Reviewed By Joana Garrido DVM
Are you curious about whether dogs can consume chia seeds? Chia seeds are considered a superfood and have numerous health benefits for dogs. By adding chia seeds to your dog’s diet, you can enhance their energy levels and cognitive health.
What Are Chia Seeds?
Scientifically called Salvia hispanica, chia seeds are edible seeds harvested from a flowering plant belonging to the mint family. They have been first domesticated in southern Mexico and Guatemala in 2600 BC.
Chia seeds were grown by ancient people like the Aztecs and Mayans and have become a staple in their diet.
This human food possesses the ability to provide additional energy to keep the body invigorated for longer periods. Thus, it was believed to carry magical qualities.
Aztec warriors are said to consume chia seeds when traveling long distances and right before battle. This food enhances their strength, stamina, and endurance.
In modern times, chia seeds are commercially harvested in many countries around the world, including Argentina, Australia, Peru, and the United States. They have grown popular due to their high nutritional value.
5 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds to Dogs
Why are chia seeds good for dogs? Chia seeds are good for dogs for a long list of reasons. Since these seeds pack loads of nutrients, they promote optimal health in canines. They provide the following health benefits:
1. Serve as an energy fuel
Chia seeds for dogs are a plant protein powerhouse. For every 2 tablespoons, they provide nearly 5 grams of protein. While plant protein is not superior to animal protein, it still has its perks.
Chia seeds can increase your furry pal’s energy and keep him active throughout the day. If mixed with meat proteins, they are crucial for creating sturdy muscles and preventing muscle wasting, which is a prevalent problem in senior canines.
2. Promote a healthy digestive system
Chia seeds are rich in dietary fiber. 100 grams of these seeds offer 34 grams of fiber. Fiber helps improve your dog’s digestion and prevents stomach problems by fostering a healthy gut microbiome.
The majority of dietary fiber that makes up chia seeds is soluble fiber. This type of fiber is water-absorbent, making the seeds fermentable in the colon by the good bacteria. They create short-chain fatty acids that aid in managing pathogenic bacteria.
3. Encourage weight loss
Due to the soluble fiber in chia seeds, they can absorb water 12 times their own weight.
Adding them to dogs’ meals will make them feel full for prolonged periods.
For this reason, chia seeds are recommended for overweight and obese pooches. This human food keeps them satisfied between meals. Thus, they are less likely to beg for extra snacks, allowing them to lose weight.
4. Help stabilize blood sugar levels
Diabetic dogs can benefit from chia seeds as they support normal insulin function. This human food works well in supporting blood sugar regulation and glucose tolerance too.
The dietary fiber of chia seeds slows down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar, which can inhibit sudden elevation of blood glucose levels.
5. Improve cognitive function
Chia seeds for dogs are a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids. About 75% of this human food is made up of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and the remaining 25% is composed of omega-6 fatty acids.
Converting ALA into omega-3 fats is a long process. Thus, it would be best to supplement your dog’s diet with omega-3-rich foods other than chia seeds.
The omega-3 in chia seeds plays an important role in retaining good brain function. It helps strengthen the fatty myelin sheath, thereby hastening the neurotransmitter speed and sharpening the mind and memory of canines.
Omega-3 also acts as an anti-inflammatory, which protects the brain from cognitive disorders. It is essential for maintaining normal canine cardiac health, clear skin, and a strong immune system.
6. Strengthen immunity against diseases
Chia seeds house a wide range of potent antioxidants, including kaempferol, myricetin, and quercetin. They protect your dog’s body from damaging free radicals that cause oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress has been linked to numerous serious canine ailments, such as cardiac problems, neural dysfunction, and cancer. By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants lower your dog’s risk of developing these debilitating health issues.
3 Downsides of Chia Seeds to Dogs
Chia seeds do not pose toxic dangers to your four-legged friend. However, this human food should be prepared and served with care and in moderation to avoid the following possible side effects:
1. Digestive upset
Letting dogs eat chia seeds in large amounts abnormally increases their fiber intake. Although fiber does wonders for their digestive health, excessive consumption may trigger tummy troubles such as:
So make sure to feed dogs chia seeds in small quantities to prevent these adverse reactions from happening. As you read on, you will know the recommended serving of chia seeds to incorporate into his meals.
2. Stomach obstruction
Many pawrents ask: “Can dogs eat raw chia seeds?” Chia seeds are not safe to be consumed raw by dogs.
Remember that they can hold water 12 times their weight. If ingested raw, chia seeds will soak up the liquids in the stomach, leading them to enlarge and potentially causing a blockage.
3. Drug interactions
Chia seeds are reported to interact with certain medications, such as anticoagulants, antiplatelets, and antihypertensive drugs. If taken together with these medications, they can induce hypoglycaemia or hypotension and haemorrhage.
If your dog is prescribed drugs, consult the vet before including chia seeds in his diet.
Recommended Serving of Chia Seeds to Dogs
We often come across the question: “How much chia seeds can I give my dog?” The serving size of chia seeds will depend on your dog’s weight. The general rule to follow is ¼ teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight.
For example, a dog weighing 30 pounds can have up to 7½ teaspoons of water-soaked chia seeds. Divide them into small portions and mix them into your dog’s meals throughout the day.
How to Safely Feed Chia Seeds to Your Dog
Here are a few safety tips to follow when preparing and feeding chia seeds to your canine friend:
- Go for organic chia seeds because they are less exposed to dangerous chemicals like pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
- Always soak chia seeds for dogs in water for 30 minutes or overnight. This gives them enough time to expand to their full size. Then you can use them as toppings on his dog food.
- Follow the ideal serving of chia seeds we have stated above to prevent your dog from experiencing digestive upset. Start with a small quantity to help his digestive tract adjust to the new food
Homemade Chia Seed Smoothie for Dogs
What you need:
- 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
- 2 teaspoons chia seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 3/4 cup milk (or almond milk or oat milk)
- 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- Place all of the ingredients in a blender. Pulse until the mixture has a creamy and frothy consistency.
- Transfer the chia seed smoothie to an airtight container.
- Put the smoothie in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours before serving it to your furry pal.
FAQs About Chia Seeds for Dogs
1. Can Chia Seeds Help Dogs with Constipation?
Yes, chia seeds can help dogs with constipation because of their insoluble dietary fiber. It absorbs fluids, which aids in forming bulky yet soft stools.
This type of fiber also promotes fast gut motility that relieves symptoms of constipation in canines.
2. Can I Put Chia Seeds in My Dog’s Water?
Yes, you can put chia seeds in your dog’s water. It is one of the easiest ways to incorporate this human food into his diet. Just remember to soak the chia seeds for at least 30 minutes before allowing your dog to drink.
3. Do Chia Seeds for Dogs Expire?
Chia seeds for dogs do expire, but the good news is they typically have a long shelf life of around 2 to 4 years. Refer to the product’s use-by date to know how long it will last.
It is important to note that soaked chia seeds get rancid more quickly than their raw counterparts. Storing them in the fridge will make them last for up to a week at most.
4. Can Dogs Eat Chia Seeds Every Day?
Dogs can eat chia seeds every day, provided that they consume this human food in moderation. As we have mentioned, offer ¼ teaspoon of chia seeds for every 10 pounds of body weight. Avoid going beyond the recommended amount or else your dog might have bouts of diarrhea.
Chia seeds are small in size, but they pack a strong nutritional punch. This superfood is a rich source of plant protein, fiber, and antioxidants for dogs, which support a strong immune system, a smooth digestive process, and a healthy body.
Chia seeds are tough to chew when raw, so they need to be soaked for a few minutes for easier and safe consumption.
There are other seed varieties that have a positive impact on your dog’s health when added to his diet. Check our Nuts & Seeds section to know more about them.