Dogs love eating scrap foods dropping on the floor. Sometimes, these occasional treats could be alright for your furry friend. But other times, panic could kick in if the respective foods are not suitable for dogs. Potential side effects may occur, while certain foods require a visit to the vet straight away. There are more considerations when trying to determine whether or not dogs can eat certain foods. Now, while some foods are recommended and others are to be banned, there is also a gray area.
Sunflower seeds are in this gray area. Now, are sunflower seeds poisonous to dogs?
Long story short, dogs can eat sunflower seeds every now and then – maybe as an occasional treat. Dog owners must be cautious though. Seeds must be natural – no spices or condiments. More importantly, they must be peeled. If your dog truly likes them, you can grind them and throw them over your dog’s food. They are not toxic and they actually come with some health benefits.
Benefits of sunflower seeds for dogs
Sunflower seeds are quite healthy and nutritious. A quarter of a cup brings in lots of protein, fiber, 190 calories and a bit of fat. In terms of nutrients, your dog will get phosphorus, manganese, copper, vitamins B1, B3 and B6. Now, how do all these nutrients affect your dog?
Skin and coat
Sunflower seeds come with fatty acids, which are known to improve the skin and coat. Coat will look full and shiny. Your dog will lose less hair and you will probably be able to tell after a while. The same acids are also responsible for the skin. If your dog has hot spots or dry skin, chances are a good dose of fatty acids will help it overcome such problems.
Just like people, dogs require as little bad cholesterol as possible – instead, they need the good cholesterol to flow freely through their bodies. Fatty acids can help with this issue. Your dog’s blood pressure will be better – meaning there is less risk for stroke and disease.
Vitamin E is essential for your dog and a single ounce of sunflower seeds will provide more vitamin E than your dog needs for a day. Not only does it help against cholesterol, but it also boosts the fat metabolism and cell respiration. Vitamin E works against free radicals too.
So, are sunflower seeds poisonous to dogs? They are quite healthy actually and can also help against stress, depression and fatigue. They help the skeletal system, the hormonal production and the brain functionality. Then, why do you need caution when giving your dog such treats?
Side effects of sunflower seeds
While healthy, sunflower seeds must be fed with caution – occasional treats only. Moderation is essential – stick to natural raw seeds, no spices or condiments. They must be peeled too.
Salt can be toxic for dogs. Too much salt in your dog’s system will lead to sodium toxicity, which can get quite severe overtime. Believe it or not, a heavy amount of salt in your dog’s system can even cause death. Mild effects include vomiting, thirst, diarrhea or constant urination.
Gastrointestinal issues are also common if you leave the shells on. Dogs cannot spit them out, so they can choke on them. They cannot be digested and they can get stuck in the tract, meaning they can cause life threatening effects.
Too much oil is just as bad and sunflower seeds have plenty of it. Your dog’s digestive system cannot break it down and side effects will increase pancreatic inflammation, vomiting or diarrhea. If your dog has had plenty of seeds, take it to a vet.
Finally, some dogs are allergic to sunflower seeds.
How many sunflower seeds to feed your dog
A small dog should not exceed more than 15 seeds, while a large dog can have up to 30 seeds throughout a week. It is not a lot, but it is more than enough for a dog. Sunflower seeds are rich in calories and fat. A single cup of sunflower seeds has about 270 calories.
Bottom line, are sunflower seeds poisonous to dogs? They are not if you use moderation. Your dog can enjoy such a treat if fed with care. Sunflower seeds are quite healthy and provide your furry friend with healthy nutrients, but ensure you stick to a low limit and only natural seeds – no flavorings, salt or spices. Peel them and remove the shells and hulls before feeding your dog.