Hot dogs. You’d think that there has to be some kind of canine connection between the snack food and your pet. But can dogs eat hot dogs?
As it turns out, although your dog is very likely to gobble down one, maybe two or possibly three hot dogs without hesitation, there is a very good reason why many of us refer to the unusual tube shape of a wiener as ‘mystery meat.’
All you have to do is do a quick review of the list of ingredients to discover a lot of big words that are not all that easy to pronounce let alone properly identify items you would easily recognize.
The Low Down On That Hot Dog
There happen to be a lot of ingredients in that wiener that is toxic to dogs. For example, sodium nitrate is bad, bad, bad for your dog. It also has the distinction of being linked to cancer – not that we’re trying to scare you from eating hot dogs yourself.
Then there’s the MSG (monosodium glutamate) and assorted sugars and sweeteners. Not to mention the various seasonings which will probably include onions and garlic. You should already know that too much onion or garlic can be toxic to dogs, so expect them to be inside of that hot dog you are considering offering Fido as a treat.
There Is One Main Ingredient That Is A Huge Problem For Your Dog
Salt is brutal. It is something we all need, including your dog, but when you look at the numbers, you’ll get a better understanding as to why you should say no when someone asks, Can Dogs Eat Hot Dogs?
The National Academy of Sciences breaks it down into easy to swallow chunks of information. A dog that weighs just 33 pounds does not need a lot of salt in its daily diet. This size dog only requires about 200 milligrams of sodium each daily. Remember, that’s milligrams – fractions of grams.
When you look at the typical hot dog – and let’s face it, different brands have different recipes – mystery meat is still mystery meat but if you were to measure the sodium content, you would be stunned. Hot dogs contain in the neighborhood of 500 milligrams of sodium. So even half a wiener is going to send your pooch well over his daily limit of salt.
What Happens When You Feed Your Dog A Hot Dog?
Well, you now know that we’re talking about an excessive amount of salt. Too much of it inside your dog is going to lead to dehydration. It’s a lot like what can happen to you and me if we have too much salt in our foods.
Plus – and here’s where dogs can truly become much like their owners – excessive salt over a long period of time can lead to high blood pressure. Both in humans and canines. Again, we aren’t telling you what to eat, but high sodium foods aren’t good for either of you.
As If That’s Not Enough, There’s Another Hazard
If you’ve made it this far, there is another issue that comes with feeding dogs hot dogs. Depending on the size of your four-legged fur baby, the wiener you offer up could potentially turn into a choking hazard.
Nobody wants to harm their loyal pet, but the shape and size of a hot dog can get lodged down the throat of your dog. When this happens, it can block or close the path food would normally travel after it had been chewed and crushed sufficiently.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Sinks His Teeth Into A Hot Dog?
There is no real need to have security systems in place with an alarm that goes off should Fido sneak a hot dog off the plate headed to or from the barbeque. In reality, one hot dog accidently snatched and swallowed is not worth panicking over.
Sure, your dog may have a whopper of a stomach ache or end up with another digestive problem like diarrhea. But like diarrhea, it shall pass. The only time you should get the vet on speed dial is if the diarrhea lasts for more than a day.
What you should be watching for is if your dog starts vomiting along with the diarrhea. That is going to speed up the dehydration process and could become a problem. Ensure that there is plenty of water around to help your dog fight this.
What Can You Feed Your Dog Instead of Hot Dogs?
There is no doubt that barbeque season is going to see your dog hanging around you at the grill. As tempting as it may be to toss a small bit of a nicely grilled hot dog wiener to your dog, you can do a lot better than that.
If you are grilling some beef, chicken or pork for lunch or dinner, there is nothing wrong with sharing a little bit of any of those with your dog. Only you have to ensure that whatever you choose to give as a treat is served plain without seasoning or sauces dripping from it.
Can dogs eat hot dogs? Well, yes and no but for the purpose of this article, the answer should be no. If your dog happens to get his paws on one and gobbles it down before you can stop him, it won’t cause a lot of damage. But you will probably want to avoid the diarrhea and vomiting that may result.
There are many ways to treat your dog that won’t include hot dogs. When you are cooking up a batch for yourself and the family, be sure to have dog-appropriate treats available for your dog. You already know you shouldn’t feed table scraps and most human foods, so think of hot dogs as one of those.
Your pet food store or vet clinic will have healthy alternatives that you can stock up on if your dog likes to hover and hoover near the BBQ. Or you could provide him with some beef, chicken or pork. It has to be plain, though.
Oh, and to avoid a choking hazard, whatever meat to decide to give your pooch for being so good and for being so loyal, don’t forget to cut it up into small bite-sized pieces. When you do that, you get an opportunity to feed more than a single snack which will make your dog think he hit the jackpot.