Can dogs eat chia seeds?
Yes, dogs can eat chia seeds. There are plenty of foods that we can offer to our dogs that boast a variety of health benefits.
In fact, there is an abundance of superfoods that can help our dog’s health in a variety of ways, from easing the symptoms of arthritis to fighting cancer.
Let’s delve into the world of chia seeds and see how our dogs may benefit from them being added to their diet!
Table of Contents
What are chia seeds?
Chia seeds are edible seeds that come from the Salvia Hispanica plant, which is native to South America.
Chia seeds are small, round, and often black or grey in appearance. They contain high levels of nutrients that both humans and animals can benefit from.
Are chia seeds good for dogs?
Yes, chia seeds are good for dogs! As with any supplementary food you decide to feed your furry friend, chia seeds should be offered in moderation and as part of a wider, more varied diet.
If you want to introduce chia seeds into your dog’s diet, start with a small amount first, slowly building up the amount over a period of time.
Let’s look at the different benefits that chia seeds can offer to our canine friends!
Chia seeds are a brilliant way to support your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Chia seeds provide a great source of fiber, which help to promote the growth of healthy bacteria within the digestive system.
High levels of fiber can also help dogs who have problems emptying their anal glands. Anal glands are located within your dog’s anus and should naturally express when they pass feces.
Some dogs can have trouble emptying their anal glands and often a trip to the vet is required. Fiber can help to ‘bulk up’ feces resulting in firmer excretions, which in turn, help the anal glands to express easier.
Always seek veterinary advice if you think your dog has anal gland issues.
Chia seeds contain a high concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have a variety of functions within the body. One of these functions is to support joints and keep them in tip-top condition.
Chia seeds also contain phosphorus and calcium. These are minerals that promote bone growth and maintenance.
It may be beneficial to offer your dog chia seeds if they have been diagnosed with diabetes. However, always get the go-ahead from your veterinary surgeon first.
As a quick “whirlwind” tour of diabetes, when your dog eats, the levels of glucose (sugars) in their blood increases. An organ called the pancreas then releases a hormone called insulin to help break down and process these sugars.
When a dog suffers from diabetes, often their pancreas is not functioning correctly and as a result, does not release insulin. The dog’s blood sugars then remain high and can cause a multitude of secondary problems. Often, animals who are diabetic will have to have insulin injections twice daily.
Chia seeds help to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels within a dog’s body and, in some cases, can help support diabetic patients.
Due to all the vitamins, minerals and all round goodness found within chia seeds, our dog’s immune systems are well supported.
A dog’s immune system helps to fight infection and disease, as well as keeping our dog’s full of energy, life and ready for action.
Antioxidants are essential for our dog’s bodies to function correctly and it just so happens that chia seeds contain high levels of natural antioxidants.
Antioxidants help to protect their bodies from harmful products that can cause cells to mutate. In severe cases, this mutation can lead to diseases and even cancer.
Are chia seeds bad for dogs?
No, chia seeds are not bad for our dog’s. In fact, they are rather good for them! However, there is the old and trusted saying of “too much of a good thing” and this is certainly true with any food that you feed your pooch.
Ensure that only small quantities of chia seeds are offered to your dog in addition to good quality dog food. Your dog’s usual diet should be nutritious and well balanced and in theory, additional additives, such as chia seeds, should not be required.
There are a variety of dog food brands available for our canine companions and it can be overwhelming choosing the best option. Speak with your veterinary practice to see what they recommend.
There are a few risks to consider when feeding chia seeds to your dogs:
Remember when we were talking about chia seeds being good for our dogs tummies? Well, the truth is that yes, they are. However, too many chia seeds can actually have the opposite effect.
Due to chia seeds containing high levels of fiber, if a large or continuous amount are ingested it can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Additionally, too many chia seeds can cause abdominal bloat. In large breed dogs, this is a medical emergency and requires treatment immediately.
Similar to humans, dogs can be allergic to different types of food. It is highly unlikely for a dog to be allergic to chia seeds, however, there is always a possibility. Always monitor your dog for any adverse reactions when offering any new food source to them.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
- Dyspnea (difficulty breathing)
- Swelling around the face or throat
- Excessive coughing
- Hypersalivation (increased drooling)
- Seizures or convulsions
If you think that your dog has had an allergic reaction, contact your veterinary practice immediately.
Chia seeds can often swell when they come into contact with liquid. In fact, chia seeds can actually expand up to 10 times their original size!
If large amounts of chia seeds are ingested, this could potentially cause serious issues to your dog’s gastro-intestinal tract. It is likely that the intestines would become blocked.
It is always best practice to pre-soak your chia seeds before offering them to your dog. This allows you to see how much you are offering once they have become swollen. Chia seeds can be soaked in a small amount of water for at least 30 minutes.
How to serve chia seeds to your dog
The amount of chia seeds to offer your dog can vary depending on the size of your dog, but as a rough guide, you can offer ¼ teaspoon per 10 lbs of body weight.
Here are a few suggestions of how you can incorporate chia seeds in to your dog’s diet:
Sprinkle onto food – A small amount of chia seeds can be sprinkled or mixed into your dog’s usual diet. Chia seeds should be soaked in water at least 30 minutes prior to feeding them to your dog.
Feeling fancy? Turn them into a biscuit – There are loads of dog biscuit recipes across the internet which usually consist of a base of flour, water, and sometimes yogurt.
Why not soak your chia seeds and then add them to a homemade biscuit? That way they’re receiving the benefits of the chia seeds whilst being a little more interesting to eat.
Biscuits and treats are useful in training, rewards, and for simply strengthening your bond because you just love them! Remember to read our guide – How many treats can my dog have a day for guidance.
Pair with other superfoods – Make a “superfood mash” by placing chia seeds, blueberries, and cooked pumpkin into a bowl. Sounds like a delicious boost of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants all in one tasty slop! I’m sure your dog won’t mind the appearance and will eat every last scrap.
Can dogs eat seeds?
The answer to this is yes and no. We’ve established that dogs can eat chia seeds, but what about other seeds? Do they have similar benefits?
In some instances, it may be better to avoid offering your dog seeds, or just stick to ones that you categorically know are not toxic to dogs. Let’s have a look at some other types of seeds:
Yes, dogs can eat sesame seeds. Sesame seeds contain high levels of iron, magnesium and calcium as well as vitamins E and B.
Yes, dogs can eat sunflower seeds. Ensure that they have no shell and are from an organic origin. Sunflower seeds contain vitamins E and B as well as high levels of copper, phosphorus and magnesium.
No, apple seeds should not be offered to your dog. Apple seeds are toxic to dogs as they contain cyanide. If your dog has ingested one or two apple seeds, they are unlikely to show any adverse reactions, however, it may be worth double checking with your veterinary surgeon.
No, do not offer macadamia’s to your dog. Macadamia’s are highly toxic to dogs. If your dog has eaten macadamia’s, contact your veterinary surgeon immediately.
Can dogs eat chia seeds – final thoughts
Chia seeds can make an excellent addition to your dog’s diet. They can help with a variety of ailments such as arthritis, as well as supporting diabetic patients and even contributing to the prevention of cancer!
Ensure that you pre-soak the chia seeds before offering them to your dog to avoid blockages occurring. Also remember to give them a small amount to avoid gastro-intestinal upset or bloating.
When offering any new foods to your dog, start slowly and introduce them over time. Make sure to monitor for any adverse reactions and always consult a veterinary surgeon if you are worried.