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Can Dogs Eat Hot Dogs? Vet-Reviewed Facts & Safety Guide

Written by: Jana Blagojevic

Last Updated on April 3, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat Hot Dogs? Vet-Reviewed Facts & Safety Guide

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 are made of processed meats and have a high amount of salt and fat 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, excessive hot dog consumption is considered a dangerous trend 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 if they steal a plain hot dog from your kitchen top. You should watch your dog, but no need to rush them to your vet since it is unlikely that this will cause any harm. However, you should avoid intentionally giving them to your pooch. It is important to note that some hot dog varieties contain potentially toxic ingredients, such as onion and garlic. If your dog eats any of these varieties, you should contact your veterinarian for advice.

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 digestive issues. When your dog eats an entire hot dog, they may experience stomach issues or diarrhea. If diarrhea persists and lasts for more than 12 to 24 hours, call your veterinarian for an immediate check-up. 

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 to eat in moderation. Safe human food options you can offer your dog as an occasional treat are tinned or cooked fish, such as tuna or salmon,5 cooked eggs, unprocessed meat, and certain fruits. Along with processed meat, avoid feeding your dog toxic or dangerous foods, such as garlic, onion, avocado, grapes, and raw fish. 

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 in case you want to give them an occasional treat. If you feed your dog a high-quality, complete and balanced food, they don’t need any supplements or additional foods. That said, if you ever want to include your dog in the weekend barbecue, you can offer them a tiny portion of unsalted and 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 fat and salt can cause digestive issues. Too much consumption of processed meat has been linked to colorectal cancer in humans. 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.

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Featured Image Credit: Maizephyr, Shutterstock

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