Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of iron, vitamin E, and copper for humans, but can dogs eat them too? The short answer is, yes, dogs can eat sunflower seeds. However, before you race off and start feeding your pet handfuls of tasty sunflower seeds, there are a few things that you should know.
Positives about sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are packed full of energy and nutritional goodness and as a supplement or treat, can be a good addition to your dog’s diet.
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Besides being a tasty and enjoyable treat for your dog, sunflower seeds contain essential fatty acids, which studies have shown can help improve your dog’s skin and coat.
Sunflower seeds also contain a high percentage of vitamin E, which is an essential part of the canine diet and a natural antioxidant that is useful in lowering cholesterol. Vitamin E can also help with the metabolic processes that produce energy within your pet’s body.
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However, as with many seeds, sunflower seeds are high in carbohydrates and fats, and for this reason, you should only feed them to your dog occasionally and even then, only in moderation.
How to feed sunflower seeds to your dog
If you are buying sunflower seeds for your dog, you should purchase the peeled and unsalted variety. Most dogs will enjoy the soft inner kernel of the seed, but the tough outer husk can cause severe gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea. Salted seeds should be avoided, as too much salt can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease in your pet.
Sunflower seeds are extremely tasty, and as such, it is unlikely that you’ll have any trouble getting your dog to eat them. Therefore, they can be feed directly to your dog as a snack or mixed into their meal to add flavor.
What about sunflower seed butter?
Dogs can eat sunflower seed butter, and the chances are that they will enjoy it. In fact, you may find that your dog likes sunflower seed butter more than peanut butter. However, as sunflower seed butter is extremely high in calories, it should only be given as a special treat.
Can dogs have sunflower seed oil?
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Sunflower seed oil isn’t toxic to dogs and can be safely consumed by your pet. However, there is no real reason to add it to their diet, and as such, it is best avoided.
A final point to consider
While feeding your dog sunflower seeds may sound like a good thing to do, the fact is that in most cases, there is no real need to add any supplements to your dog’s diet.
All the essential vitamins and minerals that your dog requires can be found in commercial dog foods, and provided that you feed your dog with a product that is a “complete and balanced diet,” the only reason to give your pet sunflower seeds or products made from sunflower seeds is as a tasty and enjoyable treat.
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