If your dog is trying to sneak and steal some hot dogs from your plate, you may wonder, “can dogs eat hot dogs?”

The answer is yes, dogs can eat hot dogs. But should they? Let’s explore more on that. Hot dogs are tasty but can pose many health risks to dogs. This article will explore the pros and cons of serving your dog hot dogs. 

Along with that, we also have some cool alternatives to it.

Pros and Cons of Giving Hot Dogs to Your Dog

Before we start handing out hot dogs to our pets, we need to understand the pros and cons of this protein treat:

Pros of Hot Dogs

1. Tasty treats

Hot dogs are delicious! You certainly cannot stop at one bite, especially if your dog is a fan of meaty textures. Even if you serve them plain and cooked, they are tasty. 

2. Easy to make

It can be challenging to make creative treats for dogs every day. And so, you can simply cook them a hot dog for those lazy days. It is also easily accessible in supermarkets and stores. The only catch is to ensure that there are not any seasonings or additives. 

Cons of Hot Dogs

1. Unhealthy

Hot dog is a highly unhealthy food for dogs. Not only is it processed, but also there are tons of preservatives and fat content. It can be a health hazard for your dog to eat hot dogs every day. Even if you serve your dog hot dogs as treats, you should only serve them occasionally.

Hot dogs are just like other human foods like- ham, salami, and bacon. They are pleasurable to eat but do not serve dogs any nutritional value. 

2. Allergies

If your dog is sensitive to certain foods, blueberries, cashews, beets, or any particular ingredient, you must also be cautious with hot dogs. It would be best to start by serving small amounts of hot dogs and monitoring your dog for allergies.

The allergic reactions can look like- itchiness, vomiting, abdominal cramps, etc.

3. Obesity and fat content

Generally, hot dogs are cooked and deep-fried in trans-fat oils, which are dangerous for dogs’ health. Even without cooking, hot dogs are known for being high in fat content (article). A high-fat diet can lead to severe health concerns in dogs, including pancreatitis. So, if your dog already has such conditions, avoid serving them ham or any food with fat content. 

4. Sodium intake

Hot dogs are also high in sodium, which is salt in layman’s terms. Even though small amounts of salt do not harm dogs, an excessive amount can cause nightmares. Overfeeding your dog with hot dogs can increase sodium levels and cause dehydration, lethargy, and even coma.

Safe Ways to Feed Hot Dogs

Here are some things you should keep in mind when serving your dog hot dogs:

1. As a treat

Hot dogs are not a healthy treat for your dog. It would be best if you never used hot dogs as a meal for your dog or a part of their everyday diet. However, if your dog is drooling over a pack of sausages- you can toss a bite-sized piece! It would be best to use hot dogs only for positive reinforcement, rewards, or special occasions like not making a mess in the room. 

2. Cooked in the least amount of oil

While cooking hot dogs for your dog, you should use the least amount of oil. Especially if your dog is obese or on a weight management plan- you should not serve them deep-fried hot dogs as they are high in fat content, which can also cause pancreatitis in dogs (article). To make it safe for your dog, cook hot dogs in peanut butter or sesame oil, as they are healthier than other oils.

3. Plain and cooked

If your dog eats a hot dog that is uncooked and filled with harmful seasonings- you must seek veterinary advice. Seasonings include toxic ingredients like garlic, onions, and other spices. These ingredients can be deadly to dogs and cause severe allergic and burning reactions. The safest way to feed your dog hot dogs is to cook it well and serve it plain and unseasoned.

4. Without the bun

Lastly, you must ensure your dog does not eat hot dogs with the bun. The bun is highly unhealthy and can cause choking hazards if swallowed whole. You should never let your dog take a bite from your readymade hot dog in a bun, as it can have seasonings and sauces that are poisonous to dogs.

Note: You must seek veterinary advice for choking hazards or medical conditions. You must also have dog supplies for medical needs that you can use with expert’s guidance in case of emergency.

a dog looks on curiously as hot dogs sizzle on a grill in front of him

Alternatives of Hot Dogs For Your Dog

Here is the fun part! As we do not recommend giving your dog delicious but unhealthy hot dogs, we will make it up to you with these healthy and fun treats!

1. Crab meat

You can cook crab meat for them instead of feeding your dog unhealthy hot dogs. It is rich in vitamins and protein and gives your dog a shiny, lustrous coat. You should always opt for a low-fat treat when serving your dog healthy training treats.

Even though crabs have their own risks, feeding in moderation and safety is suitable for dogs.

2. Scallops

If your dog loves seafood, they will also love scallops! They are instant energy boosters that come with other nutritional benefits to dogs. The only catch is to serve them cooked and unseasoned.

Their texture and meatiness can give your dog the same pleasure as a hot dog. Add cooked scallops to your dog’s food for that extra flavor and texture. 

3. Fish

Even though tilapia is not the best fish out there for your dog, it can still be a healthier alternative to hot dogs. You can serve it in chunks or mash it up to give it the shape of a sausage. This fish is loaded with nutrients, but you must prepare them properly before serving it to your dog. 

4. Fruits and vegetables sausages

If your dog does not like meaty textures, but their bodies require healthy food intake- go for fruits and veggies! You can never go wrong with making your dog a salad full of lettuce, blueberries, apples, and avocado.

Veggies like broccoli, beans, and bell peppers can add crunchiness to your dog’s meal. However, to make it look like a sausage, you can bind these fruits and vegetables and shape them into a sausage. This will also be an activity for you and your dog. 


To sum it up, you should not feed your dog hot dogs. Technically speaking, dogs CAN eat hot dogs, but they SHOULD NOT. The reason is not only the seasonings and spices but because hot dogs do not benefit dogs in any way. Although, you can toss them a small bite-sized chunk of plain hot dog for taste. Overfeeding can lead to serious health concerns in dogs, which is why we recommend that you serve your dog the alternatives. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use hot dogs as dog treats?

Congratulations, yes! You can use hot dogs as dog treats but on an occasional basis. Hot dogs are not toxic to dogs, but they also do not bring any benefits to your dog. Hot dogs are ideal as dogs should not eat processed treats often. But if your dog insists on taking a bite off an unseasoned hot dog, it will not harm them.

Can dogs eat hot dogs uncooked?

You should never feed your dog uncooked processed meat such as hot dogs, sausages, salami, bacon, or ham. Feeding your dog processed meat is already harmful, and feeding them uncooked will be more dangerous. It is challenging to digest raw meats and can cause digestive problems in dogs. Especially if your dog is an eager eater, we recommend not keeping raw hot dogs around them.

Can dogs eat hot dog buns?

Just like hot dogs, the buns are also not toxic but are not beneficial for dogs. It would be best to never serve your whole hot dogs with bread and the meat inside- this can cause choking hazards. The hot dog buns can also include human spices like garlic and onion for flavor, which is a toxin to dogs. So, avoiding serving your dog hot dog buns would be best.

What hot dogs are safe for dogs?

You must only serve your dog cooked, unseasoned, and plain hot dogs. Any seasoning or raw hot dogs can cause health problems in dogs. We also recommend not deep fry the hot dogs as they already have fat content. The oils can add more to it. Lastly, you should opt for its alternatives or only occasionally toss a small bite of hot dog.

Can hot dogs kill dogs?

No. Hot dogs will not kill your dog as they contain no toxins. However, the ingredients inside the hot dog can cause alarming situations. Please keep an eye out for ingredients like garlic, onions, or other harmful spices that are deadly to dogs. Until you feed your small bites of dog plain and cooked hot dogs occasionally, it will not cause any harm.

Share the Post: