Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds? How To Feed Sunflower Seeds Safely To Your Pups?

Does your little dog eat sunflower seeds? Would they be a safe snack for Fido? In the language of flowers, the sunflower represents loyalty and adoration, a perfect flower to represent the dog.

They can also represent longevity, vitality, healthy life, and provision, all the things you want for your dog. The seeds of the sunflower were used as food by the Native Americans over three thousand years ago. 

The oils from the plant were often used as medicine and the Incans wore the blossoms to honor their sun god. There are sixty distinct species of the genus Helianthus. The Helianthus annuus is the species most often harvested for seeds.

Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?

The sunflower is the state flower of Kansas due to its sunny color and association with the harvest. It is also the national flower of Ukraine, a country very dependent on farming. Vegans have adopted the blossom as their symbol.

Vincent van Gogh often painted these flowers. One wonders if eating the seeds of the sunflower would have helped the troubled artist’s depression. The amino acids in sunflower seeds have been known to create high levels of serotonin.


Sunflower seeds are a popular snack even now often put on salads, stiff fries, or trail mix or just eaten on their own. Sunflower seeds can be found in pet food meant for birds and rodents but are they good for dogs?

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Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?

The sunflower seed itself is quite safe to give to your dog. Its other things the sunflower seed might come with that might not be good for your dog.

For example, the artificial sweetener xylitol must be avoided as it can cause liver failure. If the seeds were part of a trail mix they may have come in contact with foods your dog should not have such as macadamia nuts, raisins, anything with chocolate or black walnuts.


Would Sunflower Seeds With Salt On Them Be Toxic For Dogs?

Here’s another additive your pupper really does not need. Too much salt is not good for your dog. It can lead to grievous health problems such as sodium toxicosis.

If your dog totally loses their sense of balance, vomits a lot, or suffers diarrhea, seizures, or excessive thirst and urination he may have been poisoned by too much salt.

It’s best not to give your four-legged friend any salt at all if you can help it. Even small amounts can cause Fido to get dehydrated very quickly.


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Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seed With Shells or Without Shells?

Take the shells off first or buy already shelled seeds. The shells are not only hard to digest but they may present a choking hazard and really are just not good for Fido’s teeth. Any blockage or obstruction in your dog’s digestive tract could be disastrous.

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How May a Sunflower Seed’s Artificial Flavor Harm Your Dog?

You might think Fido would like “BBQ Flavored” sunflower seeds, but you’d be very wrong. These seeds contain many of the pungent spices found in barbecue rubs such as onions and garlic not to mention a lot of salt.

We’ve already discussed what salt can do to a dog. Onions and garlic can give dogs anemia. A lot of flavored sunflower seeds have salt, onions, and garlic in the recipe. Cinnamon seeds lack onions and garlic but still have a little too much salt and sugar. Cocoa powder, chives, black pepper, and nutmeg are also bad for your dog.

Read the ingredient list! Don’t even think about giving Fido the spicy chili-flavored ones.


Benefits of Sunflower Seeds for Dogs

To start with, sunflower seeds are a great antioxidant that is good for overall health. Vitamin E is great for their skin and coat as well as managing cholesterol levels.

Diabetic dogs may find that the magnesium helps them out a lot. Linoleic acid has great benefits for both puppies and seniors. Let’s look more into this.


Sunflower Seeds Can Improve Your Dog’s Skin and Coat

Studies have shown that dogs have marked improvements in their fur, overall coat, and skin after eating sunflower seeds for a period of time.

As sunflower seeds are high in essential fatty acids, adding them as a constant supplement to your dog’s balanced diet can aid your dog in maintaining healthy skin and coat.

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Sunflower Seeds Support Production Of Good Cholesterol

The beneficial fatty acids inside sunflower seeds also motivate the system to lower the production of bad cholesterol and raise up the good cholesterol.

This can all lead to Fido having lower blood pressure and being less likely to suffer heart disease or stroke. Most of this stems from a high concentration of Vitamin E in sunflower seeds.


The Vitamin E In Sunflower Seeds Is A Helpful Antioxidant

One ounce of sunflower seeds is enough to give your canine his daily recommended dose of Vitamin EVitamin E not only aids in the body’s management of cholesterol levels, but it is also vital for the formation of cell respiration fat, metabolism plus the formation of the membranes that coat those cells. It is well known that Vitamin E also aids in protecting the dog’s skin from dangerous anaerobic radicals.

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Sunflower Seeds May Relieve Stress And Depression In Dogs

Yes, dogs get mad moods too! Sunflowers are related to chamomile, an herb used to promote relaxation.

High amounts of magnesium can fight fatigue and depression. B complex vitamins enhance brain activity thus reducing neurosis and anxiety. The tryptophan in sunflower seeds is also known to raise serotonin levels.


Trace Minerals In Sunflower Seeds That Promote Full Body Health In Dogs 

There is a myriad of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and other vital nutrients to be found in sunflower seeds. It would be a great idea to add them to your dog’s diet as they promote health, growth, and well-being throughout the dog’s system.

Check: 37 Cupcake Recipes For Dogs

Nutrition Value of Sunflower Seeds

One ounce of shelled, dry-roasted sunflower seeds contains 9.2 grams of polyunsaturated fat. This is the good fat that your furry friend needs.

It also has a good chunk of Vitamin E as well as Selenium and Copper. We’ve discussed how good Vitamin E is for a dog’s flesh and coat. Selenium is an antioxidant that can fight off cancer and heart disease.

If your pooch has liver problems, you might want to watch their copper intake. However, in healthy dogs, a little copper can act as an antioxidant and immunity booster.


You May Also Learn: Can Dogs Eat Raw, Cooked, Or Frozen Asparagus?

How Much Sunflower Seeds Can My Dog Safely Eat?

That depends on your dog’s daily calorie count along with weight and activity level. The bulk of their daily calories should be from their usual dog food with a ten percent allowance for treats. 

As sunflower seeds have around 165 calories per ounce, that comes to six calories per gram. Remember that sunflower seeds also have a high-fat content so only feed Fido a little at a time.

Are There Any Side Effects to Feeding Dogs Sunflower Seeds?

Sunflower seeds are for the most part though of as safe treats for both you and your furry little friend. Keep in mind that just like with a host of other foods, overdoing it can have some rather noxious side effects.

If you feed Fido too many sunflower seeds it can very well lead to diarrhea and other intestinal distress.

There’s also the problematic possibility that Fido could pack on the pounds if you keep on feeding your fur baby too many treats of any sort.

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Which Of This Has Helped You Most?

What are your experiences with dogs and sunflower seeds?

I personally never thought of it as something they’d like before. I know the cardinals like them. They’ll throw out the other seeds in the feeder to look for sunflower seeds. (For wild birds, they sure can be picky) 

Has any of the above convince you to let your fuzzy buddy try sunflower seeds?

Please feel free to leave a question or comment below and do share this article if you liked it.

Further Readings:

Sunflower Meaning and Symbolism

6 Foods That Affect Your Mood

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