Sunflower Oil For Dogs

In this blog, we ask “can dogs eat sunflower oil?”. We learn whether there are benefits to feeding your dog sunflower oil, why it could be something to consider adding to your pup’s diet, and what the buzz about sunflower oil and dogs really is…

Oct 18, 2023·5 min read
Sunflower Oil For Dogs

Sunflower oil is a linoleic acid produced by pressing and extracting the oils from sunflower seeds and is present in many reputable pet brand’s food formulas because of its rich omega oil properties. However, this is usually because it’s cheaper than fish oils (also high in omega oils) to purchase and use… But, is sunflower oil worth giving to your dog on its own? Can dogs eat sunflower oil?

Can Dogs Have Sunflower Oil?

Yes. Sunflower oil isn’t unsafe for dogs to digest, in theory, depending on the amount and regularity that they are given it. However, the real question is this: is it really the most effective oil you can give your dog long-term..?

Is Sunflower Oil Good For Dogs?

sunflower oil dogs: a white owner and their brown and white, medium-sized, spaniel like dog walk down a gray, gravel path inbetween fields of blooming sunflowers on a bright, sunny day. The dog is attached to a long green lead, and the owner wears a dark gray t shirt, blue denim jeans and white trainers. We are looking at them from behind

Sunflower oil is rich in Omega 6. As we know, omega oils are essential for anybody, pooch or otherwise, and can only be obtained through food. Omega 6, in particular, can help stimulate skin and hair growth, promote a healthy  immune response, support a healthy reproductive system, and can help overall health.

Sunflower oil is also low in saturated fat, which is good news for doggos who need to keep an eye on their weight as many oils can be high in this type of fat.

Sunflower oil can help keep your pup’s fur smooth and shiny, and keep their skin soft, so a particular perk for dogs experiencing dry skin. You can even apply sunflower oil topically onto dry paws – like a puppy hand lotion! You’ll only need a small amount though; no more than a teaspoon for a medium-sized dog’s paws.

However, when it comes to omega oils, it’s all about striking a balance. Whilst Omega 6 is, in theory, great for a dog to have in their system, the omega oils work more effectively in proportion with one another. Ideally, you want a higher ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6, so Omega 3 is really the one that you should be aiming to have more of. If the ratio is off long term, and your dog has a heavier ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3, it can actually have the reverse intended effect and negatively impact their immune system – not ideal!

How Much Sunflower Oil Can A Dog Have?

A little sunflower oil here and there isn’t a bad thing. A squirt once to twice a week may be a good thing – 1 teaspoon for a medium-sized dog gives about 5-8 grams of Omega 6. But, if you’re looking to support your dog’s immune system and skin and coat health with omega oils, a pre-formulated fish-based oil that is rich in both Omega 3 & 6 may be the best way forward. Remember, always look to a trusted, reputable brand for supplemental products!

Omega 6 oil is already present in whole grains, organ meats, other oils, and poultry fat so really, as a pet parent, you should be prioritizing supplementing with Omega 3 oils (most commonly and effectively derived from fish) or finding a formulated oil that is made up of both and made with the more ideal ratio.

Can Dogs Have Sunflower Seeds?

sunflower oil for dogs: a small Yorkshire terrier stands on a brown table surrounded by sunflowers at their feet

Yes, as long as they’re not salted and are peeled. The black shell of a sunflower seed can cause gastrointestinal distress or diarrhea in some dogs, so they should only eat the sunflower seed kernel. Sunflower seeds also have a high salt content which can be detrimental to both human and canine blood pressure. They are also high in calories and fats. 

However, they also have a high nutritional content that can be extremely beneficial to a dog’s skin and coat health, helpful with soothing occasional anxiousness and supporting a healthy metabolism.

If you intend to feed your dog sunflower seeds regularly, aim for 10-20 seeds per week for small dogs, and 20-40 for big dogs. It is not recommended you exceed this amount and always remember that they should be peeled and not additionally salted.


Author Braff, Danielle “Should Sunflower Oil Be Part Of Your Dog’s Diet? Dog Eared, By Ollie, Feb 23. 2018

Author Hartley, Jodi L. “Can Dogs Have Sunflower Oil?” Daily Puppy

Author Beveridge, Tiffany “From Coconut to Sunflower: Here Are the 5 Oils That Should Be In Your Dog’s DietThis Dog’s Life, Nov 07. 2016

“Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?” Pawesome

This post was updated on 06/21/2022. This post was originally published on 06/21/2021.

Sarah MiltonS

Sarah Milton

Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!

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The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
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