Yes, dogs can eat hotdogs in moderation. Hot dogs are one of the tastiest fast food meat meals for humans out there, but do we truly know what goes into making them?
Sure they are tasty, affordable, and readily available, but how bad are they for our health? More importantly, how bad are hot dogs for our dogs’ health?
Who can resist giving a big chunk of their hot dog to those pleading puppy dog eyes?
Maybe you are just looking for a cheap and irresistible training aid? In this article, we will explore the big question – can dogs eat hot dogs? And if they can, should they?
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Yes, dogs can eat hotdogs in moderation or occasionally as a treat.
Hot dogs are highly-processed, high in sodium and additives. Hot dogs contain seasonings, such as garlic and onion powder, and garlic and onions can be toxic to dogs.
In this article, we will discuss:
- What is the main meat in hot dogs?
- The main problem with hot dogs
- What will happen if a dog steals a hot dog?
- Should you use hot dogs for training treats?
- What are the alternatives to hot dogs for dogs?
What Is The Main Meat In Hot Dogs?
Hot dogs are the ultimate processed food. Hotdogs are traditionally made from pork trimmings. Pork trimmings are what’s leftover after the bacon, ham, and chops are removed from the pig.
The pork trimmings added to a vast metal vat that contains chicken and turkey carcasses that have been blasted with water until they form a disgusting pink mush.
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Next in goes red coloring, flavoring, powdered preservatives, and a whole load more water, and it is all ground into a paste and squeezed into plastic tubes ready for cooking.
If you saw how what goes on in these food factories you probably wouldn’t go near fast food again.
It’s a bit sad when you think about the fact that all that raw meat gory goodness would have been perfectly healthy for your dog. Potentially even a lot more robust than the kibble that makes up the majority of most dogs’ diets.
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The Main Problem With Hot Dogs
The fact that hot dogs are made of all the gory animal bits and leftovers that we’d prefer not to think about when we squeeze the mustard onto our sausage isn’t the problem when it comes to establishing whether we should feed them to our dogs.
The problem with hot dogs is that many of the other ingredients that go into making them are toxic to dogs.
Here are some examples:
- Sodium nitrate – Linked to cancer
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG) – A flavor enhancer that can cause brain damage in dogs, along with obesity, diabetes, and a range of organ issues.
- Sugars & artificial sweeteners – Also linked to obesity and diabetes in dogs
- Garlic & onion powder – Toxic to dogs
- Salt – The most significant problem
Keep reading to find out why salt is so unhealthy and dangerous for your dog.
Why Is Salt So Bad For Dogs?
Did you know that the average hot dog contains over 500mg of sodium? Just half a hot dog could put your dog way over their sodium limit for the day.
According to The National Academy of Sciences, a 33-pound dog’s daily limit is just 200mg of sodium.
You might wonder why it’s such a big deal for a dog to go over their sodium limit.
Consider for a moment how many hot dogs a dog might consume during a training session if you decide to use hot dogs as training treats, even if you were chopping them up into small pieces.
Overconsumption of sodium in dogs can lead to dehydration, and also high blood pressure over time.
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What Will Happen If A Dog Steals A Hot Dog?
The occasional bit of hot dog may not hurt your dog, but if your small dog has managed to get his paws on a whole hot dog and eaten it before you could stop them, perhaps you are panicking and wondering what is going to happen next.
The most likely thing to happen is that your dog will end up with a poorly stomach could include tummy ache or diarrhea.
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It’s usually nothing to worry about, but you should keep an eye on your dog, and if it carries on for more than a day, or if your dog is also vomiting, then you should take them to see a vet as they could be at risk of extreme dehydration, which can be dangerous.
In the meantime, the most you can do is provide your dog with enough water, as the salt is likely to make them thirsty.
Another reason to supervise dogs around food, especially if you have hot dogs around, is that because of their shape, size, and absolute irresistibility, there is a possibility that your dog could try to swallow it whole and end up choking on it.
Big dogs especially have a habit of not chewing their food, but instead swallowing it whole. It can often seem like a dog is inhaling their food!
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Chicken is potentially a more significant threat to your dog at a barbeque due to the cooked bones splintering when chewed – ouch!
Should You Use Hot Dogs For Training Treats?
Why do some people use hot dogs when training their dog tricks and commands?
Sometimes if you are teaching a dog a new trick, you might need something fascinating and highly desirable to lure and reward them to keep them engaged during such a challenging part of the training process.
Hot dogs are a popular choice because they are so cheap, easy to find, and dogs love them. It’s probably like a sensory explosion!
Hot dogs might also be used on the field while training dogs to do scent work because the hotdogs can be rubbed into the grass, leaving a straightforward scent trail for the dogs to follow.
As a tool that is used regularly in training, hot dogs are not the best choice as training treats, though. As we have already explored, they are incredibly unhealthy and pose too many long-term risks.
Hot dogs are also pretty messy and have an overpowering smell, so they are going to mess up your dog treats pouch.
You might also find yourself attracting other people’s dogs at the park, or causing offense to people sitting next to you on public transport, or in the pub after your walk.
Put it this way; there are much better and more suitable options for dog training treats than hot dogs.
What Are The Alternatives To Hot Dogs For Dogs?
If you find yourself at a barbeque and you want to offer your dog titbits, avoid the hotdogs and instead opt for small pieces of pure cooked meat without any seasoning, of course.
Be very careful not to let dogs anywhere near bones that have been cooked because they will splinter when bitten into, as mentioned above, and can cause some horrific internal injuries or blockages.
If you are looking for a hot dog alternative to offer to your dog as training treats, again small pieces of cooked, unseasoned meat are perfect for this.
They are super-tasty, smell good, and will help you to get your dog to do whatever you want. You can keep a batch cooked and chopped up, ready in a Tupperware box in the fridge, and feed them cold during your training sessions.
You can also shred all the leftover meat from your roast dinner chicken carcass and save it for the dog. Don’t forget to dispose of the bones somewhere that your dog won’t be able to get them when you are not looking.
Remember, when feeding treats and snacks to your dog to adjust your dog’s main meals so that you don’t end up overfeeding and causing your dog to gain weight.
It’s especially crucial if you have a small dog, as a few treats will make a big difference to their daily calorie intake if you forget to adjust their meal portions.
We all want what is best for our dogs. We want them to live long and healthy lives with us.
But it can be difficult to resist offering them naughty treats. Sometimes we do it out of guilt because of the way they look at us, and other times we do it out of habit.
What we should be doing is asking the question – is this good for my dog? Is there a healthier alternative? Do I want expensive vet bills in a few years?
The odd hot dog isn’t going to kill your dog (unless they choke on it), but isn’t it better to form good habits with our pets? They rely on us to make the right decisions for them, so let’s not let them down.