• Mon. May 20th, 2024

Can Dogs Eat Hot Dogs? Facts & FAQ


Jun 13, 2023
red cocktail hotdogs on black pan


red cocktail hotdogs on black pan
Dr. Athena Gaffud Photo

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

If you find yourself at a barbeque party and notice your dog begging you for a little bite of your hot dog, you may be wondering if it’s safe for them. It is estimated that 150 million hot dogs are prepared every 4th of July, so it is no wonder you want to include your pet in this tradition. But how safe are hot dogs for your dog, and do they have any real health benefits?

Hot dogs are not considered healthy food, and since most people should avoid eating hot dogs too frequently, so should your dog. Hot dogs have a high amount of salt in them, which can cause severe stomach issues in dogs and many other problems when consumed too often.


Are Hot Dogs Healthy?

According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, hot dogs are dangerous human food that can lead to many health issues.1 As the World Health Organization concluded,2 a daily 50-gram (0.11 pound) portion of processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. Considering these numbers, and the dangers of consuming too much-processed meat for humans, we can conclude that processed meat of this kind probably isn’t a healthy meal for dogs either.

Are Hot Dogs Safe for Dogs?

While hot dogs are unhealthy in general, a hot dog or two won’t hurt your dog, but you should avoid intentionally giving them to your pooch. Some hotdog varieties contain potentially harmful ingredients, such as onion, garlic, and salt. Since dogs only need 200 mg of sodium (salt) per day,3 anything more than that can severely affect their well-being. One serving (52g) hot dog contains around 567 mg of sodium,4 while other hot dogs contain around 250 mg, so even a single hot dog can have too much salt for your pooch.

Sick mastiff dog sitting on table in a vet clinic
Image Credit: UfaBizPhoto, Shutterstock

What Happens if a Dog Eats Hot Dogs?

The biggest risk of feeding hot dogs to your dog is dehydration. When your dog eats an entire hot dog, they may only experience stomach issues or diarrhea. If diarrhea persists and lasts for more than a day, call your veterinarian for an immediate check-up. Over time, excessive sodium intake can cause severe health conditions such as high blood pressure.

While an occasional hot dog won’t cause considerable issues for your dog, there are still plenty of risks of feeding them to your dog regularly.

Human Foods for Dogs

Certain human foods can be safe for dogs and very beneficial. The most nutritional human foods you can offer your dog are fish, such as tuna or salmon,5 eggs, unprocessed meat, peanut butter, yogurt, and grains. Along with processed meat, avoid feeding your dog garlic and onion and anything with sugar in it.

Alternatives to Hot Dogs

Because hot dogs are unhealthy for your dog, it would be best to search for a replacement food to offer your dog. If you want to include your dog in the weekend barbecue, you can offer them unsalted, unseasoned, chicken, pork, or beef. Make sure the meat is cut to bite sizes to prevent choking. Any other unprocessed meat will be a good choice for your pup if it doesn’t contain salts, oils, and seasonings.

roasted or baked beef liver
Image Credit: nadi555, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Once you understand the risks of feeding hot dogs to your pooch, hopefully, you’ll consider a safer and healthier approach to your dog’s diet. This type of processed food is unhealthy even for humans, and the high amount of salt can cause dehydration in dogs and even high blood pressure. Too much consumption may also lead to cancer. Many other human foods are safe for dog consumption, so if you ever find yourself at a 4th of July party, look out for any unseasoned and unsalted meat to feed your dog.

Featured Image Credit: Maizephyr, Shutterstock

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *