Can Dogs Eat Hot Dogs?

Hot dogs are a popular food for families at parties or barbecues, and it’s no wonder—they taste delicious! But fur parents often ask: can dogs eat hot dogs?

Many people enjoy feeding their dogs various human foods which are deemed to be ‘safe’ for dogs to eat, whether they actually are safe or not.

We hear a range of stories about what our canine companions have eaten, and if their pets did get sick from eating such food, most claims regarding these events boil down to anecdotal evidence.

Hot dogs are a staple at baseball games and backyard barbecues, but are these something that you should feed your pet?

Hot dog ingredients aren’t typically toxic to dogs when eaten alone, but they can sometimes cause problems when combined with other foods or when consumed in larger quantities. Let’s find out more through this post.

Is It Safe for Dogs to Eat Hot Dogs?

Yes! Dogs can eat hot dogs. In fact, hot dogs are a great source of protein and fat, which is exactly what your dog needs to keep healthy.

But what kind of hot dogs can dogs eat?

It’s important to know that not all hot dogs are created equal. The type of meat used in the hot dog and how it’s processed can affect whether or not it’s safe for your dog to eat.

The most common ingredients in American-style hot dogs are pork and beef, but they can also contain chicken, turkey, or lamb. These meats may contain additives or fillers like salt nitrate which causes cancer, sodium phosphate which upsets kidney function, MSG which causes pancreatitis, and food coloring to make them look more appetizing.

Look at the ingredients list on the package before you buy any hotdogs for your pet! You should always check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any new food or treat just in case there are allergies or other issues that could be aggravated by certain foods/supplements.

Are There Any Negative Side Effects?

Is it bad for dogs to eat hot dogs? The answer is: it depends.

hotdog on a bun with ketchup and mustard

It’s not bad for dogs to eat hot dogs if they’re made with natural ingredients and have no fillers.

Hot dogs made with natural ingredients are safe, but hot dogs with fillers can be dangerous for your dog. Hot dogs that are made with artificial coloring, preservatives, and additives can cause health problems in your dog. These include:


If you’ve got a dog, you’ve probably noticed that they love hot dogs. And it’s no wonder! Dogs are carnivores, and their diet is made up of meat—so it makes sense that they would be drawn to the smell of this American classic.

But if your dog has allergies, there’s a good chance that eating hot dogs could trigger an allergic reaction in your pup.

Why does this happen? It all comes down to the fact that hot dogs contain many different ingredients that can trigger an allergic response in some dogs. The most common ones are soy and wheat—two ingredients found in nearly every hot dog brand on the market today.

If your dog has allergies, it’s important to read labels carefully before feeding them anything new or unusual. And avoid feeding them foods that contain soy or wheat at all costs!

Diarrhea or Vomiting

It’s not that hot dogs are outright bad for dogs, necessarily—just that they’re high in fat and salt, which can cause digestive problems if you give them too many.

If your dog eats one hot dog once in a while, it’s probably not going to be a problem. But if they eat two or three hot dogs every day, they might start experiencing gastrointestinal issues.

If you notice your dog has been having trouble with their digestive system after eating hot dogs, try switching back to their regular diet for several days and see if it makes a difference. If not, talk to your vet about whether there are any other causes for the stomach problems (like food allergies).

Skin Irritation or Rash

Skin irritation or rash are a common side effect of giving your pup some hot dogs. Hot dogs contain a lot of salt, which can be irritating to your dog’s skin. The sodium nitrite in hot dogs can also cause an allergic reaction in some dogs.

If your dog has an itchy rash or red bumps on their skin, try eliminating hot dogs from his diet to see if the symptoms improve. If they do, you probably have a food allergy and should consult with your vet about other possible options for your dog’s diet.

Liver Issues

One of the most common side effects of giving your dog hot dogs is liver issues. This is because they contain nitrates and nitrites, which can harm your dog’s livers if they’re eaten in large quantities over a short period of time.

sick golden retriever

If you want to keep giving your dog hot dogs, make sure that you give them only small amounts and don’t feed them for more than once or twice a week.

Kidney Problems

Since the kidneys are responsible for filtering waste and excess water from the body, they can become overworked when the dog eats too many hot dogs. This causes them to become inflamed, which can lead to kidney disease or failure.

If you want to keep your dog healthy and safe while enjoying hot dogs with them, make sure that they eat no more than two small hot dogs per day and limit their intake of other salty foods like chips or pretzels.

You should also consult with your veterinarian if you notice signs of kidney disease such as frequent urination or drinking more than usual.

Is It Okay to Give Hotdogs as Dog Treats?

As long as you’re choosing quality hotdogs, which contain no artificial ingredients or preservatives and are made from human-grade beef or pork, then there’s no reason why you can’t feed them as treats.

While hotdogs do have sodium and nitrates in them, these don’t pose any threat to your dog’s health as long as they aren’t overdone or eaten too often.

So go ahead—give your dog some hotdogs! Just remember that moderation is key when giving any food (human or canine) to your pet so that they maintain healthy weight levels throughout their life.

Do You Need to Cook Hot Dogs for Dogs?

If you’re a dog owner and you’re looking for ways to make your pup’s life better and more comfortable, then you’ve probably heard about the benefits of cooking hot dogs for dogs.

What exactly is a “cooked” hot dog, anyway? Is it healthier to boil hot dogs? What happens if you boil hot dog?

A cooked hot dog is one that has been slowly heated in boiling water (or another liquid), which causes the natural casing around the hot dog to begin to break down. This creates an easier-to-chew texture for your pup. The result is a hot dog that will be easier on his teeth and gums, which also means less risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

The best part? It’s super easy! All you need are some hot dogs (I recommend buying organic ones if possible), a pot of boiling water, and some tongs or other utensils so you can remove them from the water safely once they’ve finished cooking.

Just place your hot dogs in the pot with enough water to cover them completely—about two inches above their tops—and let them cook for about 10 minutes per pound of meat, until tender.

If you’re looking to save some time while still making sure your dog gets all the nutrients he needs, the microwave is probably your best bet.

Alternative Dog Treats

Hot dogs are a family staple, but they’re not so great for your dog. The best alternative? Treats made specifically for dogs! These treats are usually made of 100% natural ingredients, and they’re designed to be healthy for your pup. Here are some of the best alternatives to hot dogs:

peanut buter and banana treats for dogs

Beef Jerky

This is a long-lasting treat that will keep your dog busy while you’re at work or out with friends. It’s packed with protein and other nutrients that help your dog stay active, alert, and energetic throughout the day.

Treat Balls

These can be stuffed with treats or kibble (i.e., dry food). They keep your dog busy while you’re away, and it helps them learn how to hunt for their food!

You can also hide them around the house so they’ll have fun finding them at different spots each time they come back from a walk or play session with another dog in the neighborhood.

Rawhide Chews

These are great because they’re made from 100% natural ingredients—usually beef—and they last much longer than most other types of treats on this list (which is important if you want something that can keep your pup occupied).

Frozen Peanut Butter and Banana Bites

Mix peanut butter and bananas in a food processor until they’re smooth and moldable, then roll into balls. Freeze for an hour, then serve! This is a good one if you want to make sure your dog gets some veggies into their diet.

Turkey Bacon Snacks

Chop up some turkey bacon and bake at 350°F until golden brown (about 10 minutes). Let cool, then serve as treats. This is a good one if you want to make sure your dog gets some protein into their diet.

Homemade Dog Biscuits

Combine 1 cup flour with 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a bowl or food processor; mix until combined well.

Then add 1 egg plus enough water until it forms a soft dough that can be shaped into biscuits by hand or pressed through a cookie press onto parchment paper (you should get about 12 biscuits from this recipe). Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes or until done.

For more posts on what we can feed our pups, here are two more I wrote about can dogs eat turkey burgers, and can dogs eat luncheon meat.

What to Do When a Dog Consumes a Hot Dog?

First of all, don’t panic. While it’s never good to see your dog swallowing anything that could be dangerous or harmful, it’s especially important not to panic when they’ve swallowed something like a small piece of hot dog.

dogs looking at a man eating food on his plate

However, if you think your pup has ingested large quantities of hot dogs, here is what you should do:

  • Call the vet immediately—don’t wait! The sooner they’re able to see your pet, the better chance they will have of being okay. If you will be visiting your vet, try to bring with you the packaging so your vet can check the ingredients contained in the hot dog.
  • Keep an eye on your pup and note any changes in behavior or appetite, so you can relay information to the vet when you call them.
  • Take a trip back to where you found the hot dog, so that someone else doesn’t pick it up and feed it to their own dog.

How Much Hot Dog Can a Dog Have?

The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors. It’s important to remember that nutrition is not just about calories—it’s about what your dog needs, which may not be the same as what humans need.

Here are some things to consider when deciding how much hot dog to feed your dog:

  • How old is your dog?
  • What breed is he or she?
  • Is he or she active, or does he or she have a sedentary lifestyle?
  • What are his or her other food preferences?

So how much hot dog can I feed my dog? The answer is: just enough that he gets full but not overstuffed.

If you want to be exact about it, aim for about 10 calories per pound of body weight per day. That means if your dog weighs 20 pounds and has a normal activity level (not super active), then he should receive 200 calories per day from his food.

Hot Stuff: Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions

Can Puppies Consume Hot Dogs?

The short answer is yes, but it’s important to know the risks.

Some hot dogs are made from pork, which is an allergen for dogs. If your puppy is allergic to pork, he or she may have an adverse reaction to eating hot dogs. Hot dogs are also high in sodium and fat. Because of this, feeding your puppy hot dogs regularly could lead to weight gain and other health problems.

But if your puppy isn’t allergic to pork and you’re careful about not feeding him or her too many hot dogs, they can be part of a balanced diet for your pup. Moderation is key!

What Kind of Hot Dog Should I Feed My Dog?

When you’re feeding your dog some hot dogs, it’s important to look at the ingredients.

mini hotdogs

The key is to avoid foods with fillers like corn, wheat, and soy. These are not healthy for dogs, because they can lead to digestive issues and allergies. Go for hot dogs with natural ingredients, such as pure meat, with no fillers or preservatives added.

Thinking of spicing up your dog’ meal? Here is another post I wrote on adding flavor to your dog’s dishes and can dogs eat barbecue sauce.

Can Dogs Consume Raw Hot Dogs?

Raw hot dogs are made from meat and meat contains bacteria. When bacteria gets inside your dog’s stomach, it can cause problems with their digestive system. And if the bacteria is harmful enough, it can even kill them.

So what’s a dog owner to do? You can cook your hot dogs before feeding them to your pup—just make sure they’re fully cooked before serving them to your furry buddies.


If you’re selecting a meaty treat for your canine companion, keep in mind that different meats require different preparation methods, and some meats should not be included in a homemade pup diet.

All dogs react differently to food, including hot dogs. As a general rule of thumb, avoid overfeeding your dog and monitor for allergic reactions or digestive issues.

While eating a few hot dogs here and there won’t do your dog any harm, they absolutely should not become regular parts of his diet. Dogs are carnivores, while hot dogs are just processed meat products. This means that your dog would be best served them healthier alternatives.

Keep checking in for more articles on what to feed your pups!

See you in the next ones!

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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