Updated Sept 2019 to include new photos.
Why fermented raw seeds for dogs? To reduce phytic acid and make the nutrients and benefits the seeds have to offer more bioavailable, while also providing canine gut-friendly bacteria.
Whey Fact: Whey that is derived from kefir doesn’t contain notable levels of lactose. This is because approximately 99% of it was used in the fermentation of the kefir.
Feeding fermented raw pumpkin and sunflower seeds can provide dogs with micro-boosts of important minerals and vitamins but it is important to note that seeds should not be relied upon to provide essential nutrients because they are not the best option for dogs in terms of nutrient absorption. When seeds are not correctly prepared or they are fed in excess, they can actually block nutrients from being properly absorbed. This is why seeds that are not correctly prepared are known as anti-nutrients. This homeopathic protocol should not be looked at as a tool to be the main provider of daily essential nutrients for that reason.
Scientific Background to Raw Pumpkin Seeds and De-Worming
It is not as common practice in the US to reach for holistic and homeopathic protocols over conventional methods as in other parts of the world. Often people like to see studies that prove a holistic or homeopathic method of treating or preventing something works, so I have linked a study a little further along about the effectiveness of pumpkin seed extract and de-worming. Anecdotal Note: It is a common practice in Germany for humans to deworm themselves via raw pumpkin seeds. This trickled over to livestock and then eventually to other animals such as the domesticated dog. Pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid Cucurbitacin. Cucurbitacin eliminates intestinal bugs by acting as a dewormer. This study published in 2016 by Maciej Grzybek concluded pumpkin seed extracts are effective. Particularly note references 22,23,& 24.
Why Feed Fermented Raw Sunflower Seeds
Fermented raw sunflower seeds offer dogs micro-boosts of magnesium, manganese, selenium, and vitamins B1, B3, & B6. Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E and offer immune support, heart support, and are a natural anti-inflammatory. The benefits that sunflower seeds hold are why sunflower seed oil is a commonly found addition to commercially made BARF premade grinds.
Why Feed Fermented Raw Pumpkin Seeds
Fermented raw pumpkin seeds offer dogs micro-boosts of amino acids, fiber, iron, copper, magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, folic acid, and niacin plus the above mentioned antiparasitic benefits.
Important Recap About Feeding Seeds: Seeds should not be looked at as a source of providing essential nutrients for dogs. If seeds are not prepared correctly or are fed in excess, they can block the absorption of essential nutrients. Fermenting seeds allows them to become more bioavailable and should be looked to as a supportive de-worming protocol used intermittently through the year.
How To Ferment Seeds with Kefir Whey
Begin collecting the whey your kefir naturally creates each day when you tend to your batch. Sometimes this can collect very fast and other times it takes awhile. It all depends on your kefir and the environment it’s fermenting in. The kefir whey is your starter culture. The Lactobacillus bacterias in whey are “good” bacterias and they are what is needed to start the fermenting process. You want to collect about ten tablespoons of whey because you need about half of that amount and sometimes spills happen.
The Ingredients & Supplies
1/2 Cup of Raw Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 Cup of Raw Sunflower Seeds
1 Cup of Filtered Water
5-6 Tablespoons of Kefir Whey
A Large Air-Tight Mason Jar for Fermenting the Seeds
Another Airtight Glass Jar or Bowl for Storing
Ferment the seeds in the water and whey for 24-48 hours.
Strain your seeds and add them to a high-powered blender or food processor. (Tip: I leave my paste just a little rough with bits of seeds)
Store in a glass, air-tight container in the refrigerator. This paste will turn (go rancid) quickly so be sure to store it in air-tight glass and use it within the first two weeks. You’ll notice when it is beginning to turn.
How Much To Feed
1 teaspoon per 10 lbs. of body weight.
Feed daily for the duration of the paste. I generally make it every handful to several weeks, depending on my dogs and their current habits and the weather. (Rain brings parasites up from the soil.)
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Citations + Sources:
Evaluation of Anthelmintic Activity and Composition of Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) Seed Extracts-In Vitro and in Vivo Studies.