Chia seeds have been a popular food for quite some time now, as they have a wide range of health benefits — for people, anyway.
As a result, you may have been tempted to sprinkle a few on your dog’s kibble, but should you? Are they safe for dogs?
We always recommend thoroughly researching any new food before offering it to your pup, so we took a closer look at chia seeds to find the answer to this question.
What Are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds come from a flowering plant known as the Salvia hispanica. It’s native to Mexico, and it’s believed that it was cultivated by the Aztecs as a food crop hundreds of years ago.
They’re small, flat ovals in a combination of black, brown, and white. They’re often consumed raw, or they can be mixed into other foods. You don’t need to grind them up to get their full nutritional benefit either, so they can be eaten whole.
Are Chia Seeds Safe for Dogs?
You do need to be careful not to give them too many at once, though, as they’re full of fatty acids. As a result, eating too many can cause an upset stomach.
Do Chia Seeds Have Any Health Benefits for Dogs?
Yes, chia seeds are extremely healthy for dogs. They’re full of a wide range of nutrients, and they can even help them manage their weight.
Here are just a few ways eating chia seeds can benefit your mutt:
They’re High in Fiber
These things are packed with fiber, so adding a few to their kibble should keep Fido regular. This can improve the health of their entire digestive tract, while reducing the risk of certain intestinal diseases.
Not only that, but they’ll help them stay full for longer. Chia seeds can absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid, so if you soak them in water, you can fill up their tummy with only a handful of seeds.
This can make weight loss efforts much easier, as you can cut down on your pup’s total food intake without making them feel like they’re starving.
They’re Packed with Omega Fatty Acids
You probably already know that salmon is a miracle food, and that’s largely due to the amount of omega fatty acids it has in it — but did you know that chia seeds have three times the amount of omegas that salmon does?
This is important because those antioxidants can do wonders for your dog’s health. They can improve the quality of their skin and coat, promote healthy brain and eye development, and combat disease-causing free radicals.
Even better, they won’t leave your entire house smelling like fish.
They’re Full of Other Important Nutrients Too
We’ve already mentioned the fiber and omega fatty acids, but those are far from the only nutrients that you can get from chia seeds. In fact, take a look at their nutritional profile.
Chia seeds have:
- More calcium than milk
- More potassium than bananas
- More iron than spinach
- More protein than just about any other plant source
- More antioxidants than blueberries
Not bad for a tiny little seed!
What’s the Best Way to Feed Your Dog Chia Seeds?
Chances are, your pup won’t just eat the whole seeds out of your hand, so you’ll need to find a better way to get them in their system.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by grinding them up and sprinkling them on their kibble. They’re best if soaked in liquid, so adding a little warm water or even low-sodium chicken broth can help.
If you feed your dog a wet food, it’s even easier to sneak chia into their diet. All you have to do is mix up the powder with the food and serve it as you normally would.
As mentioned above, though, chia seeds are extremely absorbent, so be sure your dog has access to plenty of water after they eat.
What’s the Verdict? Can Dogs Eat Chia Seeds?
Not only can dogs eat chia seeds, but they should — we recommend adding some to every meal. They have a wide variety of health benefits and can help you keep your dog’s weight under control to boot.
It’s incredibly simple to start adding them to your dog’s diet, so there’s no excuse not to. In fact, you should probably eat some as well, but that’s not for us to lecture you on!
Featured image credit: nikitozawr, Pixabay