When BBQ season rolls around, there’s at least one weekend afternoon where you’re blissfully building the perfect hotdog. When you feel a nudge at your knee, you know that it’s your dog coming around to beg for a nibble of your hotdog. But before you give in to temptation, ask yourself if the hotdog you’re getting ready to munch on is safe for your pup!
Can You Give Your Dog a Hotdog?
Hotdogs are fine for your dog to eat with moderation. Anything highly processed and made specifically for human consumption are never the healthiest thing for your dog, and hotdogs aren’t something you’d consider nutritionally sound. It’s probably best for you to feed your dog (and yourself, really) hotdogs that are made with quality ingredients. Cheap hotdogs are made with a variety of mystery meat and artificial flavorings. Processed hotdogs are delicious, but they’re packed with a ton of preservatives and ingredients that aren’t very good for your dog. Sodium nitrate is a common preservative found in most hotdogs, and research has shown that it’s linked to cancer. Many hotdog companies use a variety of seasonings to flavor their food, like onion, garlic, and a lot of salt. Even if it’s just onion or garlic salt, it’s still toxic to dogs.
Quality hotdogs are made with whole meats like pork, chicken, and turkey, all of which are fine for your dog. Hotdogs purchased from your local butcher are much healthier for both you and your dog, and you can ask your butcher exactly what went into the meat. Gourmet hotdogs fresh from the butcher are made with high-grade sausages, so make sure you ask about onions and garlic, as well as how much salt is in the recipe.
As for the buns, the less bread you give your dog, the better. A few bites here and there are fine, but the processed carbs found in hot dog buns are full of sugar and can make sedentary or older dogs gain weight.
Before You Feed Your Dog Hotdogs:
Besides potentially toxic ingredients, hotdogs are a choking hazard. You’ve seen how your dog scarfs down delicious treats, often skipping the chewing process and swallowing it whole. The shape of hotdogs is perfect for lodging in their throat, so never give your dog a hotdog that isn’t cut up into small, manageable pieces.
Hot dogs are also high in fat. If your dog is overweight, diabetic, or sedentary for any reason, you should offer them a healthier snack. A few bites are fine, but a whole hot dog isn’t doing an overweight pup any favors. Throwing away leftover hotdogs in an easily accessible trash can is a danger often overlooked by many owners. The tasty smell will surely entice a nosey dog, and a binge on such a high-fat food can result in vomiting, diarrhea, or a painful inflammation of the pancreas. Throw leftovers away where your dog can’t help himself.
When your dog joins you for your cookout, use discretion before you start sharing your food. Remember that your dog thrives on dog food and anything else should be given as a rare treat.