Are Sunflower Seeds Dangerous for a Puppy?

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When dealing with the newest nestling in your brood, it’s normal to wonder what is safe and unsafe for the little guy. There are plenty of foods you and your partner can eat that your best friend can't. Among them are chocolate, avocado, onion, grapes and raisins.

Shell or No Shell

The kernel is the inside section of the sunflower seeds. This is the part that people and dogs eat. The outside layer is the hull (or shell) and is not considered toxic to you or your furry friend. However, it can kill other plants and may contain pesticide toxins.

What Kind

Your best bet is to buy shelled sunflower seeds or an organic, pesticide-free sunflower seed with the shell. Opt for the salt-free version as well, as it is better for your little friend.

How Much

To determine the appropriate amount of sunflower seeds that you can give your puppy, you should find out how many calories in general your puppy should be eating in a day. Either ask your vet or use a dog food calculator, such as the one found at You will need to know your puppy’s weight and activity level to get an accurate calculation. Once you have your calorie calculation, take 10 percent of that amount to get your daily allowance for puppy treats.

Sunflower seeds have roughly 165 calories per ounce, or 6 calories per gram. For example, if your calorie calculation allows your pet about 300 calories of food a day, you could give your pooch about 5 grams of sunflower seeds, about 30 calories' worth. That amount will not harm your dog, assuming you aren't stuffing him with other treats, too. Sunflower seeds have high fat content; administer them a kernel at a time throughout the day and give your puppy something to look forward to all day long.


Research conducted by Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and others shows feeding your puppy sunflower seeds can improve his coat and skin. This is due to the fat and nutrients the tiny seeds contain.

Side Effects

Sunflower seeds are generally considered a safe treat for you and your little guy. However, just like with many other foods, overindulgence can have some unpleasant side effects. If you feed too many to your pooch, it may cause diarrhea and intestinal distress. Weight gain may also be a problem if you consistently feed your nest pet lots of treats.

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