Can dogs eat hotdogs? Everything You Need to Know

Yes, dogs can eat plain hotdogs in moderation once in a while, as they are a good source of proteins. However, feeding hotdogs are not recommended for obese dogs and dogs having allergies or other health issues.

What are hotdogs?

A hot dog is a dish consisting of sausage sandwiched between a partially sliced bun. Sausage is usually a meat product derived from ground meat, often pork, beef, or poultry with salt, spices, and other flavorings. There are different types of hot dogs. They include:

  • Meat-based hot dogs: Hot dogs made out of beef, turkey, chicken, or some other meat
  • Vegetarian hot dogs: These are made out of cellulose or other plant-based ingredients

Sausages played a significant role in introducing the world to hotdogs. Hot dogs were found in the 1880’s when a sausage vendor in St Louis ran out of stock of his white gloves. He served hot sausages to his customers by providing white gloves to help them hold the sausages. Running out of stock with this white glove, he began serving the dish in the partially sliced white bun, giving rise to what we know as the hot dogs today.

Are hotdogs safe for dogs? 

You can safely feed your dog the plain sausage without the bun or condiments, as hot dog buns might trigger a reaction in your grain-sensitive dog. In addition, hot dogs with spices, ketchup, mustard, and seasonings are also unsafe when provided to your pet. Even processed hotdogs come with ingredients that are toxic to them. 

Why are hotdogs good for dogs? 

Hotdogs contain meat which makes it a protein-rich diet suitable for dogs.  

Why are hotdogs Bad for Dogs?

Choking Hazard: Firstly, hot dogs pose a choking hazard, especially for large dogs, as they may consume hot dogs without chewing them. If you do decide to feed your dog some hot dog, make sure to cut it into bite-sized pieces.

Symptoms of choking hazard: 

  • Make high pitched squeaks or whistling noises
  • Cough
  • Gag
  • Have discolored gums or tongue
  • Panic
  • Paw at his mouth
  • Pant
  • Pace
  • Struggle to breathe

Nutrition Facts of a beef hot dog without the bun

Fat:17 g
Sodium:572 mg
Carbohydrates:just over 2 g
Proteinalmost 7 g

From the above nutritional facts, hot dogs, even without buns, are high in fat and sodium contents, so it is best to avoid them.  

High-fat content: A higher fat content means your dog will add more calories than his daily requirement. This high-fat content causes obesity leading to other health issues, including bone problems, diabetes, heart problems, and poor blood circulation. Moreover, excessive consumption of high-fat food could show the below-mentioned symptoms.

Symptoms of consuming a high-fat food:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful inflammation of the pancreas resulting in Pancreatitis

High salt content: Even if your dog is fed only one-half of a hotdog, he would probably cross his daily sodium limit. Excessive salt intake could lead to dehydration, high blood pressure, kidney problems, and sodium poisoning.  

Symptoms of sodium poisoning in your pet include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Tremors
  • Disturbing seizures might occur

Processed hotdogs 

Processed hotdogs contain the following ingredients that are harmful to dogs:

Sodium nitrate:

Sodium nitrate adds a distinct flavor and color to the meat. It is used mainly to process meat products and prevents bacterial contamination. However, the presence of sodium nitrate is linked with the possibility of causing cancer and heart diseases in your dog.

Toxicity And Cancer:

Sodium nitrate, when consumed, reacts with your dog’s saliva and the acidic environment of his gut. The reaction forms nitrosamines, which are believed to be carcinogenic. In addition, nitrosamine increases the risk of gastric cancer in dogs. They are also formed when processed products with nitrites are heated at high temperatures.

Nitrosamines can cause

  • Reproductive toxicity
  • Developmental toxicity
  • Organ system toxicity

Dogs, when exposed to nitrosamines, develop tumors in the:

  • Liver
  • Lungs
  • Upper respiratory system
  • Nasal cavity
  • Blood vessels

Monosodium glutamate (MSG):

MSG damages your dog’s brain and impairs his ability to recognize that he’s full. It may even trigger learning disabilities, diseases like Parkinson’s and may lead to the following health hazards:

  • Liver inflammation
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Neuroendocrine disturbances
  • Behavioral issues
  • Fetal brain damage
  • Toxicity in the liver, thymus, brain, and kidneys

MSG is also listed in the following different names include: 

  • Any protein isolate (e.g., soy protein isolate)
  • Any textured protein (such as textured vegetable protein)
  • Autolyzed yeast
  • Hydrolyzed yeast
  • Yeast extracts of yeast nutrient or yeast food
  • Soy extracts
  • Soy concentrate
  • Sodium caseinate or calcium caseinate
  • Monopotassium glutamate
  • Glutamate, glutamic acid, or free glutamate

Artificial Sweeteners:

These ingredients increase the viruses and the harmful bacteria in your dog’s gut. Thus, artificial Sweeteners disturb the natural microbiomes and affect his gut health.

Some of the most commonly included sweeteners include:

  • Sucrose
  • Fructose
  • Maldextrin
  • Sorbitol
  • Maltrin
  • Xylitol

How harmful are xylitol to dogs? 

Xylitol is very toxic to dog as it:

  • stimulates the rapid release of insulin.
  • decreases blood sugar levels and causes hypoglycemia, which is life-threatening

Seasonings such as garlic and onion powder: Onion and garlic are toxic to pets and may cause poisoning. 

Symptoms of onion/ Garlic Poisoning

  • Vomiting
  • Anemia caused by rupturing of the red blood cells
  • Blood in the urine (red or brown colored urine)
  • Weakness
  • Pale gums
  • Panting
  • Rapid heart rate

How much of Hot dogs to Feed Your Dog?

If you choose to feed some hotdogs to your pet, you may give them a few bites as a snack occasionally. Contact your vet if you are doubtful of the amount of food you are feeding your dog already.  

Hot Dog Treat Recipe

You can easily turn a hot dog into a treat by following the below-mentioned steps at home:  

1. Chop the hot dogs into the size of a peanut.  

2. Cook these chopped pieces in the oven or microwave until they are well done.  

3. Store the treats in the refrigerator until ready to use.

What if my Dog ate Hot Dog?

If your dog ate just one hotdog and didn’t have any digestive issues, it is better to prevent your pet from having hot dogs further. But suppose your dog had eaten hotdogs excessively. In that case, you need to check for symptoms, such as bellyache or diarrhea. This should settle within a day; if not, you need to approach your vet to prevent your pet from getting dehydrated.  

Ensure to offer plenty of water to your pet and monitor for the signs of bloat, if any.

Symptoms of bloat include:  

  • Distended stomach 
  • Pacing 
  • Excessive drooling 
  • Unsuccessful vomiting 

If you notice your pet with any of these symptoms, take your dog to the vet immediately.

Alternatives to Hot Dogs

It is always better to replace hot dogs with healthy options. They include:

  • Zucchini 
  • Celery stalks 
  • Carrots 
  • Cucumbers
  • Plain beef, pork, or chicken without salt or other seasoning on it. Just make sure to cut the meat into bite-sized pieces.
  • Chicken 
  • Hamburgers

If your pup has stomach sensitivities, here is a grain-free easy home-made dog treat recipe they can safely enjoy:

Healthy Dog Treat Recipe

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  • Combine 1 cup of almond flour, 1 cup of coconut flour, ½ cup of peanut butter, ½ cup of pumpkin puree, 1 egg, and ½ cup of water (or skim milk).
  • Scoop the dough with a tablespoon and roll it into a ball. Place the rolled dough balls onto a greased baking surface, and flatten with a fork.
  • Bake for 18-22 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can Dogs Eat Both Uncooked and Cooked Hot Dogs?

Yes, dogs can eat both uncooked and cooked hot dogs. However, uncooked hot dogs contain raw meat that is vulnerable to bacterial contamination; hence, it is recommended to feed only cooked hot dogs to your buddies.

What About Ketchup, Mustard, and Buns? 

Buns: They are highly processed carbohydrates and have high sugar levels which make them very unhealthy. Hence, do not offer your pet a hot dog with a bun, especially if your dog is obese or diabetic. 

Mustard and Ketchup: Since they have a high-sodium content, it is best to avoid feeding your dogs with mustard and ketchup. 

Can Hot Dogs be Used as Training Treats? 

If your pet is overweight, has food allergies, or has other health issues, hot dogs might not be an ideal treat. However, it’s an inexpensive treat for healthy dogs who are not motivated by different treats due to their delicious taste. They are also helpful in hiding a pill for your dog to take it. It is important to remember that no more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily calories should be treats, while the rest should be a well-balanced, healthy diet.

Final Thoughts: 

Although you can feed hotdogs to your canines, it is always better to replace them with healthier options as hot dogs provide no nutritional benefit to your dogs.

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