Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds

Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Sunflower seeds can be eaten by dogs, but they cannot consume the outer shell. Consuming the shell can cause digestive problems. Similarly, we shouldn’t eat the outer layer of a sunflower shell either. You should also make sure the sunflower seeds you give your dog are unsalted and plain without any added flavors, such as ranch sunflower seeds.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?“.

Most people enjoy sunflower seeds as a healthy and delicious snack. Do you think your dog would enjoy it as well? In this article I explain the answer to the question: can dogs eat sunflower seeds? Are sunflower seeds poisonous to dogs? Continue reading to find out.

Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds

Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?

Sunflower seeds can be eaten by dogs but they cannot consume the outer shell. Consuming the shell can cause digestive problems. Similarly we should not eat the outer layer of a sunflower shell either. You should also make sure the sunflower seeds you give your dog are unsalted and plain without any added flavors such as ranch sunflower seeds.

If your dog consumes too much sodium it can be very harmful to him. It can result in high blood pressure in the future. You should only give your dog small amounts of sunflower seeds that way you will not overdo it and you will ensure that your dog is not allergic or reacts negatively.

Do Sunflower Seeds Have Any Health Benefits for your Dog?

Sunflower seeds are not toxic to dogs but they do not have as many health benefits as human foods but you will notice an improvement in your dogs skin coat good cholesterol and overall health.

Skin and Coat Health

The seeds of sunflowers contain fatty acids. Your dogs skin and coat need fatty acids to be healthy. It may greatly improve your dogs skin and coat especially if your dog has trouble with itchy skin.

The sunflower seed is rich in unsaturated fats so your dog can benefit from its consumption. Your dogs skin and coat will look healthier and shinier after eating the sunflower seed.

Produces Healthy Cholesterol

Additionally fatty acids help to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in your dogs body. As a result the level of cholesterol in your dogs body may improve. As these levels improve you can also reduce things like high blood pressure making your dog healthier.

Vitamin E

Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E. Just one ounce of sunflower seeds will provide your dog with all the vitamin E it needs in one day. Vitamin E is responsible for many processes such as creating cell membranes assisting with cell respiration and protecting itself against free radical damage.

How Many Sunflower Seeds Can Dogs Have?

You might be surprised to learn that dogs do not need a lot of sunflower seeds to benefit from their nutritional content. First make sure the sunflower seeds you are about to give your dog have no salt or flavorings and are already shelled.

Sunflower seeds are only necessary for small breeds of dogs. Obviously this isnot much but your dog will be happy with it. Make sure not to overfeed your dog. The recommended daily amount for a large dog breed is between 20 and 40 sunflower seeds.

Adding sunflower seeds to your dogs food or mixing them into it is an easy way to give them sunflower seeds. Their usual food will become more exciting with sunflower seeds.

You should also start with a few sunflower seeds if this is the first time you’re giving your dog sunflower seeds. In case your dog shows strange behavior or even develops a rash it could mean your dog is allergic to something.

Do Sunflower Seeds Have Side Effects for Your Dog?

Despite the fact that sunflower seeds are safe for dogs there are certain things to keep in mind that could have a negative effect.

Sunflower Seeds are Usually Salted

In the store you can find sunflower seed packages with salt on them. Despite their appearance most of the time they are roasted and salted even if they do not seem to have added flavors.

You may have difficulty finding sunflower seeds that are not salted. Check the ingredient list carefully and if it contains salt you should stay away from that package. You should never feed your dog salted seeds. They can cause serious health problems.

Shell On

Sunflower seeds have a shell on most commercially available types. Shelled sunflower seeds should not be fed to your dog as the shell can cause serious health problems.

Your dog may develop a blockage in his digestive tract after digesting a sunflower seed. This can cause your dog to throw up or have trouble making bowel movements which would require a visit to the veterinarian.

You will need to remove the shell from the sunflower seed by hand before giving it to your dog if you purchase it unsalted but with the shell on it.

Limit the Amount Given to your Dog

Sunflower seeds are still not something you want to give your dog in excess. You might be surprised to learn that dogs do not need too many to get the necessary fatty acids and nutrients.

There is a limit to the number of natural oils and fatty acids that can be consumed from the seeds. Make sure you only feed your dog a small amount to avoid making your dog feel sick from the amount eaten.

Can Dogs Have Sunflower Oil?

The sunflower oil in your dogs food may have already been introduced to his diet. It may surprise you to learn that sunflower oil is actually used in most dog foods to give your dog a dose of fatty acids.

From above you may remember that fatty acids are beneficial to the skin and the cost of your dog. It may be necessary to apply sunflower oil to dogs whose coat is dry.

You can also buy this as a supplement for your dog. You can buy the oil or a pill. Whenever you give your dog a supplement you should always consult your veterinarian first.

Can Dogs Have Sunflower Seed Butter?

Can dogs eat sunflower butter? Yes but it does contain quite a bit of calorie. Sunflower seeds have more fat and calories than regular roasted seeds. Everything is more manageable with a little moderation.

Peoples snacks are not allowed for dogs and the snacks dogs do get should not make up more than 10% of their daily diet.

What’s Better Store Bought or Homegrown Sunflower Seeds?

Your sunflower seeds are clearly not in competition if you have grown them yourself. They will probably taste better and be better for your dog. With store-bought food you do not know where it comes from and there may be other ingredients added in addition to sunflower seeds.

It will take much longer to grow your own and wait for the flower to die before you can harvest the seeds. I suggest experimenting with growing your own seeds if you have plenty of time on your hands and are not in a rush to acquire them.

At the end of the growing season you will see that the sunflower is ready for harvest. After the leaves start to die back and the flowers turn brown you can cut the head from the stock and begin to remove the plump seeds.

A process of rinsing and soaking in water overnight will then be necessary to clean these seeds thoroughly. After the seeds have been soaked overnight they can be drained and put on a baking sheet to be roasted the next day.

Upon completion of the baking process you will have sunflower seeds that are ready to eat. It is necessary to deshell the seed before sharing it with your dog.

Where Can You Get Unsalted Shelled Sunflower Seeds?

In my case I find it very difficult to find unsalted varieties at my local grocery stores. I’m guessing many people prefer the salted variety but your dog will not. Shelled sunflower seeds were however available online without salting. In addition to being organic they were also very affordable. Check out the link below for more details. Try looking for a product at smaller specialty stores if you do not want to buy it online.


So are sunflower seeds safe for dogs to eat? I would say yes but remember to give your dog human treats in moderation. There are some treats that dogs can enjoy but too much can be harmful. Your dogs health will be improved by the fatty acids contained in the seed. Have you ever given sunflower seeds to your dog? Tell us in the comments what your dog thought about it.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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