Can Dogs Eat Hot Dogs? This Mystery Meat Has Mystery Ingredients That Can Pose a Problem

It's summer, and that means hot dogs. With grilling season comes a plethora of items perfect for grilling, and hot dogs are one of those things that lend themselves perfectly to being grilled to perfection. It's best not to think what's in them, but we mostly round up to the idea that hot dogs are meat. And dogs love meat. So is there any harm in feeding your pup a bite of grilled hot dog? Can dogs eat hot dogs?

While hot dogs are mostly meat and meat byproducts, those two ingredients come mixed with quite a lot of salt, as well as other additives. Some hot dogs can even contain flavorings like garlic or onion, which are toxic to dogs. Before tossing your pup a leftover hot dog, make sure you know what's actually in them.

Dangerous Ingredients in Hot Dogs

can dogs eat hot dogs

Several ingredients in hot dogs can prove harmful for your dog. Sodium nitrate—a preservative found in most cured meats—is one of these scary ingredients. Sodium nitrate has been linked to cancer in dogs.

Other ingredients to look out for include MSG (monosodium glutamate), sugars, and artificial sweeteners. While xylitol is usually not found in hot dogs, it's happened before, and xylitol is toxic to dogs. Seasonings like garlic and onion powder can also ruin your dog's day. Unfortunately, those seasonings are found everywhere during grilling season, which is a good reason why most people food should be avoided.

Other Problems With Hot Dogs

Even if you've found a variety of hot dogs that doesn't include the above ingredients, hot dogs should still be avoided. Hot dogs are loaded with fat, and fatty human foods can cause acute pancreatitis in dogs. Pancreatitis is a very serious gastrointestinal disease that can cause vomiting, lack of appetite, and lethargy. Some dogs are more sensitive than others, but the bottom line is, this illness can put your pup in the hospital pretty fast. Pancreatitis cases spike around holidays like Thanksgiving, where humans so often feed Fido their table scraps.

Alternatives to Hot Dogs

can dogs eat hot dogs

Dog owners should consider fruit and veggies like watermelon and cantaloupe as healthy snacks and alternatives to hot dogs, but be careful when selecting your fruit or veggie— not all of these fresh picks are safe for your pup. Snacks should always supplement your dog's diet and perhaps be added as a topper to dog food. Feed this in moderation of course, as fruit can cause some gastrointestinal upset. As a general rule, no human food should make up more than 10 percent of your dog's diet.

Effects of Eating Hot Dogs

Your dog can become hydrated from the excess sodium, among other things. If your dog sneaks a hot dog at your BBQ, watch for GI upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Hot dogs can even be a choking hazard.

It might be tempting to give small pieces, but this meat should just be avoided. The salt content, condiments, possible garlic powder, hot dog buns, ketchup and the mystery meat in the hot dog itself are all not good for your pup!

What snacks do you feed your dogs? Tell us on the Wide Open Pets Facebook page!

This article was originally published April 21, 2020.

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