets love sunflower seeds and there isn’t much to worry about if your beloved dog eats them in moderation.
Small quantities of sunflower seeds are actually good for your dog. However, dog owners should only purchase natural seeds with no salt, spices or flavors added to them. You should also ensure that the sunflower seeds are peeled before serving them to your pet.
If you comply with the above instructions, sunflower seeds can actually help enhance a dog’s coat health and encourage the production of good cholesterol, among other health benefits.
So go ahead and feed your dog small amounts of unshelled, unsalted sunflower seeds if he likes them – but do so in moderation!
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