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Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds? Are Sunflower Seeds Bad For Dogs?

Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds? Are Sunflower Seeds Bad For Dogs?

Sunflower seeds are the fruit of the sunflower. They can be enjoyed in a variety of ways – in smoothies, salads, different dishes and they can be eaten alone – as a snack!

Since you decided to eat healthier meals, you bought a large bag of sunflower seeds. You know they’re good for you – but you don’t know exactly how. It doesn’t even matter, because the seeds are delicious and they complement any meal!

Unfortunately, your dog feels the same way about the sunflower seeds as well. As soon as you start rumbling through the bag of seeds, your pet starts to jump around the kitchen and look at you with those big, cartoon eyes.

You usually don’t think much about it, and just give your pet a bite or two of whatever you’re making. Sure, you know what’s safe and what isn’t, mostly. What about sunflower seeds?

To find out can dogs eat sunflower seeds, are they safe for them or rather dangerous, continue reading our article!

Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?

Without any further delay, yes, dogs can eat sunflower seeds. This food is perfectly safe for your pet, and it can have some positive effects on overall health.

So, don’t worry about it – if your pet eats some, everything’s probably fine. Whenever your pet eats something new, watch how they’re behaving. If you notice anything unusual, stop using this new food immediately. Otherwise, everything is good.

Dogs can have food allergies, too – and they can have allergies to the most common food items. If the dog seems to be allergic or sensitive to sunflower seeds, you can use flax seeds which have similar benefits for dogs. Also, make sure to introduce sunflower seeds to the pet’s diet before you give them a full portion. 

Introducing Sunflower Seeds To Your Pet’s Diet

Introducing a new food item is important if you want your pet to have a great time eating something new. Introducing consists of giving your pet a small quantity of the unfamiliar food, and gradually increasing the amount until you reach a full meal.

Dogs can be put off by new food, especially if it looks nothing like meat. Dogs are omnivores, but they need more meat than vegetables in their diet to thrive. So, give them a few sunflower seeds – stir it in their regular dog food and they’ll eat it right up. Next time, add a few more, etc.

Benefits Of Dogs Eating Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds can have a great influence on your and your pet’s health. Eating sunflower seeds can have visible positive effects on your dog. It won’t be long before you see your pet doing better and being more playful!

Let’s check out the nutritional value of 1 ounce of shelled (hulled) sunflower seeds:

Total Carbohydrates6.7g
Dietary Fiber3.1g
Total Fat 13.9g
Saturated Fat1.5g
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)7.3mg
Vitamin B60.2mg

So, we can conclude that sunflower seeds have a lot of valuable nutrients. They are beneficial to your dog’s health, but in what ways?

Let’s see – ingesting sunflower seeds can:

Improve dog’s coat and skin:Fatty acids in these seeds promote healthy skin and fur and prevent rashes
Produce good cholesterol and lower the bad cholesterol:Essential fatty acids balance the cholesterol which lowers the blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart failure
Shield the skin from free radicals:Vitamin E in sunflower seeds is a powerful antioxidant which protects from oxygen-free radicals
Reduce anxiety and depression:Magnesium can have a calming effect on canines
Preserve the overall health:Minerals in these seeds keep your dog wagging her tail

Sunflower seeds can be a great addition to a balanced diet. Thankfully, your pet doesn’t need many seeds often to really benefit from eating them – less is more for sunflower seeds!

Serving Sunflower Seeds To Your Dog

Whenever you’re serving any type of seeds to your pet, the principal rule is that you must peel them – every time, with no exceptions. Most bags of seeds you can find in supermarkets come shelled, which is the best choice, and we’ll explain why.

Sunflower seeds that you buy pre-peeled are usually fried and they have a high calorie and fat count. Too much fat can be tough on the pup’s tummy. So, if you’re feeling lazy and you don’t feel like peeling a bunch of seeds, opt for a bag of peeled seeds marked ‘baked’ or ‘natural’ – as this is the option with less oil. Shelled seeds don’t have any oil in them – which is why they are the best.

Although, your pet should never eat the shell of this seed, as it’s hard to digest. The shell of a sunflower seed is hard and it can get lodged in the dog’s mouth or somewhere in the gastrointestinal tract – which can be a potential life hazard. 

One more thing – when buying sunflower seeds, look for a package with no salt added. We know that sunflower seeds with salt simply taste better, but they’re not the better option for your pup. Dogs don’t need the extra sodium from salt – so it’s best avoided.

Dogs who ingest too much sodium regularly can develop a disease called sodium toxicosis. This disease can have a mild or severe effect on your dog, so please be careful about every food you serve to her! If your dog seems to walk drunk, is overly thirsty, or urinates too frequently, go to the emergency veterinarian as soon as possible!

Dosing The Sunflower Seeds

When you decide to give some sunflower seeds to your pet, you shouldn’t overdo it. Improper dosage can be dangerous, so read this part carefully.

Dosage according to the dog size:

Toy breedsSmall breedsMedium breedsLarge breeds
10 seeds20 seeds30 seeds40 seeds

So, this seems fairly easy. Make sure to use proper sunflower seeds – peeled, unsalted, and your puppy will enjoy eating them.

Also, don’t use sunflower seeds daily. The table above should be used as a rule of thumb for a week’s consumption of seeds. Your pet can eat them in one meal, or you can spread it throughout the week, your choice.

Using Sunflower Seeds As A Snack

Sunflower seeds can be a great snack on certain occasions. They are not the greatest food item to be eaten regularly, but they are fine once a week or less.

Just remember the 10% rule – snacks shouldn’t make up more than 10% of the daily food consumed!

If The Dog Eats Too Much Sunflower Seeds

Sometimes, you don’t pay attention to your pet at the wrong moment, and bad things happen. This time, your dog ate a whole bag of sunflower seeds. What is there to do now?

Eating too much can cause serious health problems for your pet because it can be difficult to digest. The pet can get diarrhea or worse, it can experience some intestinal distress. Either way, a trip to the vet is the best idea for peace of mind.

Be more careful next time and always keep away the bag of sunflower seeds away from the pet. 


So, we’ve concluded that dogs can eat sunflower seeds, and they can do it without you worrying about their wellbeing. There are a few rules that have to be followed, though.

First of all, not all sunflower seeds are safe for your pet. Choose a bag of seeds labeled baked or natural – oil in fried seeds can give your pet tummy woes.

Next, peel the seeds – if they have hulls, they can get stuck in your pet’s digestive system. That will, inevitably, result in a rather expensive trip to the emergency vet. No matter how lazy you’re feeling, peel the seeds for the dog!

Preparing the seeds for your dog can be a bit of a hassle, we agree. But, the sunflower seeds are very beneficial to the pet’s wellbeing. In just a few weeks of eating sunflower seeds, the dog will be more playful, the fur will be shinier and it will look like your pet is glowing!

Taking care of your pet was never easy – but it pays off. Among other things, eating sunflower seeds will preserve the dog’s health and prolong its life span – so your pet is by your side for years to come!

Learn More: What Can Dogs Eat? A Comprehensive List Of Dog-safe Foods