Can Dogs Eat Funyuns? No: And Here’s Why

Pet Food


October 18, 2021
Image from: TheRealFunyuns

Funyuns are certainly an “acquired taste.” They aren’t for everyone, but those who love them will scarf down packet after packet of them. Still, whether you like Funyuns or not, the fact remains that they probably aren’t the best for your dog.

Onions are already unsafe for dogs, as they belong to the plant family Allium. These plants can damage dogs’ red blood cells and reduce the flow of oxygen in their blood. This can lead to organ damage and anemia – and that’s just for starters. Here’s how even Funyuns and onion powder can be dangerous for dogs.

What Are Funyuns Made of?

If you came here wondering “Can dogs eat Funyuns,” you might be hoping for a bit more of an explanation than the simple no given above. If you want to really dive into the details of why Funyuns are bad for dogs, keep reading. Although they contain onion flavor, they aren’t actually made from onions. However, they do contain onion powder which, as established, is problematic enough.

A serving of 13 Funyuns contains 6 g of fat (1g saturated), 280 mg of sodium, and 140 calories. This is an unhealthy amount of fat and sodium for your dog, with the National Academy of Sciences stating that an average 33-lb dog shouldn’t eat more than 14 g of fat per day. Six grams of fat on just a few Funyuns is a huge, nutrition-free part of their daily fat intake.

The more fat the dogs consume, the greater their potential health problems in the future can be, with heart disease, obesity, and acute pancreatitis all becoming more likely. The latter can result in lethargy, fever, stomach pain, and vomiting. Needless to say, however much you may like Funyuns, none of this is worth a small taste of one for your dog.

More on Why Funyuns Are Bad for Dogs

As mentioned above, onions can be very toxic for dogs, with even a dusting of onion powder potentially being enough to damage their red blood cells and make them quite sick. In addition to those already serious issues, onion powder and Funyuns can in theory lead to some pretty nasty side effects.

For example, while dogs need a small amount of sodium to aid things such as cellular and muscle health, too much of a good thing can be very bad. Dogs only need about 100 mg of sodium max, meaning that a few Funyuns contain 2.8x as much sodium as their entire daily intake. Even if they only eat a couple, that’s a lot of sodium.

All of that extra sodium can lead to sodium poisoning and a wide range of deleterious effects, including:

  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme urination
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Disorientation
  • Watery loose diarrhea
  • Swollen tongue

What About the Health Benefits?

You might be wondering why Funyuns are so bad for dogs when they have a reputation among some as being surprisingly healthy for a snack food. For example, they are gluten-free and offer no trans-fat or cholesterol. However, while those things may help you, they are not nearly as important for dogs, and don’t outweigh the many problems listed above.

What’s more, your dog may be allergic to some of the actual health benefits offered by Funyuns, including those of the corn oils included in the recipe. The fact of the matter is that you cannot count on the same health benefits carrying over for dogs. These health facts are given with human biology in mind, and dog biology is often just too different.

Instead, you’ll want to consult different sites, as well as your vet, and make sure that you are planning your dog’s diet around their unique biological needs.

Treating Your Dog Post-Funyuns

If your dog has eaten Funyuns, don’t panic, there are plenty of ways you can help them. To counteract the high amount of sodium in Funyuns, you can give your dog 10 mg of Pepcid or 2 tsp of TC Pepto Bismol to help counteract the dehydrating effects. You’ll also want to give your dog water. In addition, you’ll want to feed your dog bland food for a while afterward.

If your dog doesn’t start to improve, or starts to experience some of the more severe symptoms mentioned above, you’ll want to rush your dog to the vet right away. Your dog needs to receive medical attention as soon as possible, and to be hydrated as quickly as possible. The last thing you want is for your dog to have the deadly dual problems of diarrhea and vomiting.

Snack Alternatives to Funyuns

Hopefully by now, the case against Funyuns has been compelling enough to convince you that they are far too dangerous to risk giving to your dogs, even as a treat. That said, one of the great joys of pet ownership is being able to dish out treats from time to time. If you want to feed your dog some “real food” as treats, there are plenty of alternatives to Funyuns.

Fruits and vegetables are your friend here, with things such as watermelon, broccoli, carrots, bananas, and blueberries being favorites. That said, you still want to make sure that you give your dog these things in moderation, if at all, and to check their ingredients to ensure that you aren’t creating a different problem, such as excessive citrus intake.

Why it May Not Matter

By now, you hopefully understand why you shouldn’t go around feeding your dog Funyuns at will. On the other hand, maybe you’re reading this in a panic after you accidentally spilled your Funyuns and your dog ate one or two before you could stop it. If so, fear not – such a small dosage probably won’t harm your dog.

The fact is that while the onion powder, fat, and other ingredients in Funyuns aren’t good for dogs and you shouldn’t feed them to your dog, the scenario described above is hardly likely to affect them. Your dog might feel a bit off as it digests it, but that aside, your dog needs to ingest more Funyuns or eat them far more regularly to feel any real harm.

It should be crystal clear by now that Funyuns are absolutely not something you should feed to your dog under any circumstances.

The biggest selling point for Funyuns is their oniony taste, and as mentioned several times, this not only isn’t something dogs are likely to enjoy but something that can actually poison them. In addition, many of the potential health benefits of Funyuns work against dogs’ biology.

In short, while Funyuns may not kill your dog, they can still harm your dog, and there is no reason to feed your dog Funyuns.