• Hahnbee Choi, Cert. CN

Soaking The Troubles Away: Seeds & Nuts

Updated: Jan 22

Nuts and seeds are a great addition to the dog's meals as they can provide a plethora of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, and more, but there are a few things to know about them before just adding them into the bowl.


Benefits

Each type of nut and seed will have a slightly different array of benefits, but overall, nuts and seeds provide...


Essential Fatty Acids: such as Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA), have not been found essential in dogs and cars, but evidence may suggest it aids in a healthy eater barrier. But ALA should not be depended on for the only source Omega-3s. Dogs and cats must consume EPA & DHA from other sources as they cannot convert ALA.

Essential Vitamins & Minerals: Nuts & seeds are sources of nutrients such as vitamin E, selenium, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin, folic acid, and more. But it is difficult to use for requirements such as vitamin E due to the high volume needed.


What Type To Feed? There are so many nuts and seeds that it can be hard to know which ones are best to feed. The most common nuts and seeds fed and benefits are:

Hemp Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

Almonds

Brazil nuts

Pine Nuts

Chia seeds

Flax seeds

⚠️ Toxic seeds & nuts should be avoided. Seeds and pits from fruits such as cherries, apples, avocado, pears, peaches, plums, etc., and nuts such as macadamia nuts cause toxicity.


Preparation Method #1: Soaking

Dogs & cats do not have the biological tools necessary to digest and absorb the nutrients from raw seeds and nuts as they are very high in phytic acid. Phytic acid is an antinutrient that inhibits the absorption of other nutrients when ingested. Taking the proper steps to prep the plant matter allows for maximum absorption.


To process seeds & nuts for maximum bioavailability, METHOD #1 follow these simple steps:

1. Soak: Since nuts and seeds are high in phytic acid, soaking them for 24 hours reduces the phytic acid. Take your nuts and seeds and cover them with water. To the water, add 1/4 tsp of sea salt to pink Himalayan salt to .5 quart of filtered water. Optional: add in a splash of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Cover with an airtight lid and let sit for 24 hours. 2. Strain & Rinse: After soaking the nuts & seeds in the salty/acidic water, strain them rinse them with filtered water once or twice. Discard the water used to soak the nuts and seeds as it will be high in phytic acid. 3. Blend + Chop: Either blend them in a blender to make a paste, hand chop them into smaller pieces, or dehydrate them in a dehydrator or your oven, then grind to make a powder.

4. Store: Store the paste or powder in the freezer for maximum nutrient preservation. You can even put them in an ice cube or cute silicone molds for easy serving.

5. Feed: Seeds & nuts are very high in calories, so if your dog is an easy keeper, you may want to be wary of how much you feed. But as a general guideline, feed 1tsp per 20 pounds. Hemp and chia seeds won't need to be soaked as they have a low amount of phytic acid that soaking is not needed.


Preparation Method #2: Fermenting

Another way to prepare nuts & seeds for consumption is fermentation. Fermenting preps the seeds and nuts more than just soaking as they will be pre-digested by beneficial bacteria. But it can be hard for some to acquire the whey needed for the fermentation process. If you make your own kefir at home, you should have easy access to whey.


To process seeds & nuts for maximum bioavailability, METHOD #2 follow these simple steps:


1. Gather Supplies: Put 1 cup of nuts/seeds, 1 cup of water, and 5 tablespoons of whey into a glass jar. (Whey is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained).


2. Soak: Let soak for 24 hours.


3. Strain & Blend: Store in the refrigerator and make small batches as they tend to go bad quickly.


4. Feed: Feed 1tsp per 20 pounds. Keep in mind nuts and seeds are very calorie-dense and adjust accordingly to the individual dog.

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