hotdogs on the grill

Hot dogs have the potential to bring out naughty behavior in every dog. One whiff and the big guns come out. The drool starts flowing, the begging begins, and the cute puppy eyes make an appearance. And if that doesn’t work? Get ready for a weenie heist.

If your dog does manage to snag a few wieners, don’t panic. They’ll be fine, but there are a few things you should know about feeding Fido franks.

Are Hot Dogs Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Yes, hot dogs are technically safe for dogs to eat. There’s nothing in them that’s seriously toxic or poisonous to canines. Most hot dogs are made with pork, beef, or chicken, all of which are perfectly fine for dogs to eat. The problems arise from everything else that’s in them.

Hot dogs are loaded with sodium, fat, and preservatives, none of which are good for dogs—or humans for that matter. They’re not dangerous for dogs in small amounts but feeding them hotdogs on a regular basis can lead to health problems down the road.

For instance, high sodium levels can cause dehydration, gastrointestinal distress, and even kidney disease in dogs. Too much fat can lead to weight gain, pancreatitis, and other digestive problems.

Common hotdog preservatives like sodium nitrate have also been linked to cancer in dogs. Some sausage brands also have garlic and onions, both of which are toxic to dogs.

Hold the condiments, too. Ketchup, mayo, and mustard may seem harmless, but they’re all loaded with sugar, salt, fat, artificial colors, and other ingredients that can be tough on a dog’s digestive system.

On top of that, the shape of a hotdog can pose a choking hazard, especially if you have a pup who gulps his food without chewing.

In other words, while hot dogs won’t kill your dog, it’s best to not make them a regular part of their diet.

dog eating
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

What Should You Do if Your Dog Eats a Hot Dog?

If your pup does manage to snag a wiener (or two), don’t panic. Most dogs will be just fine after eating a hot dog. Just keep an eye on them for any signs of trouble and call your vet if you’re concerned.

The most common side effect of eating a hot dog is gastrointestinal distress. Your dog may vomit or have diarrhea after eating one of these wieners. This is usually nothing to worry about and will pass within a day or two. However, if your dog is vomiting multiple times, has bloody diarrhea, or seems to be lethargic and in pain, contact your vet and bring them in immediately.

What to Give Your Dog Instead of Hot Dogs

If you’re having a backyard BBQ and want your pup to join in on the fun, there are plenty of safe, healthy options you can give them instead of hot dogs.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Cooked unseasoned chicken or turkey breast (without the skin)
  • Cooked unseasoned lean beef
  • Crunchy veggies like carrots, celery, or green beans
  • Fresh fruit like watermelon, bananas, apples, or oranges (without the seeds, stems, or pits)
  • A slice of cheese

Finally, make sure everyone at the table knows not to feed your dog any table scraps, no matter how much they beg. Aside from potentially making them sick, it also teaches them bad manners and can lead to begging behavior down the road.

Verdict: Are Hot Dogs Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Save for a possible upset tummy, your pooch will be fine after eating a hot dog. Just try not to make it a regular part of their diet.

If you’re worried because your clever pup just gobbled one up, you can relax because they’ll be fine.


Featured Photo Courtesy: Shutterstock