Sunflower seeds are the epitome of a lazy summer afternoon snack, and as a kid, you probably spent hours devouring these salty little seeds on the front porch or in the baseball dugout. Whether you like to do the work of shelling them or you buy them without shells, they’re perfect for camping, car trips, or an evening on the couch. Do you have a wet doggy nose and a pair of big brown eyes staring up at you while you’re snacking? Are sunflower seeds safe for dogs to eat?
Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?
Sunflower seeds are safe for dogs in moderation and with a few precautions. First, any sunflower seeds you feed them should be shell-free. Second, the seeds should be salt- and flavor-free.
Are Sunflower Seeds Good for Dogs?
They aren’t necessarily the healthiest thing you can give your dog, but they aren’t toxic or inherently bad for them. Sunflower seeds are a natural source of fatty acids that are necessary for your dog’s skin and coat health. The seeds are naturally high in iron and vitamin E and free from saturated fats. They’re also high in various other vitamins, minerals, and monounsaturated fats.
One ounce of sunflower seeds meets your dog’s daily requirement of vitamin E, but truthfully, if your dog is on a high-quality food, it’s unlikely they’ll need much supplementation. Also, dogs aren’t designed to chew or digest seeds or nuts, so frequent amounts of seeds are going to come out undigested or cause some dietary upset.
What About Sunflower Oil?
If the actual seeds are the best choice for your dog, is sunflower seed oil a better choice? Many higher end dog foods use sunflower oil as a way to naturally add fatty acids to the food, and some owners choose to add small amounts of the oil to their dog’s diet to battle minor skin and coat issues that aren’t caused by hormonal or endocrine imbalances. Always ask your vet before you start supplementing your dog’s diet. You might end up doing more harm than good.
Sunflower seeds aren’t bad for your dog, but they aren’t necessary, either. There are healthier and more digestible ways to get fatty acids into your dog’s diet than seeds, and your vet will be the best resource for the appropriate ways to introduce additional fatty acids.