Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds? Benefits & Side Effects for Dogs

Sunflower Seeds

You might be asking yourself the question, can dogs eat sunflower seeds? The sunflower seeds are considered to be the epitome of any lazy summer afternoon snack. You might have at one point spent some of your time devouring these little and salty seeds at the baseball dugout or at the front porch.

It does not matter if you like doing the work of shelling the sunflower seeds or purchase them without the shells, they are great for car trips, camping or evening spending your evening on the couch.

 Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?

dogs eat sunflower seeds

The sunflower seeds are very safe for your dog when they are given in moderation and considering a few precautions. One of the main important things you need to consider  is how can dogs eat sunflower seeds. One way is ensuring the seeds you feed your dogs are shell free.

Are Sunflower Seeds good for your dog?

Despite not being one of the healthiest things you can feed your dog with, they are not that toxic or bad for the dog. The sunflower seeds are known to be a natural source of fatty acids which are necessary for the dogs coat and skin health.

These seeds are also high in vitamin E and iron and are free from any saturated fats. They are also known to be high in other vitamins, monounsaturated fats and minerals.

Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds as their food?  single ounce of the sunflower seed is capable of meeting your dogs’ daily requirement of Vitamin E. However, when your dogs eat sunflower seeds  and other high quality foods, it is less likely that they will need lots of supplementation.

The dogs are never designed to chew or digest the nuts or seeds, so, can dogs eat sunflower seeds on a frequent basis in high amounts, they will always come out undigested or can cause dietary upset.

Benefits of Allowing Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds

The sunflower seeds are known to be very nutritious. A ¼ cup of shelled sunflower seeds contains 4 grams of fiber, 190 calories, and 6 grams of protein and 16 grams of fats.

These seeds are normally packed with the following:

  • Minerals
  • Vitamins like B3, B6, B1
  • Vitamin E
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium


Can dogs eat sunflower seeds and achieve some advantages that humans achieve when they take sunflower seeds? Yes, this is very possible. According to recent studies, dogs eating sunflower seeds can lead to several benefits.

Below are some of the main benefits that come with dogs eating sunflower seeds.

sunflower seed benefits

#1 Helps in Improving the Skin and Coat

When dogs feed on sunflower seeds, there will be lots of improvement on their skin, hair and coat.  Since the sunflower seeds contain essential fatty acids, feeding on the sunflower seeds on a frequent basis will help in improving the healthy skin and coat of your dog.

The fats which are contained in the sunflower seeds are known to be very healthy since they are unsaturated. The fats help in keeping the coat of your dog healthy, shiny and full thereby preventing problems like hot spots and dry skin.

#2 Assist in Good Cholesterol Production

Sunflower seeds do contain healthy fatty acids that help the body in reducing bad cholesterol production and improving the levels of good cholesterol. This will help in lowering the blood pressure of your dog that will in turn help in reducing risk of stroke or heart disease.

#3 Act as antioxidants

The sunflower seeds contain vitamin E. 1oz of the sunflower seeds will help provide your dog with a daily dose of the vitamin E. This vitamin will help in managing the levels of cholesterol and it is also important for cell respiration, fat metabolism and helps in creation of cell membranes.

This vitamin will also help in protecting the dog from any form of harmful radicals.

#4 Relieving Depression and Stress

Just like in humans, the sunflower seeds also have the same calming effect on the dogs which are experiencing anxiety. The sunflower seeds are known to contain magnesium that helps in preventing stress, alleviating fatigue and depression.

These seeds are packed with vitamin B and especially the niacin and pyridoxine which are all known to help in improving the activity of the brain and reducing neurosis and anxiety.

The sunflower seeds are known to have high levels of tryptophan which is known to be an essential amino acid that helps in increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain of your dog.

This serotonin will help in improving the recovery of dog from stress and it will also help in reducing its aggressive behavior.

#5 Helps in Improving its overall Health

The sunflower seeds are normally full of variety of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and other important nutrients. All these are a great addition to the dogs diet since they are able to help the dog in promoting healthy bones, hemoglobin and hormone production.


These seeds are also important in helping the dog’s brain function properly, improving its immune system and ensuring proper using of enzymes, proteins and carbohydrates. Since sunflower seed is a dry seed, ensure you also give your dog enough drinking water to avoid dehydration.

Harmful Effects on Dogs for Feeding Sunflower Seeds

side effects of sunflower seeds

#1 The seeds are toxic for dogs

The sunflower seeds that humans feed on are usually salted. Although they might not have a negative impact on humans, high levels of salt in dogs’ diet can lead to serious health issues. They can range from mild to severe when dogs eat sunflower seed.

The symptoms’ you can watch out for when dogs eat sunflower seeds include imbalance, vomiting, diarrhea, urination and even death.

#2 Can Cause Gastrointestinal Distress

Can dogs eat sunflower  seeds containing hulls and shells? Sunflower seeds that contain hulls and shells are dangerous for the dog. The dog cannot chew the unshelled seeds and spit the shells same way humans do. This can easily expose the do to choking.

If the hulls are not properly chewed, they can easily cause stomach ache. The unshelled sunflower seeds are not that easy to digest and if they get stuck in the gastrointestinal tract, they can easily lead to blockage or obstruction which can threaten the life of your dog.

What is the Right amount of Sunflower Seeds to give to the Dog?

One cup of sunflower seeds contains up to 269 calories.  Can dogs eat sunflower seeds? If yes, ensure you always pay attention to the amount of sunflower seed you will be giving to the dog.

For a small dog, it is advisable that they do not give it more than 10-20 seeds. For the larger can dogs eat sunflower seeds not more than 20-40 seeds in a week. Although this appears small amount to some people, it is advisable not to feed them more than this.

Apart from the sunflower seeds, you can also check on the impact of giving your dog pumpkin seeds.


You now know the answer to the question can dogs eat sunflower seeds without any problem. However, you need to ensure that you give them the seeds in moderation since too much of something is poisonous.

The seeds will help boost the health of your dog when given in moderation thanks to its vitamins and minerals.

You need to ensure you purchase the right type of sunflower seeds. Ensure they are natural and does not contain any preservatives.

It is also important that you ensure the sunflower seeds are peeled and hulls and shells removed before the dog starts feeding on them.


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