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Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds? Vet Approved Nutrition Facts & FAQ

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds

Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds? Vet Approved Nutrition Facts & FAQ


Dr. Alice Athow-Frost Photo


Dr. Alice Athow-Frost

BVM BVS MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs are not typically picky when it comes to what they’ll eat. Most dog owners have caught their pups picking stuff out of the garbage to munch on! So, it should come as no surprise if a dog is interested in eating sunflower seeds. The question is, should dogs eat sunflower seeds? Are they healthy for our furry friends? The short answer is that yes, dogs can eat sunflower seeds occasionally. They do have health benefits, but there are also concerns that should be addressed. Read on to learn more.

The Benefits of Feeding Sunflower Seeds to Dogs

Sunflower seeds have a variety of nutrients that can benefit a dog’s health, though they don’t contain anything special that they can’t get from other food sources, such as commercial dog food recipes. Sunflower seeds should be thought of as occasional treats or snacks only. Here are a few of the nutrients in sunflower seeds that dogs can benefit from overall.

sunflowerseeds closeup
Image By: Pikist

Sunflower Seed Nutritional Facts

Nutrient Amount Per Cup (240g) Benefits to the body
Protein 29.1 g Supports strong bones, muscle function and growth
Fiber 12 g Aids in proper digestion and elimination
Calcium 109 mg Builds strong bones, teeth, heart health, muscle function
Vitamin B6 1.88 mg ed blood cell and nervous system function
Manganese 2.73 mg Assists with the absorption of carbohydrates and proteins, collagen building for strong ligaments

Sunflower seeds also contain essential fatty acids, which studies have shown may benefit dogs by improving their skin and coat health. The seeds also contain antioxidants, including Vitamin E and selenium that help to see off free-radicals and have anti-cancer properties.

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The Concerns of Feeding Sunflower Seeds to Dogs

Sunflower seeds are high in fat, so feeding too many of them to your pup could contribute to unwanted weight gain, which could result in problems like obesity, arthritis and diabetes. Sunflower seeds that are still in their hulls do not break down in the digestive system, so they have the potential to cause a blockage and/or gastrointestinal pain. Sunflower seeds with added sugar or salt are not advisable.  Too much salt can contribute to problems like high blood pressure, and sugars can contribute to weight gain.   Unflavoured, unsalted, hulled sunflower seeds are the best option for pups.

obese golden labrador retriever dog looking upwards while it sits in the grass peacefully
Image By: iLight photo

Frequent Asked Questions

How Should Sunflower Seeds Be Fed to Dogs?

Make sure the sunflower seeds are shelled and unsalted, then just offer a few seeds to your pup either by hand as a treat or in their food as a supplement.

What If My Dog Eats Sunflower Seeds With Hulls on Them?

If your dog eats only a few sunflower seeds with hulls on them, you should keep an eye out for digestive discomfort, but they should be fine. However, if they eat a whole bag of them, contact your veterinarian for guidance and advice.

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Is Sunflower Butter Okay for Dogs to Eat?

Dogs can eat sunflower butter if no added salts, sugars or sweeteners are listed in the ingredients. As with peanut butter, sunflower butter can sometimes be sweetened with xylitol, a sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs. Always check the ingredients thoroughly and never give your dog anything containing xylitol.  Sunflower butter should be treated like sunflower seeds, as an occasional treat or snack.

Is Sunflower Oil Okay to Give to Dogs?

Sunflower oil is not toxic to dogs, but it contains a . large amount of fat, so it doesn’t do any favors when it comes to weight management. Therefore, it is best to avoid giving any sunflower oil to your pup, or keep it to a very occasional treat.  If you are occasionally adding sunflower oil to your dog’s dinner, keep it to under a teaspoon of oil per 30 pounds of body weight.

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In Conclusion

Dogs can safely eat sunflower seeds, but they are high in fat and should be offered only occasionally. Make sure any sunflower seeds that you do offer your pup lack shells and are not seasoned with salt or sugar.  If you are using a sunflower butter, make sure this is salt, sugar and sweetener free also.  If you are ever in doubt, consult your veterinarian before adding any sunflower seeds or oil to your dog’s diet.

Featured Image Credit: nonnatthapat, Pixabay

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