Sunflowers are some of the most striking, cheerful blooms. They bring a lot of color and beauty to your outdoor space and can brighten your day. These cheery blooms are the epitome of summer, and their stunning yellow, red, or purple petals are a feast for the eyes.
But are sunflowers dog-safe in your yard or the house? Pups are curious creatures with an insatiable appetite and will explore their world with noses, eyes, and mouths! This means they end up chewing anything in sight, including things they shouldn’t.
So what if your dog eats sunflowers? Are sunflowers poisonous to dogs? The good news is sunflowers are safe for dogs, and like dandelions, lilacs, petunias, and cornflowers, they are a great addition to a pet-friendly garden.
Although you can grow sunflowers worry-free in your yard, there are things you need to be aware of if your pup feasts on your pretty plants. We examine what to look out for when your dog consumes sunflowers, what to do, and when it’s crucial to call your vet.
Are Sunflowers Harmful to Dogs?
Sunflowers are safe for dogs. The flower, leaves, seeds, and stems will not harm your canine companion if he eats them. This means you can plant them worry-free in your garden. Although sunflowers are not toxic to dogs, you shouldn’t give them a free pass to chew up your vibrant plants.
Dogs aren’t naturally vegan, but plant material can pass through their gut without causing problems. However, most canines will experience mild diarrhea or vomiting after eating plants, especially if they consume too much.
What Happens if a Dog Eats a Sunflower?
Although sunflowers are not poisonous, they can still wreak havoc on your canine’s health. Below are the risks involved if your furry friend consumes too many sunflowers at a go.
If your pup consumes a lot of sunflowers, they risk suffering from obstruction. Raw plant material is difficult to digest, and the hard, fibrous shells of the sunflower seeds can cause blockage in the digestive tract. Obstruction can be a serious condition if left untreated or not treated promptly.
Signs your pup has bowel obstruction include diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, stomach pain, and constipation. If you notice these symptoms, take your dog to the vet immediately.
Pesticides and Insecticides
Your canine companion isn’t the only creature that thinks sunflowers are a tasty treat; vibrant plants attract insects. So to keep them away and grow a bright and healthy plant, gardeners use pesticides. But these insect deterrents contain toxic chemicals for dogs and can make them very ill. Signs of poisoning include:
- Breathing difficulty
- Eye irritation
- Excessive drinking
- Skin irritation
Remember, the symptoms vary with the type of pesticide ingested. If your dog shows any of the listed symptoms, rush them to the vet. Take the packaging with you to the clinic since knowing the specific ingredients can help the vet offer effective treatment.
My Dog Ate a Sunflower. What Should I Do?
The entire sunflower plant is non-toxic to dogs. But if you find Fido wolfing down the plant, here’s what you should do.
1. Move Your Dog Away
You can either get your dog away from the plant using a nutritious reward or take away the plant and stash it out of reach or in the trash. If your canine is still insistent on eating the sunflower, you can crate it or put it in a secure area.
2. Find What and How Much was Consumed
Check which part of the sunflower plant your pup might have consumed. Also, estimate the amount ingested. This will help identify if your dog is at risk of gut obstruction.
3. Look out for Symptoms
Keep a close eye on Fido for signs of discomfort. If you notice diarrhea, vomiting, or weakness after ingesting sunflowers, only offer bland foods like rice and plain chicken.
4. Call Your Vet
If your furry friend shows any signs of illness after eating a sunflower, you should immediately seek your vet’s guidance or call the Pet Poison Helpline for accurate advice. Avoid any at-home remedies that your vet hasn’t approved.
Will My Dog be Okay?
No need to panic. Fido will be fine if he eats an excessive amount of the sunflower plant. He’ll only have a mild tummy upset which will clear up in a few days. And if there’s an obstruction, the prognosis for recovery is good if early treatment is administered.
Most complications that arise from dogs eating sunflowers are linked to insecticide poisoning, which can be fatal. You must contact your vet if you notice any worrying signs after your pup has consumed a sunflower.
Why Do Dogs Eat Sunflowers?
Canines are notorious for eating some of the most absurd things. Your dog’s sunflower eating behavior can leave you concerned and curious about why they do so. There are various explanations, but most pups love eating sunflowers because of their sweet smell.
Besides, munching on sunflowers may be part of your canine’s primal instincts. Research shows wild dogs have been eating grass, flowers, and leaves in the wild, especially in the absence of regular meat sources. Although plant material isn’t nutritionally dense as meat, wild pups eat them to fill up their diet.
Dogs can also consume plant materials like flowers to induce themselves to vomit when they have an upset stomach to eliminate what’s causing the gut pain. Monitor your pup when he eats flowers and plants for unusual behavior.
Eating plants could also be a sign that your canine is bored. When your pup craves attention, they often turn destructive and chew things in the house or garden.
How to Prevent Dogs from Eating Sunflowers?
Your furry friend may think sunflowers are tasty bacon treats, but having to clean up their vomit after they stuff themselves is frustrating and disgusting. Luckily, there are ways to keep your pup from eating too many sunflowers.
Always keep your pup on a leash when outside and tug them away if they linger for too long in your garden. Keep an eye on what they put in their mouth, and if they start eating a sunflower, gently tug the leash, and use a stern “drop it” or “leave it” command. You can also use citrus scents or spices near your sunflower plants. Canines hate these scents!
Interest in sunflowers may indicate that your furry friend is bored and seeking attention. Consider buying them chew sticks and toys to redirect their attention. Another good idea is food puzzles to stimulate your pup’s brain.
Which Flowers are Safe for Dogs?
Other than sunflowers, these blossoms are safe for your pup, so you can plant them in your dream garden without worrying about your furry friend mowing into your flower garden.
- African Violet
- Garden marigolds
- Gerbera daisies
Which Flowers are Toxic to Dogs?
Pretty as they may look around your garden, these flowers are poisonous to dogs. If your canine consumes one of these potentially toxic plants, immediately rush them to the vet.
- Calla lilies
- Lily of the valley
Can Dogs Have Sunflower Seeds?
Sunflower seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients, but can you share these crunchy, nutty treats with Fido? The good news is, yes, you can. Sunflower seeds are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat. Other nutrients include Omega 6 fatty acids, B-complex vitamins, protein, dietary fiber, zinc, iron, and magnesium.
But if you’re feeding Chewy a high-quality, balanced diet, it has all the nutrients they need to stay healthy, so you don’t need to offer supplements. If you’re considering starting your pup on sunflower seeds, it’s best to seek your vet’s advice. There are plenty of accessories that are safer and formulated for pets.
Here are some precautions you should take if you’re thinking of feeding your pup sunflower seeds.
Remove the husks
This is a no-brainer because you wouldn’t munch on the husks yourself. The husks are very fibrous and indigestible and can cause stomach upset, indigestion, and even obstruction if consumed in large amounts. They are also tough on your pup’s gums and teeth and can damage your furry friend’s chompers.
Moderation is key
Sunflower seeds are high in fat, and feeding your pup too many seeds in one sitting can lead to obesity and pancreatitis in the long run. Feeding your canine sunflower seeds in large portions can cause choking and lead to gut issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, and sodium toxicosis.
Occasionally, a few seeds are okay, but not more than one tablespoon a day. Speak to your vet about serving portions for your dog before starting them on sunflower seeds.
Don’t use sunflower seeds as food substitutes
Sunflower seeds are naturally high in calories, so they can be an unhealthy treat for Fido. Also, they contain plenty of sodium, calcium, and phosphorus, which can lead to kidney damage if consumed in large amounts. Stick to offering your pup sunflower seeds as a treat rather than a meal replacement or a regular part of their diet.
Steer clear of salted seeds
Many commercially available sunflower seed treats for humans come with a generous serving of seasoning and salt. Pups don’t need a lot of salt in their diet. To feed your canine sunflower seeds, soak them first to remove the excess salt.
Sunflowers are generally harmless to canines, but you shouldn’t encourage your dog to eat them. Consuming too much of the sunflower plant can cause gastrointestinal upset in your pup.
The best way to curb your dog’s unwavering appetite for sunflowers is by restricting access to the blooms. You can do this by fencing the flower beds and putting your pup on a leash when out and about. Alternatively, provide a variety of chew toys or a high-quality reward to distract him.
Although sunflower seeds are nutrient-packed, you should only feed them to your furry friend in moderation. Also, it’s best to seek your vet’s opinion before adding them to your dog’s diet.