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Yes, sunflower seeds are safe for dogs to eat in moderation as long as they are unshelled and unsalted. Giving shelled seeds to your dog can cause gastrointestinal problems and the salted ones have an excessive amount of sodium.

Sunflower Seeds
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Safe: This food is generally considered safe by the veterinary community. Dogs can eat this food sometimes or in small amounts but contains little to no nutritional value.

Food Safety Safe and even beneficial in moderate amounts.
Nutritional Value Excellent source of vitamin E, can give dogs a healthy and shiny coat.
Potential Risks Salted sunflower seeds can lead to sodium toxicosis, the seed’s husks can become and intestinal obstruction. Too many plain sunflower seeds can lead to obesity and an upset stomach.
Every dog is different. For specific feeding guidelines, including quantities and beneficial foods that are best for your dog, please consult your vet.

How Many Sunflower Seeds Are Safe for Dogs?

Sunflower seeds are great for dogs when given as a supplement. Since plain sunflower seeds are rich in fatty acids, they can lead to intestinal issues when given in excess. 10 to 20 seeds a week are ideal for your dog and will allow it to reap the health benefits of the vitamin without encountering any health issues.

What Happens if Your Dog Eats Too Many Sunflower Seeds?

The risks of eating too many sunflower seeds depends on the type of sunflower seed eaten. If your dog has eaten too many unshelled sunflower seeds, it is best to get immediate medical help. The husk of the sunflower seed is very dense and is not digestible by dogs. In severe cases, the husks can become an intestinal obstruction; therefore, getting immediate medical attention is necessary to rule out any such possibility.

If your dog has eaten too many salted sunflower seeds, there is a risk of sodium poisoning. Excess sodium is extremely harmful to dogs and can be lethal in severe cases. If you are worried your dogs might be showing symptoms of sodium toxicosis, contact your local veterinarian immediately.

There are also risks attached to your dog eating too many unshelled plain sunflower seeds. Since sunflower seeds are rich in fatty acids, eating too many of them can lead to digestive problems and stomach ache for your dog.

Signs Your Dog Ate Too Many Sunflower Seeds

Be on the lookout for these symptoms if you suspect your dog ate too many sunflower seeds of any kind:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Seizures
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of Appetite

How to Feed Sunflower Seeds to Dogs

Add a handful of plain unshelled sunflower to your dog’s food twice a week. You can also roast the seeds to enhance the flavor for your dog.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Sunflower butter is safe for dogs to eat. However, it is very high in calories. Therefore, you should only feed it to your dog as a treat occasionally.

  • Sunflower seeds’ husks are very hard; therefore, they are very harsh on a dog’s digestive system. Therefore, one or two unshelled sunflowers might be fine, but we would suggest only giving your dogs unshelled seeds.

About the Writer
Dan Greco , Dog Dad

Having been a dog dad for 5 years, I know how hard it is to make sure your dog gets the right nutrients and stays away from hazardous foods. With the help of a veterinarian who specializes in nutrition, I created this blog to help dog owners quickly access food information they need.

photo of vet holding a pup
About the Contributor
Dr. Hillary Wolfe , Veterinarian & Certified Food Therapist

Dr. Wolfe holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University and holds nutrition certifications from the NAVC and CIVT. Her business, Tula Veterinary Nutrition, hosts online courses that teach owners how to cook for their pet for optimal health and longevity. Follow her on Instagram at @doctorwolfe.dvm for dog nutrition tips, recipes and insights.