can dogs eat sunflower

Humans have tried eating all parts of the sunflower, starting from its petals and seeds, head, down to its leaf.

We even eat sunchokes, the roots of a native sunflower variant in Central America!

But have you ever wondered whether dogs can eat sunflowers like we do?

Are you curious about adding sunflower parts and products to your dog’s diet?

Well, I am, and I bet you are too!

That’s why in this blog, I’ll save you the effort of answering the question, “Can dogs eat sunflower?

To answer that, I’ll be talking about the benefits of sunflowers to dogs, their health risks, and even how to feed every sunflower product to your dog.

Make sure to read every section of this article because I’ll give the recommended serving amount of each sunflower product for your dogs.

Are you ready? Let’s get right into the topic!

can dogs eat sunflowers

Can Dogs Eat Sunflowers?

So, are sunflowers safe for dogs?

Yes, sunflowers are indeed safe for dogs, with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) officially placing them on the list of non-toxic plants for dogs.

So even if your dog came into contact with any sunflower parts, you can rest easy knowing that sunflower is practically harmless to dogs.

But touching the flowers is one thing; ingesting them is another.

Currently, the well-known and most used edible parts of sunflowers are their seeds.

When processed, sunflower can produce sunflower butter and sunflower oils.

Now the question is: can dogs eat sunflower parts and products?

Read more at the later parts of this blog to find out.

Unpeeled sunflower seeds and dogs

Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?

Can dogs eat sunflower seeds?

Yes, dogs can eat sunflower seeds, provided that you know how to prepare the seeds for your dog’s consumption.

Dogs love eating the sunflower seeds when given as a treat, not as a whole meal.

They love munching on the crunchy-creamy harmonious texture of the sunflower’s kernel.

Even we, humans, know how tasty of treat sunflower seeds are to us.

RELATED: Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds? 5 Benefits and 3 Side Effects

Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

More importantly, sunflower seeds give great health benefits to dogs.

Firstly, sunflower seeds contain Vitamins like A, E, and B complex, which contribute to your dog’s beautiful fur coat.

In fact, it's been one of the focuses of a 2001 research about the effects of sunflower and flax seeds on a dog's skin and fur coat health.

Sunflower seeds also have healthy fatty acids to combat your dog’s bad cholesterol level and increase the good cholesterol instead.

They also contain fair amounts of antioxidants for better immunity and fiber for a better stool.

Lastly, sunflower seeds also have a wide variety of trace elements that improves your dog’s overall health, in general.

Risk of Feeding Sunflower Seeds to Dogs

Are sunflowers toxic to dogs through their seeds? 

And the answer is no: sunflower seeds don't have any toxins that can be harmful to our beloved dog.

However, the most common risk in eating sunflower seeds is their shells.

Sunflower shells are extremely hard, fibrous, and indigestible in your dog’s stomach.

Even doctors would not recommend you eat the seeds’ shells!

Eating these rock-hard objects can block the intestinal and stomach pathways, which can lead to more serious health problems.

Commercial sunflower seeds are also too salty for the dog’s sodium needs.

Typical salted sunflower seeds have a sodium content of 0.43g per 100g serving.

Compare that to most dogs that only require 0.25g to 1.5g per 100g serving, and commercial seeds are extremely salty for the dog.

Too much sodium intake at a given time can disrupt the hormonal balance, seizures, life-and-death thirst, and “salt poisoning.”

Lastly, eating too many sunflower seeds can make your dog’s stools oily and stinky.

How to Feed Sunflower Seeds to Dogs

Sunflower seeds are great tasty treats to compliment your pooch’s dog food.

But first, you need to know how to prepare sunflower seeds for your dogs to minimize their health risk.

Here are some pointers that you have to know when preparing sunflower seeds for your dog’s consumption:

  • Remove the sunflower seed shells at all costs.
  • Buy unsalted and unflavored sunflower seeds to control the sodium content in the product.
  • Feed your dog in a small serving only.

How Much Sunflower Seeds to Feed Your Dog

I recommend that you give your dog less than forty sunflower seeds depending on their size.

That may seem like too few, but a little goes a long way in improving your dog’s health.

For small dog breeds, you can let your dog have ten to twenty seeds per week.

If you have a large dog breed, you give it twenty to forty seeds.

Are sunflower seeds bad for dogs


Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Head

Did you know that you can eat sunflower heads too?

I couldn’t believe it myself either, but there was even a recipe for that!

In August 2020, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds posted a one-minute viral Facebook video that details how to prepare a grilled sunflower head.

The video blew up, spawning across various social media channels and even a plethora of recipe websites on the internet.

As for the way the sunflower head was meant to be eaten, you have to eat it like it’s corn.

So instead of thinking of the sunflower head as another plant part with another distinct taste, think of it as just another way of eating the seeds.

Now, if people can eat sunflower heads, can dogs also eat them?

And the answer is yes—dogs can eat sunflower heads too!

A sunflower head provides the same nutritional value as its seeds since you’re basically eating the seeds off from the head.

Risk of Feeding Sunflower Heads to Dogs

Unlike the actual roasted and ripe sunflower seeds, grilled sunflower heads contain softer sunflower seeds that are not ready for harvesting yet.

And softer sunflower seeds mean that the shells are soft too.

Your dog won’t have any indigestion problems when it comes to eating the sunflower head.

Instead, you need to be worried about how much char there is in the vegetable.

Mary Beth Terry, Ph.D., from Columbia University, explains that:

The good news about grilling: Vegetables do not have muscle proteins, but excessive charring can create benzopyrene and other carcinogens.  

Basically, the more charred your sunflower head is, the more chance there is that your food may carry carcinogens.

There are also sunflower variants that are not for consumption purposes.

Since there are only specific types of sunflowers that you can eat, simply going to a floral shop or department won’t work.

Lastly, sunflower heads can sometimes cause allergic reactions to unsuspecting dogs.

When that happens, immediately take your dog to your local vet.

How to Feed Sunflower Heads to Dogs

Preparing sunflower heads may seem hard and complex, but it’s actually easier than you think.

Here are some tips on how to prepare sunflower heads for your dogs

  • Get your sunflower in a farmer’s market instead of a floral shop
  • Pick an unripe sunflower head that has white and soft seeds
  • Pluck the outer petals and leaves of the sunflower
  • Brush off the inner buds and florets of the head
  • Be generous with the neutral-tasting oil.
  • Match your with salt or seasonings to your dog’s preferences
  • Don’t overcook and char the sunflower head

How Much Sunflower Head to Feed Your Dog

A sunflower head contains a lot of unripe seeds on it.

Going by my recommended amount of sunflower seeds per week, you should only feed your dogs with sunflower heads once a week.

can dogs have sunflower oil

Can Dogs Have Sunflower Oil?

One of the most popular processed products from sunflowers is sunflower oils.

Sunflower oil is widely used in culinary practices as oil for frying because of its high smoke point.

It’s also the oil that culinary instructors favored in their salad dressings, mayonnaise, and other applications.

Sunflower oil has been integrated into our everyday lives, but can we also integrate the ingredient into our dogs?

And the answer is yes—dogs can have sunflower oils too!


Benefits of Sunflower Oil

In terms of health benefits, sunflower oil is one the healthiest oil on the market, not only for human consumption but even for dogs!

Sunflower oil has one of the oils with the lowest bad cholesterol levels while also boosting good cholesterol in the body.

The low levels of bad cholesterol make sunflower oil pose less hypertensive risk than the more common palm oil.

Sunflower oils also contain omega-6 fatty acids that help maintain your dog’s proper skin and fur health.

This fatty acid also facilitates a stronger immune system response and supports your dog’s growth.

Risk of Feeding Sunflower Oil to Dogs

Are sunflowers poisonous to dogs through their oil?

And the answer is no.

Generally, sunflower oil does not pose harm to dogs because the oil is healthier compared to other types of oil.

But there are still risks that you need to consider when it comes to letting your dog have sunflower oil.

While it has relatively low levels of bad cholesterol, sunflower oil is still full of cholesterol nonetheless.

Extreme intake of sunflower oil can still cause your dog’s cholesterol level to rise and even manifest hypertensive symptoms.

But the biggest concern for sunflower oil is that it contains high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.

Even if omega-6 fats have benefits for your dogs, this fatty acid can cause joint and muscular inflammation.

That’s why too much intake of omega-6 fats can be bad for dogs, especially for those with arthritis and joint problems.

Too much omega-6 acids can also spike the hypertension of the dogs, so you need to watch out for how much sunflower oil your dog will take.

How to Feed Sunflower Oil to Dogs

In today’s age and technology, sunflower oil is now more accessible than ever.

You can find sunflower oil in your nearest supermarket and groceries.

Alternatively, you can shop for sunflower oil online through Amazon. Here is one brand that I recommend for your dog’s consumption.

Healthy Harvest Non-GMO Sunflower Oil - Healthy...
1,486 Reviews
Healthy Harvest Non-GMO Sunflower Oil - Healthy...
  • FARM FRESH - Traceable to farm...
  • FOOD WITH INTEGRITY - Healthy...

I recommend this brand because it's one of the companies that cold-presses the oil from their GMO raw products.

That's why a lot of the reviews applaud the brand's commitment to a healthier and organic approach to sunflower oil processing.

And finally, you can go to your sunflower farms and check to see if they produce small-batch sunflower oils.

To use sunflower oil for your dogs, you should treat sunflower oil as a supplement, not a meal in itself.

Sunflower oil is best served drizzled in homemade dog foods, especially for meaty ones.

How Much Sunflower Oils to Give Your Dog

So, how much sunflower oil can you give to your dog? How much is enough?

Ideally, you want a teaspoon’s worth of sunflower oil in your dog’s diet per week.

It may seem like it’s not enough, but a teaspoon is all you need to bring the needed amount of omega-6 to your dog’s diet.

can dogs have sunflower butter

Can Dogs Have Sunflower Butter?

Aside from sunflower oil, did you know that you can make a peanut butter substitute using sunflower seeds?

You read it right; sunflower butter is a real thing!

It’s basically the same as peanut butter, making it one of the best peanut butter substitutes on the market.

Now, peanut butter is safe for your dog’s consumption as it makes a great addition to a lot of dog food and treats.

But what about sunflower butter? Can sunflower butter replace peanut butter in dog foods?

Can dogs have sunflower butter?

Fortunately, they can!


Benefits of Sunflower Butter to Dogs

Using sunflower butter in your dog’s diet can give it health benefits in the long run.

To start with, sunflower butter will have the same nutritional value as with the seeds from where it came from.

Sunflower seeds and butter are also less likely to trigger an allergic reaction in dogs than peanuts.

Risk of Feeding Sunflower Butter to Dogs

Sunflower butter doesn’t generally put your dog at serious risk, but there are still some concerns that you, as a dog owner, should be aware of.

For one, sunflower products can still trigger dog allergies, although peanuts have more cases of allergy triggers than sunflowers do.

There’s also the issue of uncontrolled sugar content in sunflower butter.

Too much sugar intake can spike your dog’s blood sugar.

Unless you’re not making the sunflower from scratch, you have no way of gauging and controlling how much sugar to put in your butter.

And then there’s the issue of xylitol in sunflower butter.

Xylitol is a sugar substitute that’s toxic to dogs.

This sugar substitute triggers the dog’s pancreas to release absurd amounts of insulin into the bloodstream, severely dropping their blood sugar in just minutes.

Since xylitol doesn’t affect us humans, we see this product being used in a lot of commercial products like peanut butter.

Eventually, manufacturers are slowly incorporating the sugar substitute in sunflower butter too.

Unfortunately, some dogs became victims of products with xylitol in it.

And if you’re not careful with picking the right brand of sunflower butter, let alone reading the labels, then your dog might risk consuming a xylitol-based product too.

How to Feed Sunflower Butter to Dogs?

Like sunflower oil, sunflower butter is becoming accessible in a lot of retail and groceries nationwide.

You can also shop for the product online.

Here’s my best pick for my sunflower butter brand that you can get on Amazon.

Once Again Organic Creamy Sunflower Butter, 16oz -...
966 Reviews
Once Again Organic Creamy Sunflower Butter, 16oz -...
  • CERTIFIED || USDA Certified...
  • MINIMAL WASTE || Once Again...

I recommend this product because it's USDA-organic and non-GMO-certified.

It's also unsweetened, so you can assure that there's no xylitol or sugar added to the product.

To my surprise, there are a lot of dog owners in the product reviews who are vouching for this brand.

Now, to use sunflower butter in your dog’s diet, replace all recipes that require peanut butter with this seed butter instead.

You can also mix sunflower butter in homemade dog foods where the presence of the butter is appropriate.

How Much Sunflower Butter to Give Your Dog

So how much sunflower butter can you give to your dogs?

I recommend that your dog’s sunflower butter intake should not be more than ten percent of your dog’s calorie intake per day.

To put it simply, a tablespoon of sunflower butter or two is enough to meet your dog’s nutritional needs.

Are sunflower seeds good for dogs

Can Dogs Eat Sunflowers? Conclusion

So can dogs eat sunflowers?

Sure, they can!

Every part of the sunflower has uses that you and your dog can surely appreciate.

Even better, you can further process the sunflowers to make products like sunflower butter and oil which you can add to your dog’s diet.

Sunflowers are nutrient-dense foods that can massively boost your dog’s health when you feed them with your dogs.

Do take note, however, that the plant can still pose risks to your dog when you don’t feed it with only the recommended amount.

If you follow the right amount, your dog can take in the sunflower’s benefits without any of the health risks involved.

But wait!

Are you interested to know what other human foods are safe to consume for dogs?

Do you want to know if it’s safe to add corn to your dog’s diet?

What about blueberries? Pineapple?

Then feel free to check out the articles below to learn more about these foods!