Can dogs eat hot dogs? Should You Use Hot Dogs as Treats?

Your dog is always sitting so patiently beside you while you are grilling delicious hot dogs? This comes as no surprise because dogs are loyal and love the smell of BBQ.

But can dogs eat hot dogs, and what kind of adverse effects can they have on them?

Read on for a complete guide to the potential risks and health benefits of feeding your pup hot dogs, as well as the different types and alternatives you can choose as a reward for your pet.

Is it safe to feed your dog hot dogs?

As a whole, hot dogs do not contain anything that is toxic for dogs, so it is safe for dogs to have them. But is it good for them?

We have included the potential risks of adding hot dogs to your pup’s diet, as well as some healthier alternatives you can choose.

What is the biggest risk of feeding your dog hot dogs?

With many of the commercially available hot dogs, the exact ingredients they are comprised of are unclear. But what we can be sure of is that hot dogs contain salt alongside other processed ingredients, neither of which are good for dogs, especially in excessive quantities.

Plus, the cylindrical shape and their length make them a potential choking hazard for pups.

Another thing to be wary of when considering treating your dog with a hot dog during a BBQ party is that most of the popular garnishes, such as garlic and onions, are highly toxic for canines.

So, if you want to reward your pet with one, choose a plain one with minimum salt and no garnish, seasoning, or sauces.

Further Reading: Can Dogs Eat That Food? The Answers in 2022

Can hot dogs be beneficial for dogs?


Most good quality hot dogs are high in protein which is good for canines.

But there are many better ways to ensure that your pup gets the protein it needs than feeding it with hot dogs.

Are some hot dogs better than others when it comes to canines?

Yes, the cheaper the hot dog, the less likely it is suitable for your precious dog. The reason is that the cheapest options contain a lot of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, and low-quality meat, which are not good neither for you nor for your dog.

The higher-quality ones are more likely to contain whole meat such as pork, chicken, turkey, or beef. They usually have fewer and more recognizable ingredients. This makes them a healthier and tastier choice for you and for your pup.

Related: How much should I feed my dog? Factors to consider

How about the bun, the mustard, and the ketchup?

The answer is – no, no, and no!

Buns are packed with highly processed carbs and sugar and will give your dog more empty calories. This makes buns unsuitable for dogs, especially for senior or overweight pups.

Mustard and ketchup both contain a lot of salt and sugar, making them totally unsuitable for dogs.

What to do if your dog ate a hot dog?

If your pup got hold of a hot dog and ate it watch it closely for any signs of choking or obstruction. If it doesn’t seem to have issues, then you shouldn’t be so worried, especially if it was only one hot dog.

Even if the dog ate several, you shouldn’t start panicking right away. In normal circumstances, a medium or large-sized dog can eat several hot dogs without any negative repercussions.

But if your pooch has eaten more than you think it can handle, offer it fresh water to drink, and watch it for signs of bloat. These are a distended or painful stomach, retching, unsuccessful vomiting, drooling, excessive pacing, restlessness, distress, rapid breathing or panting, and others. Bloat is a life-threatening condition and requires immediate emergency veterinary care.

What are the best healthier alternatives to give to your pup?

If you want to grill some treats for your pup along with your food, then you can choose chicken or hamburgers. But make sure they are with minimal salt, without BBQ sauce, rubs, or other seasonings.

If you eat high-quality hot dogs made of real whole meat and known ingredients, you can reward your pup with a few bites. But cut it into manageable pieces and don’t overdo it.

Final verdict – Can dogs eat hot dogs?

While there is hardly a veterinarian in the world who will recommend that you feed your dog with hot dogs, they are not toxic to dogs, and there are definitely worse things your pet can eat.

If you decide to give your dog some hot dog, make sure to choose a high-quality one, slice it up into pieces, and feed the pup sparingly.

Remember to skip the buns, the ketchup, the mustard, and any other garnish such as onions, garlic, BBQ sauce, and others, which can be dangerous for canines.

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