Can Dogs Eat Hot Dogs? Here Are 4 (Helpful) Tips and Facts

We all love delicious hot dogs on the grill! They smell so divine. So who can blame Fido for wanting some too? The shortest answer to the question, “Can dogs eat hot dogs?” is yes, but not on a regular basis, and not in big pieces. If your dog snags a hot dog off the picnic table and has a snack, he may get an upset stomach or have an allergy flare-up, but he should be O.K.

Keep an eye on him, and watch for diarrhea and constipation; make sure he doesn’t choke if he grabs a whole hot dog. If he has allergy issues, make sure he doesn’t have a reaction. Provide water, especially if they’re not low sodium hotdogs; he may be pretty thirsty. But as long as it’s not his regular diet, you shouldn’t need to worry.

Hot dogs on Grill

Will Hot Dogs Hurt A Dog?

It’s hard to resist the “feed me” eyes. But hot dogs can be a choking hazard to a dog. A hot dog cut into small, chewable pieces is safer than a whole hotdog. Your dog can’t tell you when he’s choking, and even the Heimlich Maneuver won’t get a hot dog out of a dog. So it’s a good idea to give your dogs little pieces of hot dog that they can manage.

Hot dogs can have ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Add that to components that can cause gastric upset and diarrhea, and you’ve got a formula for a problem. Hot dogs also contain a great deal of salt, far more than your dog can tolerate regularly. Watch for excessive water consumption and dehydration.

Let’s look at what can be in hot dogs that’s not good for your pooch:

  • Sodium
  • Onion
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic
  • Garlic Powder
  • Nitrites
  • Sodium Nitrate
  • Monosodium Glutamate
  • Artificial Colors
  • Artificial Flavors

Why Are Hotdogs Bad For Dogs?

The total amount of sodium in a hot dog is over twice your dog’s daily sodium limit. If you feed your dog a hot dog and they start drinking a lot of water, you may want to consider a hotdog with a lower level of salt. Too much salt can dehydrate your dog and result in a trip to the vet, a bag of fluids, and a bill.

Now, if you have a butcher, you may get your hotdogs from him. He can tell you what he puts in his hot dogs and sausages. That way, you’ll know what you can and can’t give to your dog.

Hotdogs can also be made of all kinds of mystery meat. There are high quality meat alternatives to hot dogs like beef, chicken, turkey, and pork. You can find gourmet hotdogs that have quality ingredients but check the label. Again, if you have a local butcher, you can find out exactly what’s in your hot dogs.

They can contain 700 calories and be high in fat. Especially for sedentary and older dogs, this can cause health issues. Their blood pressure can rise to very dangerous levels from eating too many hotdogs. If your dog has food allergies, they can react to the hotdog and wind up scratching or worse.

Dogs should eat dog food regularly. That’s because most dog food is healthy for a dog. Can dogs eat hot dogs? Yes, rarely. But normally, you should give your dog healthy dog food.

Can Dogs Eat Hot Dog Buns?

Not only is “Can dogs eat hot dogs” a question, but what about hot dog buns? Buns are full of sugar and carbohydrates and are not good for dogs either. When we eat hot dogs, we’re not eating at our best. Our dogs typically eat dog food. Your dog’s digestive system is not accustomed to all the stuff that’s in hotdogs.

If you do give your dogs a hotdog, give them a plain one, and only give it to them as an occasional treat. Besides the bun, these are the things we put on hot dogs that are dangerous to dogs:

  • Relish – This contains salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Salt, as we know, is bad for dogs in high amounts, and onion and garlic powders are toxic to dogs.
  • Mustard – This contains salt.
  • Ketchup – The sweet tomato condiment contains that’s right-sugar, which is not good for a pet, especially sedentary ones.
  • Onion – This veggie is toxic to dogs.
  • Hot Peppers – These yummy guys can irritate a dog’s digestive system and cause diarrhea and discomfort.

So, plain hot dogs for Fido. He’ll be better off for it.

Hotdogs For Dog Training Treats

Fresh sausage and hot dogs grilling outdoors on a gas barbecue grill

All of that said, some people use hot dogs as training treats. These are fine, as they are used only when a trick is performed correctly, and they are prepared and maintained. I found a really yummy recipe on a website for Dried Chicken Weiner Treats that my dogs are looking forward to. Blue Buffalo makes a training treat as well if you don’t want to use hot dogs (I won’t earn an affiliate commission from this).

There are lots of stories of people using hotdogs as dog treats, but they use hot dogs with whole meats that aren’t high in fat, make certain to cut them small, and are positive there are no toxins in the meat like onions. If you’re going to treat regularly, some products aren’t as high fat as these nuggets.

If you have the perfect hotdogs for training treats for your pup, check out these tips:

  1. Cut them into small pieces that are friendly for chewing. Larger dogs may swallow a hot dog whole, making it a choking hazard. The small chunks make the hot dog last longer, and it should be used sparingly to keep your friend healthy. Smaller pieces are also the appropriate size for training treats, as you don’t want to give your dog a large treat that will stop him or upset his stomach, in this case.
  2. Cook the pieces. You want to do this to kill any bacteria that may be in the meat, so you make sure it doesn’t make your dog sick. Place the pieces on a paper plate or other microwave-safe plate and heat them on high for a minute or cook them in the oven until they have reached the appropriate temperature on a meat thermometer. Let them cool off completely and come to room temperature before you give them to your dog. You don’t want to burn him, no matter how badly he wants a treat!
  3. Soak up the grease on the chunks with a paper towel. You don’t want them to be greasy in your hands when you pick them up and hand them to your pup.
  4. Seal them in a container. You want to protect them from hair or particles and keep them in a container or plastic bag convenient to you while you are training. Use a container that seals to keep the bites fresh, so they don’t soak up the odors around them.
  5. Put them in the refrigerator. They will spoil if you don’t do this, make poor Fido sick, and leave you with a vet bill. So save yourself a buck, put the container in the fridge and keep them fresh so your pooch will jump for joy when he gets his mouth on those!

Because hot dogs are high in salt, it’s a good idea to make sure your dog has plenty of water. If your dog does start to consume lots of water, you might want to switch to a hotdog from one of the hotdog companies that have products lower in sodium. Check on your dog for diarrhea or constipation, and if your pet is choking, get him to a veterinary ER immediately.

Note – While browsing for a first aid site, I found the American Red Cross Pet First Aid App (all rights reserved) here for the iPhone and here for Android. However, this is no substitute for your ER vet. I suggest looking up their website and getting all of their contact information, including their email address.

In Conclusion

As a regular food, hot dogs aren’t healthy for dogs. Feed your dog healthy dog food with high quality meats and other ingredients. There are many options out there. Most owners in the world want the very best for their pet. Often, we want to share our food with our pet, but some of our food has preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors and is made for humans, not our dog.

If you’re going to make dog hotdogs, I’m sure your dog will thank you. Remember to keep dog hot dogs and hot dogs for humans with their respective consumers. The best ingredients make the best snacks. A healthy pet needs healthy ingredients. What you give your dog will help keep him happy.

The sort of hot dogs you might want to give to your dog are low sodium, whole meat hotdogs, and there are many to choose from. If you’re like a lot of owners, you only want the best for your dog. On your way back from the grocery store to make your dog hot dogs, stop and pick up a hotdog for yourself!