I get asked all the time if nuts and seeds are good for dogs. While a lot of nuts are not, a lot of seeds are! And they are packed with lots of nutrient goodness. Sunflower seeds in particular are a fave of some of the most nutritious raw feeders I know! The great news is, you don’t have to be a raw feeder for your dog to reap the bennies of these little guys.
Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
SFSs (yes I just created a new abbreviation haha), are chock full of nutrients! Micro nutrients to be exact. It’s pretty typical for dogs to be deficient in micronutrients they need, and sunflowers fill those gaps. Here’s a few nutrients per the USDA food database.
Vitamins B, E & K
LESS CALORIES THAN PEANUTS!
A quick note on Peanut Butter:
IF you’re already feeding your dogs things like peanut butter, now you can stop. It’s doesn’t provide very much nutritional value at all, not to mention it’s chock full of stuff your dog doesn’t need (like more omega 6’s and a bunch of other crap if you’re not giving all natural PB). Not to mention, peanuts are often covered in mold before they even make it to the PB factory. Also a lot of peanut butters these days are full of sugar or xylitol, which is a sugar alcohol that is DETRIMENTAL TO YOUR DOG’S LIFE. (Go check your peanut butter now for any sugar or sugar substitute). I stay away from PB for all those reasons and feed seed or almond butter.
How to Feed Sunflower Seeds:
I ALWAYS feed seeds of all kinds fresh or in other words at the time of feeding. You know why? Because seeds and nuts are full of oils, and with prolonged exposure to oxygen, these oils go RANCID. EWWWWW!!!!! Do you know how many fricken organic wild blueberries you need to feed in order to catch all of those free radicals?! Yeah, your dog will turn into a furry version of Violet from Willy Wonka.
And the kicker is, you cant really just feed your dogs whole seeds. Chances are, they won’t get all those nutrients because the whole seed won’t get digested. You have to GRIND them up. But that’s a royal pain in the arse at every meal.
So in my head, the next best thing is to make a butter that you can keep in the fridge. For me it kills two birds with one stone because I like to give my babies Kong treats at night. I’d rather fill those Kongs with nutrient dense foods if I can!
I really like making sunflower seed butter because it’s beyond easy and cheap! All you need is a good blender and a few ingredients and you and your dogs can share this butter until the cows come home.
Ingredients for Dog Friendly Sunflower Seed Butter:
1/3 cup Sunflower Seed Oil
2 Cups Organic Sunflower Seeds
1/4 Cup Hemp Hearts (flax if you feed chicken)
1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
You can add honey if you’d like some sweetness just before you eat it.
Directions for Dog Friendly Sunflower Seed Butter:
Blend all ingredients in high power blender starting from low to high for 45 seconds. Tamper down and scrape sides when needed. Make sure not to go over 45 seconds as you don’t want to heat the oils and denature them. Refrigerate and stuff Kongs as needed. Keeps for a few weeks.