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Dogs can’t help but go gaga over these meaty wieners. However, can dogs eat hot dogs?
Yes, hot dogs and their tasty flavor is truly irresistible (for humans and dogs alike). But, given its bad reputation nutrition-wise, responsible pet owners hesitate to give this so-called “mystery meat” to their fur babies.
Since it isn’t the healthiest food out there, should you feed your dog hot dogs?
Can Dogs Eat Hot Dogs?
The short answer here is IT DEPENDS. Unlike macadamia nuts, chocolates, and grapes, hot dogs (despite its not-so-impressive nutritional profile) are not toxic and can be safely eaten by your fur baby.
However, while giving your dog a hot dog as training treats or just for fun isn’t cause for panic, your pooch might be better off munching on something else.
If you’re among those who love dogs and who prioritize their dogs’ health above all else, read on. We’re here to give you exactly what you’re looking for and more.
So sit back and relax as we get into the nitty-gritty details of hot dogs and its effects on your dogs.
Juicy Hot Dog Facts
Who doesn’t like hotdogs? An American staple, this highly processed meat has been eaten by presidents, kings, and queens and has even reached the moon.
Its no-frills prep and savory taste make this treat a must-have on summer picnics, barbecue parties, movie nights, and the like.
Health-wise, we know for a fact that this is not among the most nutritious. Even the “healthier” type of hot dog can’t be part of the list of healthy foods.
Nonetheless, this human-made food product still provides a couple of nutrients that you’ll find beneficial since it’s mostly made of meat – and meat equates to protein.
Here’s a rundown of some of the possible nutrients you’re getting from one beef hot dog.
- Vitamin B12
Why Your Pet Dogs Should NOT Eat Hot Dogs
While it is true that your pets can safely eat hot dogs every now and then and that eating hotdogs may help maintain their muscle, hot dogs are still processed meats that contain too many processed ingredients (especially the cheaply-made ones).
Loaded with artificial flavors and preservatives, you can expect the risks of eating hot dogs to outweigh the pros.
If the word “unhealthy” isn’t reason enough for you to stop feeding your furry pal too many hotdogs, here are a couple more reasons that might finally convince you:
1. They’re Packed With Unhealthy Fat
You might already know this, but what you may not know is that some pups can’t tolerate foods that are high in fat. If your dog is one of them, you can expect them to experience diarrhea, vomiting, and digestive upset.
Since hot dogs are high in fat, letting your pet dog get all the hot dogs they want also increases their risk of getting heart diseases and pancreatitis.
2. It Contains Nitrites & Nitrates
Most hot dogs are made with sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite – preservatives commonly used to cure meats. A typical diet would often include these compounds, but having too much can lead to illnesses like heart disease and cancer.
3. It’s Loaded With Sodium
According to VetInfo, if your dog weighs around 30 lbs, your pet’s sodium intake shouldn’t exceed 100 mg. Based on USDA, an average hot dog contains about 500 mg of sodium. Simply put, giving your pup a whole hot dog as a treat is too much.
What happens to a dog that eats food high in sodium?
One possible danger is dehydration, so make sure to give your dog plenty of water in case he has a helping of more than one hot dog. Long-term consumption of high levels of sodium can also lead to increased blood pressure.
4. They Often Contain Seasoning & MSG
Of course, hot dogs wouldn’t taste so yummy if not for the added seasonings (think onion powder, salt, garlic) and flavor enhancers like monosodium glutamate, aka “MSG” and artificial sweeteners. All of which are dangerous to your dogs. Onions and garlic, in particular, are considered toxic.
Onions and garlic contain substances that break down a dog’s red blood cells. Letting your dog eat large quantities can lead to anemia. Having too much salt also leads to dehydration as well as sodium ion poisoning.
MSG, on the other hand, may cause learning disabilities and damage the brain. Artificial sweeteners like xylitol are also harmful since these can trigger hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Or Wants To Eat Hotdogs
As mentioned, hotdogs are not deadly, so your dog can have a bite from time to time. But before giving your dog some of these treats for being a good dog during training, make sure to contact your vet and get expert veterinary advice.
If your trusty veterinarian says yes, just follow these tips to ensure a mishap-free snackin’:
Give your dog bite-sized pieces since hotdogs are a choking hazard. Yes, large hot dog pieces are indeed a choking hazard. When lodged in your pet dog’s airways, you’ll find that the Heimlich maneuver won’t always work. Since dogs tend to swallow without chewing, cutting the meat into small pieces would allow your dog to enjoy his treat.
Serve it plain and cooked. Your dogs will still like this even though it’s plain and even without the hot dog buns. Cook it in an oven, air fryer, or microwave to remove the grease.
Follow the 10% treat rule. Your dog’s diet should mainly include dog food that is complete and balanced. Anything that is not part of their regular diet (treats included) should be limited and should not exceed 10% of their daily calorie intake.
Alternatively, you have the option to feed your pup hot dogs made of whole meats and quality ingredients. Still, this should be given in moderation. In case your dog has a food allergy and experiences adverse side effects after eating a few pieces, contact your vet ASAP.
Since hot dogs are considered junk food, it’s best to give your dog hearty training treats like dog-friendly fruits, veggies, or even peanut butter.
Other training treats that your dog will enjoy minus all the risks are chicken, turkey, beef, or pork. Just make sure to serve it plain minus any seasoning.