Can Dogs Eat Hot Dogs & Is It Safe?

dog selling hot dogs

Hot dogs definitely make for a delicious meal for cookouts, but you’ll need to learn a few things before giving any to your pooch. 

You shouldn’t give them any of this food until you have first learned the facts.

Are Hot Dogs Dangerous for Dogs?

Hot dogs are not inherently toxic to canines, provided they aren’t served with any dressings or other foods that are potentially harmful. It is, however, important that you only give this food to your dog in moderation. 

Hot dogs in particular contain a lot of fat, which isn’t good for your dog in large amounts. They also contain sodium nitrate, artificial sweetener, and sugars. None of these things are particularly good for your dog, so you’ll need to keep that in mind.

Too much of any human food can have a very negative impact on your dog’s overall health. Your dog should only get this food as a special treat rather than an everyday or regular thing. You should remember that giving your dog human food is always a risk and better to avoid it feeding your pet with proper dog food.

Health Benefits of Hot Dogs

All beef hot dogs actually offer a number of nutrients for both humans and dogs that you should know, including:

  • Protein: There is quite a bit of protein in all-beef hot dogs, which is ultimately good for your canine.
  • Iron: This is an essential mineral that all humans and dogs alike need. Hot dogs contain nearly 3 milligrams of iron.
  • Saturated fat: This is the “good” type of fat that can actually benefit your dog’s health when consumed in moderation.
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hot dog white background

What to Consider Before Giving Your Canine a Hot Dog

Before you give your canine companion any hot dogs, there are a few key things that you’ll want to consider.

1. Dressings

You shouldn’t put any mustard, ketchup, relish or any other traditional dressings on the hot dogs you give to your dog. You also shouldn’t serve it to them in a bun. These foods can do a lot of harm to your pet, even in relatively small quantities. If you give your dog any hot dogs, they should be served plain.

2. Cooked vs. Uncooked

It is okay to give your canine a hot dog right out of the package or after being cooked on a grill. Uncooked hot dogs do not pose a significant threat of bacterial infection for these animals.

3. Cut the Hot Dog Up

You’ll also want to make a point of cutting the hot dog up before giving it to your dog. Giving them a whole hot dog to eat could cause them to choke on it. If you have a very small dog, you’ll need to cut it up into tiny pieces that they won’t have trouble getting down.

4. Choose the Right Hot Dogs

Most hot dogs are meat by-products, while others are 100% beef. You should ideally give your dog the latter, as it is healthier for them. This will provide your dog with more protein and other nutrients.

5. Make Sure It is Fresh

You need to make sure that the hot dogs you give your dog are fresh and have not expired. Giving them spoiled hot dogs could result in a bacterial infection, which has the potential to be fairly serious. Check the expiration date on the package before giving them any of this food.

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Healthier Alternatives

There are a number of other meat products that are better for your dog than hotdogs and just as delicious. It is important that you consider some of these alternatives before making a decision.

1. Chicken

Chicken is packed with protein and doesn’t contain much fat, so it is perfectly safe for dogs to eat. You will, however, need to make sure that you cook it thoroughly. There is a fairly high risk of bacterial infection with undercooked chicken. You never want to give this meat to your dog raw.

2. Beef

You can also give your dog beef, which has plenty of protein as well. This meat is a bit more expensive than chicken, but still not too bad. You’ll want to make a point of cooking it thoroughly before feeding any to your pooch. Make sure that the meat has an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees so you know it is safe for them to consume.

3. Turkey

Turkey is a healthy lean meat that has minimal fat and an amino acid known as tryptophan, which can potentially enhance brain activity. There is a high risk of salmonella with this meat, which is why you should roast or boil it before giving it to your dog. This will minimize the risk of bacterial infection quite effectively.

4. Fish

If you want to give your dog meat, there are plenty of different types of fish that are good for your dog that they’ll most likely find tasty. Salmon contains plenty of protein and omega-3 fatty acids that will help keep your dog’s immune system strong. 

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While it is not the most affordable meat on the market, it is highly nutritious. You’ll want to cook the salmon before giving it to your dog. This reduces the risk of a parasitic infection, which is a real concern with raw fish.


  • Hot dogs contain lots of protein as well as some iron and saturated fat, which can all benefit your dog’s health in moderation.
  • If you give your canine any hot dogs, you should avoid putting any ketchup, mustard or other dressings on it. Just serve them plain.
  • Make sure that you cut up the hot dogs into small enough pieces to where your dog won’t have any problem swallowing and digesting them.
  • All-beef hot dogs are ideal, as they contain more protein than other kinds.
  • Some of the best alternatives to hot dogs that you can give your dog include chicken, pork, turkey, and salmon.
  • You can feed your dog cooked or uncooked hot dogs—it doesn’t really matter.
  • Make sure that any hot dogs you give your pet are fresh and have not expired.