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Your dog would probably love to chow down on a hot dog. But is that a good idea? Hot dogs are full of ingredients that are toxic for dogs or unhealthy for them to consume.

The Problems With Hot Dogs

Many hot dogs contain ingredients that are not good for dogs, such as sodium nitrate, which has been linked to cancer, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and sugars or artificial sweeteners. Hot dogs also contain seasonings, such as garlic and onion powder, and these people foods can be toxic to dogs.

The biggest problem with hot dogs, though, is salt. According to the National Academy of Sciences, a dog weighing 33 pounds only needs 200 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. The average hot dog contains more than 500 mg of sodium, so feeding your dog only one-half of a hot dog would probably put them way over their daily sodium limit.

French Bulldog eating from a bowl at home.
©Africa Studio -

Feeding a dog too much sodium can lead to dehydration. And over time, excess sodium can lead to high blood pressure, just as it can in humans. Hot dogs can also be a choking hazard, especially for big dogs that might try to swallow them without chewing them.

What if Your Dog Eats a Hot Dog by Accident?

If your dog snags a hot dog while you’re not looking, don’t panic. Just one will probably not cause harm. Your dog might get a bellyache or have some other digestive problems, like diarrhea, but this should pass within one day. You only need to call the vet if the diarrhea persists, or if your dog is vomiting with diarrhea, as this could lead to extreme dehydration.

Make sure that your dog has plenty of water available since all that salt in the hot dog will probably make them thirsty.

Mastiff puppy drink water from metal bowl on green summer grass.
©Ermolaev Alexandr -

Alternatives to Hot Dogs

Because they contain so many added ingredients that are not healthy for dogs, hot dogs are not a good choice for your pooch. At a cookout, if you want to give your dog a safe treat, it’s best to give them some plain beef, pork, or chicken that has no salt or other seasoning on it. Just make sure to cut the meat up into bite-sized pieces.

Related article: Is Salt Bad for Dogs?
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