Dogs love to try out new things. When you take your animal out on a walk, you will notice it sniffing here and there, and it will want to give a try to anything that it finds on the ground. But, while you can feed quite a few things to your dog, there are a few limitations. Then can dogs eat sunflower seeds?
The short answer is yes. Sunflower seeds are nutty and delicious, and dogs love the crunchy sound they produce when they bite into the shell. Sunflower seeds provide a host of nutritious elements that are needed for bodily function, including minerals, vitamins, and proteins. However, there are a few caveats that you need to know when feeding sunflower seeds to your dog.
The Basics of Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are simply the seeds of the sunflower, a common flower found throughout the world. The sunflower is an herbaceous plant with bright yellow flowers, and they have become a pretty important crop since they were originally farmed. If you look at it closely, you will see that each sunflower actually has two flowers inside of it. There’s the outer perimeter, with its bright yellow petals.
Then, there’s the inner section, which contains plenty of fertile seeds that are blown to multiply the plant’s growth. Sunflower seeds aren’t just loved by dogs, but they are also equally fun for birds. They have a black shell, and a conical shape. Each sunflower seed has a kernel inside that you can eat as well. They make for great snacks for humans, but dogs love them too!
Most people love eating sunflower seeds, and as it turns out, you can also feed these seeds to your dog. However, you need to make sure that you exercise some safe practices when feeding these seeds to your dog. You need to learn how to feed the seeds to your dog.
Nutrition in Sunflower Seeds
On their own, sunflower seeds are a great antioxidant. Just a quarter cup of these seeds contains six grams of protein, and four grams of fiber. They also contain 190 calories, along with a host of other vitamins and minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B6, and folate.
They are also fantastic for your dog’s skin. Even though research is a bit limited, initial studies have shown that feeding sunflower seeds to your dog can improve its skin and coat hair. There is also a bit of research that indicates the regular consumption of sunflower seeds could result in managing diabetes and reducing the rate of tumor growth in dogs.
Like humans, you should know that dogs also tend to have a different reaction to different kinds of foods. If you are going to feed them sunflower seeds, start with a very small amount in the beginning. Just give them a couple of seeds to start with and see how the animal reacts. Make sure the seed is peeled and doesn’t have any kind of seasoning on it. High sodium or salt levels in dogs can be quite harmful.
Are They Poisonous?
While you may have heard quite a bit about sunflower seeds being poisonous to dogs, you should know that these seeds are absolutely not poisonous. However, if you let the animal eat the seeds in large quantities, they may suffer from an upset stomach. Also, make sure that you do not give your dog sunflower seeds with the shell on, as that can lead to a serious problem.
Overindulging in these seeds is a bad idea because it increases the amount of phosphorus in the dog’s system, which ultimately causes kidney damage and can lead to serious calcification. It’s the same with almost anything: you have to make sure that you do not give large quantities of any seed or other foods to your dog. Managing your dog’s diet is incredibly important, and will ensure that they live a long and healthy life.
Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
The best part about feeding sunflower seeds to your dog is that it can result in a plethora of benefits for the animal. Just make sure that you give them in small quantities to the animal. Here are some common benefits that sunflower seeds offer.
They Improve Skin and Coat
As highlighted above, preliminary studies have shown that the coat and skin of the dog improves due to the regular consumption of sunflower seeds. They contain fatty acids that are nutritious for the animal, so it can help the animal maintain its skin. The fat in these seeds is not saturated, so it’s not one of those harmful fats that you need to keep your dog away from.
It Boosts Good Cholesterol
Another thing that you should know about sunflower seeds is that they encourage the production of good cholesterol while simultaneously reducing the production of bad cholesterol in the body. This dramatically brings down the odds of your dog suffering from a stroke or a serious heart problem. The reason for this is the high level of vitamin E that’s present in sunflower seeds, which can have a positive impact on the animal.
It’s a Great Antioxidant
Another thing that you should know is that the vitamin E found in sunflower seeds is a great antioxidant as well. It’s ideal for fat metabolism and improves the respiration of cells in the body. It also protects the animal’s skin from free radicals that might be roaming around in the body. Free radicals can cause harm so vitamin E nips it in the bud.
Relieves Stress and Depression
If your animal is left alone for long periods of time, it’s going to suffer from depression and stress. Numerous studies have shown that the consumption of sunflower seeds can actually result in a calming effect that reduces depression in the animal and also gets rid of lethargy. Sunflower seeds contain B-complex vitamins that ultimately promote brain activity and reduce anxiety in the dog’s brain.
More importantly, these seeds contain tryptophan, a very healthy amino acid that increases the overall levels of serotonin, thus combating depression and decreasing the animal’s aggression. If you notice your dog getting too hyper, giving it a few sunflower seeds is a great way to calm the animal down.
Needless to say, sunflower seeds are a fantastic addition to your dog’s diet, as long as you know how to regulate their consumption properly.