Let’s talk seeds and nuts for dogs!
After all, they’re jam packed with nutrients that are beneficial to our pups. For example, did you know that nuts and seeds are the richest plant sources of Vitamin E?
Additionally, they can close nutritional holes in raw-fed dogs if you’re not able to rotate your food sources a bunch.
For example, you can balance the abundance of Omega-6 fatty acids in poultry and farmed ruminants with chia seeds, flax seeds or hemp seeds as they are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
But what seeds and nuts are good for dogs?
That’s what we’ll cover in this blog post:
- What seeds can you feed dogs?
- What nuts can you feed dogs?
- Benefits of seeds and nuts for dogs
- How to safely feed nuts and seeds for dogs
- Dog foods that have seeds in their ingredient list
Seeds and Nuts for Dogs: Benefits & How to Feed
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What Seeds Can You Feed Dogs + Benefits of Seeds for Dogs
There are a variety of seeds that are not only safe for dogs to eat but super healthy, too! For example:
- Pumpkin seeds. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, manganese, zinc and fiber. Help support skin & digestive health and help get rid of intestinal worms.
- Chia seeds. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber & protein. Reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar and support digestive health.
- Flax seeds. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals lignans, magnesium and fiber. Reduce inflammation, support heart health & digestive health, and also help block tumor growth.
- Hemp seeds and hearts (hearts are de-shelled seeds). Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, manganese, fiber & protein. Support digestive health, skin health and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Sesame seeds. Rich in copper, B vitamins and fiber. Help support digestive health and reduce inflammation.
- Sunflower seeds. Rich in Vitamin E & B Vitamins with anti-oxidant properties.
- Fenugreek seeds. Help improve digestion and appetite in picky eaters, reduce inflammation, manage coat and skin issues. Increase milk production in lactating dogs. You can also get organic fenugreek seed capsules from thedogbreederstore.com.
What Nuts Can You Feed Dogs + Benefits of Nuts for Dogs
Likewise, dogs can eat a variety of de-shelled nuts. The following nuts are safe for dogs to eat as long as they haven’t been roasted or salted:
- Almonds. Rich in fiber, Vitamin E, magnesium and manganese. Help treat sinus infections, cough and dry eye.
- English walnuts. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Help support kidney function.
- Brazil nuts. Rich in selenium and magnesium. Support a healthy metabolism and thyroid.
- Pine nuts. They’re also known as seeds, but it made more sense for me to include them in the nut group! Rich in manganese, magnesium, iron and zinc with antioxidant properties that help support heart health.
- Pistachios. They’re rich in B vitamins and phosphorus and help support heart and brain health.
- Hazelnuts. They’re rich in fiber, vitamin E, manganese and copper that help support heart and skin health.
- Chestnuts. They’re rich in fiber, manganese, B vitamins, vitamin C and copper with antioxidant properties.
- Cashews. Rich in magnesium, manganese, zinc and copper, they help support heart health and the digestive system.
- Coconuts – not a botanical nut but a tree nut, which makes it a fruit! Rich in fiber, manganese, copper, iron and selenium BUT also rich in saturated fat. According to newer studies, coconut oil can increase leaky gut. I recently read about this in Dogs Naturally Magazine. Given that new research, I wouldn’t feed coconut oil or coconut meat to dogs who have sensitive stomachs and leaky gut issues.
- Side note: I wonder if that research has something to do with Dr. Harvey’s no longer selling their coconut smiles treats?
- Peanuts – not actually a nut but a legume, similar to peas. They’re rich in Copper, Manganese, B Vitamins and Vitamin E and help support heart health and a healthy skin.
Nuts that are toxic for dogs are macadamia nuts, black walnuts and pecans, so never feed those!
How to Safely Feed Seeds and Nuts for Dogs
In raw feeding, seeds and nuts fall into the 10% plant matter category and can make up about 2% within that category (alongside veggies & fruit). It’s important to understand that all nuts are very rich in fats, so stick to the 2% rule and don’t overfeed on them.
As a general rule of thumb, rotate between them as much as possible!
Rotation of ingredients is super important in raw feeding to ensure that your pups don’t have any nutritional deficiencies.
As is the case with plant matter in general, we need to break down the plant cell walls of nuts and seeds for optimum nutrient absorption. That’s because dogs don’t have the enzyme that does this.
That said, the best way to prepare both nuts and seeds for dogs is by soaking and grinding them.
Soak them in water for 12-24 hours to get rid of their high phytic acid content. You can either mix nuts and seeds together or soak them individually. Make sure to discard the water they soaked in as it will be rich in phytic acid which causes impaired mineral absorption.
Rinse, then grind them in a food processor.
I recently prepared a mix of almonds, sunflower seeds and chia seeds and then mixed in one teaspoon with one of Wally’s daily meals.
I made enough to last me about 5 days. Once they were done soaking, I ground them and then stored them in Wally’s fridge section.
Besides making your own nut and seed mixes, you can buy certain base-and pre-mixes for raw (or cooked) dog food that feature (mostly) seeds in their recipes.
Common ones used in pre-made mixes are flaxseeds, hempseeds and fenugreek seeds.
I’m listing the ones I’m aware of towards the end of this blog post. Feel free to leave a comment under the post and share additional dog foods with seeds you know of! If you want, you can also email me at email@example.com, and then I’ll add them to this blog post.
How Much Seeds & Nuts Can I Add to My Dog’s Food?
As a general rule of thumb, you can add 1/4 teaspoon daily per 10lbs of body weight of seeds and nuts to your dog’s food, or 2% of their daily dog food allowance.
You can either sprinkle chia seeds over your dog’s food or turn them into a paste by adding some water. That can also work great as a food topper for picky eaters!
While you don’t have to grind or soak chia seeds, it’s best to grind and then soak all other seeds as well as nuts, specifically hemp seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, fenugreek seeds and almonds. Additionally, you’ll have to peel the sunflower seeds prior to soaking/grinding them.
For pumpkin seeds, you can feed 1 daily per 10lbs of body weight, ideally soaked & ground.
Dog Foods That Have Seeds in the Ingredient List
There are a few base-and pre-mixes that include seeds, as well as some freeze-dried dog foods with seeds on the ingredient label. I’ve fed several of them.
There’s also a few that feature coconut, but since it’s not technically a nut and that newest research came out about coconut contributing to leaky gut, I won’t list those.
Sojos Mix-A-Meal Premix
Ingredients of Sojos’ Mix-A-Meal Premix:
Sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, whole egg powder, cranberries, flaxseed, tricalcium phosphate, dried kelp, carob powder, dried basil, parsley leaf, zinc sulfate, vitamin e supplement, ferrous fumarate, copper sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, vitamin d3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid
Sojos Complete Freeze-Dried Dog Foods
Sojos also carries complete freeze dried dog foods that just need water added. Obviously these are not fresh raw meals but can be a great alternative when you’re traveling or to have something easy on hand when you’re running low on raw.
- Lamb Recipe. Ingredients feature flaxseeds and fenugreek seeds.
- Turkey Recipe. Ingredients feature flaxseeds.
- Beef Recipe. Ingredients feature flaxseeds.
Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Patties
- Beef/Chicken/Duck/Lamb/Rabbit/Salmon & Beef/Turkey Recipe. Ingredients feature pumpkin seeds.
- Venison & Lamb/Pork Recipe. Ingredients feature pumpkin seeds & fenugreek seeds.
Instinct Raw Boost Mixers Freeze-Dried
- Beef/Chicken Recipe. Ingredients feature pumpkin seeds & ground flaxseeds.
The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Food
- Limited-Ingredient Duck & Sweet Potato Recipe. Ingredients feature organic flaxseeds.
Ultimate Pet Nutrition Freeze-Dried Dog Food
- Pork/Beef Recipe. Ingredients feature flaxseeds & pumpkin seeds.
Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
- Beef/Duck/Lamb/Salmon Recipe. Ingredients feature ground flaxseeds.
Grandma Lucy’s Artisan Pre-Mix
Ingredients of Grandma Lucy’s Artisan Pre-Mix:
Potatoes, Flax, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Celery, Apples, Blueberries, Cranberries, Garlic, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Calcium Carbonate, Phosphorous, Zinc Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Potassium Chloride, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Magnesium Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement
Grandma Lucy’s Pureformance Pre-Mix
Ingredients of Grandma Lucy’s Pureformance Pre-Mix:
Chickpeas, Flax, Carrots, Celery, Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Papaya, Spinach, Garlic, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Calcium Carbonate, Phosphorous, Zinc Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Potassium Chloride, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Magnesium Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement.
Grandma Lucy’s Freeze-Dried Dog Foods
Artisan line (includes potatoes):
- Venison/Pork/Lamb/Chicken Artisan. Features flaxseeds.
Pureformance line (includes chickpeas, no potatoes):
UK ONLY: SmartBarf Vegetable, Seed & Fruit Mix
I learned about this natural meal booster for raw-fed dogs when I wrote about Dalmatians on a raw diet back in 2017.
One of them is Norman who lives in the UK. His owners add the Smart Barf mix to his raw meals. Although it does have some coconut in it, I’m adding it because it’s chock full of seeds and actual nuts, too.
You can also check it out on the SmartBarf website.
Such a bummer that it’s neither available via US Amazon nor Germany Amazon (where I currently live)! Either way, below are the ingredients:
Seeds (25%): buckwheat, celery, chia, evening primrose, hemp, linseed, milk thistle, millet, niger, pumpkin, safflower, sesame, sunflower
Root Vegetables (15%): beetroot, carrot, parsnip
Nuts (11%): almonds, brazils, cashews, coconut, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts
Beans (10%): aduki, black eye, chick peas, peas, haricot, locust, mung, pinto
Leafy Greens (8%): cabbage, kale, spinach
Other Vegetables (8%): asparagus, broccoli, tomato
Hedgerow Berries (5%): elder, hawthorn, juniper, rosehips
Herbs (3%): basil, marjoram, oregano, parsley, sage, spearmint, thyme
Wild Seeds (3%): clover, meadow flowers
Tropical Fruits (3%): dates, goji, papaya, banana
Meadow Plants (3%): blackberry leaves, clivers (cleavers), dandelion, meadowsweet, nettle
Spices (1%): aniseed, peppercorns, caraway, fennel
Orchard Fruits (1%): apple, pear, plum
Mediterranean Fruits (1%): apricot, peach
Seeds and Nuts for Dogs: Bottom Line
Seeds and nuts can be a great addition to your raw-fed dog’s meals, especially if you’re limited as far as variety and different cuts of meat are concerned.
Here’s a recap of the best way to feed seeds and nuts for dogs:
- Make sure to de-shell your nuts, soak and grind them prior to feeding
- The only seeds that need de-shelling are sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds can be sprinkled over your dog’s food without soaking them
- Seeds besides chia seeds should be soaked prior to grinding them
- Discard the water your nuts and seeds soaked in, then grind them
Your pup can have 1/4 teaspoon per 10lbs of body weight per day, or 2% of their daily raw dog food allowance.