Before anyone thinks we’re downing chia seeds let us set the record straight and say that we absolutely adore them and our dogs do too!
Chia seeds are considered ‘super seeds’ as they are packed with vital nutrients that can truly benefit your dog if given properly. If you want to read about 6 other super seeds that are scientifically backed and deemed healthy for your dog in the right quantities, read our article here.
But, there are some things you need to watch out for when feeding them to your dog. Let’s discuss possible side or ill effects that you should know about.
1. Digestive issues
Chia seeds are packed with fiber and while this is often extremely beneficial for pets with digestive issues, if fed too much they can cause GI upset.
Chia seeds are a great source of fiber, providing 11 grams of fiber in each 1-ounce (28-gram) serving. While fiber can be of great benefit for your dog, especially if they have GI issues, too much of a good thing is as the saying goes a bad thing, a really bad thing.
Always make sure your pup has plenty of fresh water and if your dog has IBD, you may want to limit their intake during a flare-up for this reason.
Talk to your vet prior to feeding your dog chia seeds so that you don’t give them in excess. A good rule of thumb is 1/4th teaspoon per 10 pounds. My dogs are 5 & 7 pounds so they get a little less than 1/4th of a teaspoon.
Chia seeds can hold up to 12 times its weight in water, which means they are wonderful at preventing dehydration but if taken dry can possibly cause major issues in your dog’s esophagus or stomach.
When given dry, the seeds can get lodged in the esophagus easily or pull moisture from the intestinal system and cause internal swelling. This can lead to many complications including blockage, which can be life-threatening.
This is especially important to note in dogs that suffer from esophageal dysfunction or have difficulty swallowing. You can prevent this from happening by first mixing the seeds with some water and giving the seeds time to swell. Ideally, for every 1/4 cup of chia seeds soak in 3-4 cups of water for at least 20-30 minutes or if you can soak them overnight.
hydrating chia seeds also have the added benefit of making them more bioavailable for your pet’s body to use. This is because soaked chia seeds release enzyme inhibitors that naturally serve to protect the seed from sprouting prematurely. Without soaking first, these enzyme inhibitors may bind to nutrients and cause gi irritation.
Though uncommon, some dogs may be allergic to chia seeds. If you are giving your pup chia seeds for the first time make sure to keep an eye out for any possible allergic reactions and give a smaller amount to start out with.
As with any food allergy things to watch for are hives or a rash, swelling, itchy skin, diarrhea, and/or vomiting.
4. Omega 3 overload
Chia seeds are loaded with omega 3’s but there is a delicate balancing act between Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. While this would be rare, make sure your pup is getting enough of both.
HOW MUCH CHIA SHOULD I GIVE MY DOG?
Speak to your veterinarian for a dose specifically for your pet, but most dog owners stick with the rule of thumb of giving a quarter of a teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight.
My advice is to start small and work your way up from there. Introduce the seeds into your pet’s diet slowly to help prevent any possibilities of GI upset.
|Small Dogs||1/4 – 1 teaspoon of Chia Seeds|
|Large Dogs||1-2 teaspoons of Chia Seeds|
FOUR ESSENTIALS TO REMEMBER WHEN FEEDING CHIA
1. Soak the seeds
Soak the seeds in water overnight as this will give them adequate time to swell. Chia seeds can absorb 9-10 times their weight and not only does this help with any possible blockage or choking hazards, but it also makes the seeds a lot easier to digest and increases nutrient absorption. Like all seeds, chia seeds contain digestive inhibitors, and soaking them removes this barrier.
2. Observe your dog
The first couple of times you give your dog chia seeds make sure you pay close attention to them. Watch for any signs of gagging, allergic reaction, or gastrointestinal upset. You may need to decrease the number of seeds you give them or discontinue use at all
3. Consult your veterinarian
Always consult your veterinarian prior to giving your pet chia seeds, this way they can recommend a starting amount to give with meals.
4. Keep water close by
Always have a fresh bowl of water available for your pup when you give them chia seeds with their meals
SIGNS OF A BAD REACTION TO CHIA SEEDS
Keep a close eye out for any of the following signs:
- Stomach upset and bloat
- Painful abdomen
If you experience any of these signs discontinue chia seeds and consult your veterinarian.
Overall, chia seeds are relatively safe to feed your dog in moderation and with supervision. In fact, I add them to my dogs drinking water regularly. Do you give them to your dog?
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