peeled sunflower seeds

Delicious, nutty sunflower seeds are a snack synonymous with summertime. Sunflower seeds contain essential nutrients like iron, vitamin E, and fiber for us humans,– but what about serving sunflowers to our furry friends? Let’s be honest, we’ve all accidentally dropped sunflower seeds onto the ground. If you happen to have a furry vacuum roaming around your home it will probably end up eating your sunflower seeds at some point, –but don’t worry, your dog can eat sunflower seeds.

Sunflower seeds are safe for dogs and nontoxic. However, dogs should only eat them in small amounts. Before you race off and start sharing handful after handful of your sunflower seed snack with your pooch, there are a few things you need to be mindful of.

How to Feed Sunflower Seeds to Your Dog

If you are intent on sharing sunflower seeds and buying sunflower seeds specifically for your dog, you need to purchase the peeled and unsalted variety. The salted and flavored sunflower seeds are actually toxic for your dog, as too much salt can lead to salt poisoning.

Salted seeds, like any overly salted foods, should be generally avoided. When offering our canine companions sunflower seeds, it’s up to us to make sure they are free of any harmful ingredients and additives. Although your dog would have to consume a large amount of salted or flavored sunflower seeds in order for any problems to occur, it is generally safer to keep them out of your dog’s reach.

You should only be feeding your dog the soft, tender inner part of the seed (the part we like to snack on, too). The tough, outer husk can cause pain, severe gastrointestinal distress, and diarrhea.

sunflower seeds in wooden bowl
Image courtesy of Pixabay

How Many Sunflower Seeds Can My Dog Eat?

Sunflower seeds are an extremely tasty snack, even unsalted. It is unlikely that you’ll have any issues getting your dog to eat sunflower seeds. You may even have a problem getting them to stop. You can feed sunflower seeds to your dog as a snack or you can mix it into its regular food as an added treat.

It is not recommended to give a small dog more than 10–20 sunflower seeds a week, and a large dog should not exceed more than 20–40 seeds per week. While this may not seem like a large amount, you need to be mindful of the quantities when feeding your dogs sunflower seeds—no matter your dog’s size.

Benefits of Sunflower Seeds for Dogs

Sunflower seeds contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals—all of which are an excellent addition to your dog’s diet if previously missing.

Studies have shown that sunflower seeds also improve your dog’s skin and coat.  They contain a high percentage of vitamin E, which is a natural antioxidant that lowers cholesterol and an essential part of any canine diet. Also, sunflower seeds contain magnesium which can reduce fatigue, stress, and depression in dogs. The seeds are also packed with B vitamins, which help improve brain activity and reduce anxiety.

Final Thoughts

The decision to add adding sunflower seeds to your dog’s diet is entirely up to you. While feeding your dog sunflower seeds as a supplement may sound like a great idea, there is no real need to do so, and it is purely your choice unless otherwise directed by a veterinarian. Sunflower seeds are a beneficial and safe treat for your dog when you follow a few general safety guidelines.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay