Does your pooch love hot dogs? Especially those delicious weenies? You are not alone in this. Many canines would die just to have a bite of this heavily processed meat.
Dogs are omnivores by nature so they are adaptable to a wide range of foods. They find the smell of meat inviting so expect that they would even beg you to have some hot dogs. Given that, can you give hot dogs to your pet without worrying that they won’t cause your petit might cause any harm? Let’s hear what the experts have to say.
Can Dogs Have Hot Dogs?
The best way to know whether a food is safe or not is to look at each and every single ingredient. Here are some of the common ingredients in hot dogs, as per the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council:
Meat trimmings – trimmings from either pork or beef go through a high-pressure machine where they become ground meat. Aside from pork and beef, manufacturers also use poultry such as chicken and turkey. Meat is definitely a safe treat for dogs unless it contains additives.
Autolyzed yeast extract – this flavor enhancer gives your hot dog a savory meaty taste. Neil Liquorman, an investigative journalist and health editor of The Dog Press says autolyzed yeast extract always contains monosodium glutamate (MSG). Liquorman pointed out how some rashes were mistakenly diagnosed with flea allergies, when in fact, the pets were suffering from allergies related to chemicals in food. MSG can be toxic to dogs in excessive amounts.
Cultured dextrose – this sugar comes from starch and is used to improve the taste of the meat. Dextrose is a kind of simple sugar that is known to raise blood sugar levels. Dogs don’t really need sugar in their diet.
Garlic puree – almost all foods have garlic in them. While garlic gives meats a better flavor, it can actually poison dogs. The Pet Poison Helpline labeled garlic’s toxicity as generally mild to moderate. Garlic poisoning is a serious health issue because it can damage the red blood cells of canines.
Lactate – is produced by fermenting carbohydrates such as corn. Processed meats often have lactate or lactic acid because it serves as a decontaminant while the hot dog is being processed.
Sodium diacetate – is a form of preservative and works by keeping mold strains at bay. It is like an antibacterial agent that is necessary for extending the shelf life of food. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it is generally recognized as safe. Still, it can create little side effects in humans and animals. The typical side effects of sodium diacetate are itching, burning, and dry skin.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) – excessive amounts of MSG can harm canines just as humans despite the fact that the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified it as safe. Around 2 tablespoons of MSG is enough to kill a dog. In fact, MSG was used in ancient times for intentional dog poisoning. MSG consumption has been linked to adverse reactions, such as headaches, numbness, and heart palpitations. The only way to prevent these symptoms is to avoid foods containing MSG and that includes processed meats.
Are Hot Dogs Bad for Dogs?
The hot dogs are not good treats for canines because of their ingredients. Some of the ingredients, especially the MSG, sodium nitrate, and artificial sweeteners can harm puppy.
A serving or a piece of hot dog contains 13 grams of fat. It is almost equivalent to the maximum recommended fat servings for canines. A dog weighing 30 pounds should not have more than 14 grams of fat per day.
Hot Dogs for Canine Training
Hot dog is a popular dog training treat because it is easy to prepare and it is quite cheap. There are several ways to serve hot dogs. You could serve them frozen or as they are since hot dogs are precooked when you buy them.
Since it is important to limit your pet’s hot dog consumption, it would help to slice them first or cut them in pieces the size of a nickel. Slicing them into smaller portions makes them easier for your dog to chew.
Some dog owners cook the meat in a microwave or oven. Cooking the hot dogs in the microwave is a more practical way because the pieces last longer than when you fry them. Just make sure to nuke them on a plate lined with a paper towel to get rid of the grease.
While hot dogs are actually a tasty treat for dogs, it is worth knowing that there a lot of healthier options out there. Some foods are also easier to prepare and are cheaper than hot dogs.
Dog-Friendly Hot Dogs
With a plethora of hot dog brands in supermarkets, it can be quite confusing to pick the right one. The healthier ones normally come with a higher price tag. If you have a limited budget, you might end up buying the cheaper brands.
But if you are more concerned about the wholesomeness of your food regardless of the price, you might want to look for the following when buying hot dogs:
- Organic – there are hot dog brands made from organic grass-fed beef. They are considered healthier since the cattle did not receive antibiotics or growth-promoting hormones.
- Uncured – it is believed that uncured meat is healthier. In spite of that, it is worth knowing that it still contains small amounts of nitrites.
- Less-sodium – the regular hot dogs contain as much as 550 milligrams of sodium. There are brands out there that have a lower sodium content of around 370 mg or less.
Take note that even the healthiest hot dogs out there still contain spices like garlic, onion, and paprika that may cause intestinal upset in dogs. But don’t forget that you can make your own hot dogs at home. The process takes time since you’re making the hot dogs from scratch, but that is the only way to make sure all the ingredients in them are dog-friendly. You might want to try the veggie hot dogs below.
- Vegan seitan hot dogs – This recipe by An Unrefined Vegan actually uses dried onion flakes, garlic powder, garlic, and sweet onion. It would not hurt to omit those spices if you’re only making hot dogs for your pooch. The salt, mustard seeds, and coriander will be enough to give the meat an extra flavor. You may also skip the marjoram if you are worried that it may cause diarrhea in your pet. The best part is that these hot dogs are oil-free too!
- Gluten-free vegan hot dogs – if your pet loves carrots, he will surely enjoy this dish. The main ingredients of this recipe are carrots and low-sodium tamari. This healthy hot dog by the Vegan a La Mode is made more nutritious with the addition of apple cider vinegar and sesame oil. As always, you can create hot dogs without the garlic and onion powder.
What to Do If My Pooch Ate Lots of Hot Dogs?
Should you call the vet immediately supposing your dog snagged a piece of hot dog? No, unless the dog started vomiting or had diarrhea. But this rarely happens, especially if you limit their hot dog consumption.
He may have digestive problems, especially if the dog is not used to eating processed meats. You may offer a bland diet for a period of time if he has stomach problems.
But consuming more than a piece of hot dog is a different story. Hot dogs contain too much sodium. In fact, one hot dog already contains as much as 566.8 milligrams of sodium, which is more than the allowed sodium intake per day for canines. The National Academy of Sciences stated that a dog weighing around 30 pounds should not have more than 200 mg of sodium in a day.
If your dog started showing warning signs after consuming hot dogs, stop giving him any and call your vet for assistance. There might be something in the food that makes your pet sick.
Healthier Alternatives to Hot Dogs
Take note that there are a lot of wholesome foods out there that can be given to dogs without the guilt. Dogs love meats and it is true that they have a more resilient stomach than us. However, that does not mean you can just give him processed meats. Like us, canines also need a balance of meat, fruits, and veggies in their diet. Take a look at some of the healthier food choices for doggies:
- peanut butter
Dogs can occasionally eat hot dogs. Hot dogs are not really toxic, but they can still make your dog sick due to the additives in them. This is why it is important to only feed dog hot dogs in moderation.
Hot dogs are not loaded with nutrients canines need to survive. A serving contains only 5 grams of protein, almost twice the recommended protein amount for dogs but take note that dogs need high-quality protein and not the one coming from processed food.