Can dogs eat sunflower seeds?

We, humans, use culinary seeds in their diets like Chia, Flax, Pumpkin, and Sunflowers, but are they healthy choices for our dogs?

Your dogs tend to eat almost everything, but it’s your responsibility to think about what he should or shouldn’t eat. You have so many reasons to concern about their diet as a responsible pet parent. Your dog loves to eat what you like and eat, but many human foods are harmful to dogs.

Sunflower seeds are a healthier part of a human’s diet. These are delicious, complement any meal, and are suitable for us in so many ways. Sunflower seeds can be enjoyed in salads, different dishes, and smoothies, and they can also be eaten alone as snacks.

Your dog also feels in the same way, and you give whatever you eat to them without thinking much about it. You can continue reading this article to find out:

Can dogs eat sunflower seeds?

Are they safe or dangerous for them?

Sunflower seeds and dogs:

Sunflower seeds are safe and not toxic to the dog, and there is nothing to worry about, giving them sunflower seeds in moderation. These seeds also offer a better variety of nutrients compared to other seeds. The monounsaturated fats, minerals, Vitamin E, and they are known to be rich in fatty acids that are required to improve the health and coat of your dog’s skin. Most of the nutrients in sunflower seeds are present in the kernel (the edible part of the seed), rich in healthy protein and fats.

These fats and nutrients are essential for your canine friend’s health. Still, they may not provide the maximum level of nutrients because they usually come out of your dog’s digestive system undigested. 

Despite having all the benefits, sunflower seeds should not be the regular food for your pet. Always try to buy the organic, shelled, and pesticide-free sunflower seeds especially get their salt-free version. Dogs also have food allergies, and sometimes they can have these allergies on the most common food items. If your dog has a sunflower seed allergy or is sensitive to the sunflower seeds, you can replace them with flax seeds as they provide similar benefits to your pooch. 

Benefits of sunflower seeds for dogs:

Sunflower seeds provide several health benefits to dogs if you serve these seeds to your dog in moderation. Regardless of any health benefits offered by these seeds, your devoted friend loves to munch on the seeds as a healthy, nutritious, and good snack. Some of the benefits provided by ingesting the sunflower seeds to your dogs are:

    • Sunflower seeds provide omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for healthy skin and hair in dogs and humans. Sunflower seeds also prevent your dog from rashes.
    • These sunflower seeds provide psychological and inflammatory benefits to your dogs.
    • These seeds produce good cholesterol and lower down the level of bad cholesterol. By balancing the cholesterol with essential fatty acids, ingested sunflower seeds reduce the risk of heart failure and lower blood pressure.
    • Sunflower seeds are also beneficial in treating canine anemia that is caused by the low iron level.
    • These seeds have a sufficient quantity of minerals that preserve your dog’s overall health and keep him wagging his tail.
    • Sunflower seeds contain selenium also which is an antioxidant. Selenium functions in conjunction with vitamin E to protect the body cells of your pet dog from breakdown.
    • The mineral magnesium present in sunflower seeds has a calming effect on canines, which is why it helps your pooch reduce anxiety and depression.
    • Sunflower kernels have a high dose of vitamin B8 that is also known as Biotin. This Biotin contributes to different metabolic reactions and is essential for average cell growth. Biotin also helps to transport carbon dioxide.
    • Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that shields from free radicals and protects from oxygen-free radicals.
    • These sunflower seeds are a great addition to a balanced diet, and luckily less is more for sunflower seeds. Your pet dogs need a small number of sunflower seeds to get maximum benefits from eating them.

Side effects of feeding sunflower seeds to your dog:

Sunflower seeds can be bad for dogs under some specific circumstances. Here are few things to be aware of in regards to feeding sunflower seeds to your devoted friend:

    • Dogs should be provided with a minimal amount of sunflower seeds. You need to strictly control the quantity and frequency of serving sunflower seeds to your dog because these seeds have a high-fat content that can be harsh on the stomach of your pet dog, and it will be difficult for them to break down. 
    • Never feed your dog with commercial sunflower seeds. They are salted, and feeding these salted seeds to the dog can cause serious health complications from mild to severe. Sodium Toxicosis is the main issue your dog may suffer from after having salted sunflower seeds. The main symptoms of Sodium Toxicosis in dogs are Vomiting, Diarrhea, Excessive thirst and urination, and seizures.
    • Sunflower seeds with a shell can be dangerous for your dog. You always have to serve your dog peeled, unsalted, and organic sunflower seeds. Shelled seeds are not easily digestible, and they can also cause choking hazards. Consuming shelled seeds in excess may also cause obstruction or gastrointestinal blockage that can generate a temporary life-threatening situation. If it is difficult for you to peel the bunch of seeds for your dog, always buy peeled seeds with the label of ‘natural’ or ‘baked.’ These options are with less oil, while the best option is peeling the seeds on your own as the shelled seeds don’t have any oil in them.

The Sunflower seeds proper dosing:

Improper dosing of sunflower seeds can be dangerous for your dog, and you have to decide an appropriate measured amount of seeds for your dog. Sunflower seeds can be an excellent snack for your pet dog on certain occasions. This is not the food item eaten regularly, but it is ok to give your dog once a week or less. Never violate the 10% rule according to that snacks can only be 10% of the daily food consumption of your pet.

Dosage quantity depends upon the size of your dog. You can follow this decided quantity chart to serve your dog with sunflower seeds:

  • For Toy Breeds, only ten seeds
  • For Small Breeds, about 20 to 25 seeds
  • For Medium Breeds, about 30 to 35 seeds
  • For Large Breeds, about 45 seeds

NOTE: never use sunflower seeds daily, and this dosage chart can be used as a rule of thumb for a week’s diet. Serve this quantity as one serving a week or spread it throughout the week according to your choice.

Too much sunflower seeds for dogs:

Sometimes due to the carelessness or less attention to your pet, terrible things happen. If your dog eats the whole bag of sunflower seeds, what will you do?

Eating sunflower in bulk can cause severe issues and health risks. It will be difficult for your pooch to digest the huge quantity of sunflower seeds. Your pet dog may suffer from diarrhea or some intestinal distress. In any of these situations visiting your vet is the best option for peace of mind.

Follow the rules!


Although you can feed your canine friend with sunflower safely in moderation, few rules have to be followed, though:

  • You cannot serve any sunflower seeds to your dog as not all sunflower seeds are safe for your pet. Always pick unsalted, organic, natural, or baked seeds bags from the store. Fried seeds can be the reason for your dog’s tummy woes.
  • In case of buying hull seeds – peel the seeds properly; otherwise, these can be stuck in the digestive system of your pup. 

NOTE: Dogs are omnivores, and they need more meat than vegetables to fulfill their protein requirements. So, give them just a few sunflower seeds. 


Sunflower seeds are safe and non-toxic for your dog. Their useful properties benefit your pup when fed moderately. Also, add a variety of special meals to supplement their diet. A balanced quantity of sunflower seeds always leads to improved skin and coat conditions of your furry friend. Some nutrients derived from sunflower seeds boost the overall health of your pet dogs.

It is a bit of hassle to peel the seed for your dog if they have a hull, but these sunflower seeds are very healthy and beneficial for your pup’s health and well-being. Serving sunflower seeds to your pooch will improve your dog’s health and also prolong their lifespan.

Whenever your dog eats something new, observe them how they are behaving. In case of anything unusual, quickly stop using this new food item immediately. Make sure to introduce sunflower seeds to the pet’s diet in a very small quantity to observe any side effects and then give them a full portion.

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