Sunflower seeds are among the best-tasting seeds for humans. They are best known for their mild nutty taste, with a bit of crunchiness similar to nuts. But there’s more to sunflower seeds than their desirable taste.
These “superseeds” are also bursting with vitamins and minerals. Their impressive health benefits are the reason why they are slowly gaining recognition as a superfood. Are sunflower seeds as healthy for dogs as they are for humans? We’ve got to find out!
Can Dogs Have Sunflower Seeds?
Yes, dogs can safely consume sunflower seeds. In fact, they can be a great addition to their diet when fed in moderate amounts. You can give them raw or roasted, as long as they don’t have any salt or flavoring.
Make sure to remove the shells before giving them to your pooch. You can also buy ones without the shells. The shells can’t be digested so your pet will have a hard time if he accidentally ate them too.
Although the shells are small enough to pass, they can still cause stomach aches. If your dog throws up, looks lethargic, and is having diarrhea, call your vet immediately.
Can Dogs Have Sunflower Seed Butter?
Yes, dogs can eat treats made with sunflower seed butter. In fact, this can be a healthier substitute to peanut butter, especially if your pet is allergic to nuts.
A tablespoon of sunflower seed butter only provides 6 grams of fat, lower than the fat content of peanut butter. The latter contains 8 grams of fat for the same amount.
Sunflower seed butter can be used for making doggie treats. It’s great for puddings, muffins, cookies, and breads.
Is It Okay To Give Sunflower Oil to Dogs?
The seed itself and the butter are both safe for dogs. But what about the oil? We know it’s derived from pressing the seeds, but it’s still oil and there may be risks involved if dogs ingest it.
As a matter of fact, sunflower oil can be added to your dog’s food. You could sprinkle around a teaspoon of sunflower oil to your dog’s home-cooked meal once per day.
Several premium dog foods have sunflower oil in them. Manufacturers use sunflower oil in dog foods because it is a lot cheaper compared to exotic fats from olives and coconuts.
Let your vet know before adding sunflower oil to your dog’s diet. Once you have the go signal, make sure to use the oil in small quantities. Refrigerate the oil capsule or liquid after opening.
Risk of Giving Sunflower Seeds to Dogs
There isn’t much to be concerned about when giving sunflower seeds to dogs. Problems only arise when the dog accidentally eats a lot of sunflower seeds or if they consume the shells.
Sunflower seeds are rich in fat. Every 100-gram serving of these seeds provides as much as 51.46 grams of fat. Your dog will have loose stools if he eats excessive amounts of these seeds.
Fat is an important nutritional requirement in canine diet. A puppy’s diet should have 17% fat while adult dogs can only have around 9-15%. Your pet does not need much fat in his diet unless he is a racing sled dog.
There are instances when dogs are advised to have a fat-restricted diet. This applies to canines with pancreatitis, the inflammation, and swelling of the pancreas.
Giving your dog sunflower seeds is not a good idea if your pooch is on a low-fat diet. If you’re eager to give your pet seeds, it’s safer to offer chia seeds previously soaked in water for around 20 minutes. An ounce of chia seeds only contains 9 grams of fat.
Benefits of Sunflower Seeds for Dogs
They keep their skin and coat healthy. Sunflower seeds contain fatty acids that are helpful for your dog’s skin and coat. They are an excellent source of Vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant that neutralizes the damaging cells in the system.
Sunflower seeds can improve cholesterol levels. They can reduce the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol. Unlike most seeds, sunflower seeds have a relatively low amount of saturated fat.
They are good for the bones. They contain calcium, which is essential for building and maintaining bones. But it’s not calcium alone that works to mineralize the bone. The body also needs magnesium, phosphorus, and copper for proper bone mineralization.
They encourage a restful sleep. Sunflower seeds contain tryptophan, an amino acid that serves as the essential component of serotonin.
Sunflower Recipes for Dogs
Thinking of incorporating sunflower seeds into your dog’s diet? The seed is good enough to be eaten on its own, but it’s actually versatile enough to be added in so many dishes. We searched for the best sunflower recipes on the Internet and here are the canine-friendly ones!
Sunflower Seed and Carrot Dog Biscuits
Dogs will surely enjoy the taste of these sunflower seed-infused carrot biscuits. Like sunflower seeds, carrots are also an excellent source of antioxidants. They are rich in beta-carotene that helps the body produce Vitamin A. Here’s the recipe for this doggie biscuit:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of ground roasted sunflower seeds, ½ cup of cornmeal, ½ cup of grated carrots, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 large eggs, ¼ cup of low-fat evaporated milk, ¼ cup of vegetable oil, and ¼ cup of molasses.
- Keep stirring until everything is well-combined.
- Roll the ¼ inch thick dough in a lightly floured surface.
- Cut it out using your desired cookie cutter.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 10 minutes.
Spelt and Sunflower Dog Treat
Spelt flour is derived from the finely milled meal of spelt, a variety of wheat. Known for its slightly sweet and nutty flavor, spelt flour is definitely safe for dogs and can be a healthier choice if your pet is allergic to other wheat-based flours.
- Chop your sunflower seeds using a knife or a mortar and pestle.
- Transfer the finely chopped seeds to a large mixing bowl.
- Add in 200 grams of spelt flour, 1-1/4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed, 6-1/4 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary.
- Pour in 150 ml of water. You may also use milk if your dog can tolerate dairy.
- Stir until all the ingredients are well-combined.
- Roll out the dough in a flat surface.
- Cut the dough using your desired cookie cutter.
- Place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 30 minutes.
- Transfer in a cooling rack once done.
How to Choose the Best Sunflower Seeds for Your Dog
With a lot of sunflower seed brands out there, it’s quite tempting to just settle for the most affordable variety. But if you want nothing but the best for your pooch, we highly recommend organically grown seeds.
As with any type of seeds, it is best to offer sunflower seeds while they are still fresh. They have the tendency to go rancid if they were exposed to oxygen for a longer period of time.
Raw sunflower seeds can be stored in the pantry for two to three months. Just make sure to put them in an airtight container. If in the fridge, the seeds can last up to one year.
Feel free to give sunflower seeds to your pet! They are among the best seeds for dogs. With an impressive nutritional content and a pleasing taste, even your pooch will find it hard to resist these seeds. Let him enjoy the taste of sunflower seeds, but ensure that they are unsalted and the shells have been removed.