Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?

can dogs eat sunflower seeds kernels

I’m sure you have already been there, while having a meal or snack to eat you drop a piece of food on the floor. Next thing you know, your favorite furry friend who is sitting next to you, quickly gets up and chomps down on that piece of food you had just accidentally dropped before all before you even have a chance of picking it up. I know this happens to me all of the time.

While a piece of chicken or a little bit of rice that had fallen from our plate wouldn’t harm your little pooch, what about a small snack that a lot of people enjoy, let’s say something like sunflower seeds?

I’m sure one of the first things you might ask yourself when thinking about this would be, is sunflower seeds poisonous for my dog? After searching around for a bit, I’ve come to find out that they are not poisonous and yes, it is safe and dogs can eat these seeds, just in moderation, preferably shelled and unsalted.

During my search, I’ve also come across to find that there can also be some health benefits that your dog could gain from eating sunflower seeds as well. Keep reading on to learn more about letting your dog eat sunflower seeds, sunflower seed butter, or sunflower oil, whether you do it on purpose or by accident.

Should You Feed Them Sunflower Seeds?

Now knowing that it is safe for your dog to eat them, the next thing that might come to mind is, should you feed your dog sunflower seeds? While it is really up to you to decide if you want to let your dog eat them or not, it would be a good idea to consult with your veterinarian first as your dog could react differently as compared to other dogs, and be sure to only give them a small amount if you do as it could cause an upset stomach and intestinal distress.

It’s High In Fat And Additional Daily Calories 

Sunflower seeds, with their high-fat content, can add on some additional bodyweight to your dog quickly and as a responsible pet owner, you will want to keep an eye on the daily calories you are giving your dog in check. You will want to give them even less if you are planning on giving your dog sunflower seed butter or sunflower seed oil as there is a higher concentration of fat and calories as compared to the seed kernel.

No Shells Please

Be sure the seeds are shelled, unflavored, and unsalted. Unlike birds or other animals that can remove the shell of the seed, do your dog a favor and remove the shell for them. The sunflower seed shells can be rough, they are not easily digestible and could cause a stomach ache. The shells could also lead to digestive problems such as possibly get stuck and creating a blockage in the intestinal tract.

Let’s Lay Off The Salt

You will want to make sure the seeds are unsalted like those made for human consumption, in a dog’s diet could cause some serious health issues. While it will depend on how your dog reacts to salt, an excessive intake of salt, just like in humans, can cause issues with high blood pressure. Some of the other issues your dog could have can be a range of things such as extreme thirst and urination to diarrhea and vomiting. Some of the more serious issues would include a high body temperature and possibly seizures.

What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Sunflower Seeds?

Studies show that one of the benefits of letting your dog eat sunflower seeds, like flax seeds, is they contain natural healthy fats and vitamins such as vitamin E, and over time by letting your dog eat these kernels the fatty acids in sunflower seeds will help keep your dog’s hair coat and skin healthy and shiny, often providing temporary improvement to dryness of the fur and hot spots on the skin.

With the high levels of vitamin E and omega fatty acids in the sunflower kernels, besides helping your pet with healthy skin and a glossy coat, this antioxidant will help prevent cell damage from free radicals, it is also is good for your dog’s immune system, helps manage cholesterol levels for heart health and prevent heart disease, and its also essential for them to metabolize fat and cell function.

How About Sunflower Seed Butters

While some dog owners use sunflower seed butter as a replacement for peanut butter, you may have this readily available around the house. While it’s safe for your dog to eat, you should remember that just like sunflower seed kernels, dogs should only have this in moderation as it is high in fat and calories. And due to its higher concentration of calories, the portions you give your dog should be even smaller.

And Sunflower Seed Oils

While you can add sunflower oil to your pet’s food to help with their hair coat and skin, too much can be harmful and will cause digestive issues, causing your pet to have diarrhea and or vomiting. It would be a good idea for you should check with your vet before adding any supplement to your dog’s diet. Many high-end dog foods already have flaxseed or sunflower oil included adding this essential omega-6 and vitamins to your pet’s diet. 


You should always consult with your veterinarian first before giving anything to supplement your pet’s diet.

And while it is safe for your dog to eat sunflower seed kernels, if you do decide to, limit their daily intake and only do so in moderation and as a treat from time to time. Yes, there are some potential health benefits of your dog eating sunflower seeds, and while the omega-6 is good for your pet’s skin and coat, it would need to be in proportion to the amount of omega-3 they get. Consider getting a pet supplement that has the proper amounts of fatty acids. 

If you are considering giving your dog sunflower seeds for their benefits, it would be good to know that there are quality dog foods already on the market which contain sunflower or flaxseed oil in them that will provide the vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids, which by the way are low in saturated fats, and will help with the overall health of your pet.

Also, if you are looking to give your dog a treat, there are a lot of healthy treats out there made specifically for your furry baby. No need to share one of your favorite snacks with them and while trying out some doggie treats, maybe you will find one to be their favorite.

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