Can Dogs Eat That

Can Dogs Eat Hot Dogs? Yes! Here’s How to Safely Serve Them as a Treat

bratwurst grilling flesh grill

As the summer months roll in, backyard barbecues and grilling sessions become a frequent occurrence. And while you’re savoring those juicy hot dogs fresh off the grill, your furry companion is likely giving you those irresistible puppy eyes, silently begging for a taste. But can dogs eat hot dogs? The short answer is yes, but with some important caveats.

While hot dogs aren’t the healthiest choice for our canine friends, they can be enjoyed as an occasional treat when prepared correctly. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your dog’s safety and well-being when indulging in this summertime favorite.

gray haired man grilling hot dogs

What Types of Hot Dogs Are Safe for Dogs?

Not every hot dog is made the same when it comes to your pup’s diet. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a hot dog that’s safe for your four-legged friend:

1. Onion- and Garlic-Free

Check the ingredients list to ensure the hot dogs don’t contain onion and garlic, as these foods are toxic to dogs.

2. Spice-Free

Your dog’s digestive system isn’t equipped to handle spices like pepper, chili, or paprika. To avoid potential stomach upset, opt for plain, unseasoned hot dogs.

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3. Lean Meats

The most suitable hot dogs for dogs are those made from leaner meats like chicken or turkey or plant-based ingredients. These options are generally lower in fat and easier for your pup to digest.

4. Low Sodium

Too much sodium can be generally harmful to dogs. For their well-being, it’s important to be mindful of the amount of sodium in hot dogs. Look for hot dogs labeled “low-sodium” or “reduced sodium” to avoid any potential health issues. These options will still be delicious for your dog while being gentler on their system.

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5. Preservative-Free

Many hot dogs contain additives and preservatives, such as nitrates, nitrites, and artificial colors, which can be harmful to dogs over time. Therefore, choose natural, additive-free hot dogs whenever possible.

6. Hold the Condiments

While we humans might enjoy our hot dogs with mustard, ketchup, and relish, these condiments should be avoided when serving hot dogs to your dog. Some may contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs, like garlic, onion, and the sweetener xylitol.

black and white short coated dogs

How Much Hot Dog Can Your Dog Eat?

While the temptation to spoil your pup with a whole hot dog might be strong, it’s essential to practice portion control. For a balanced diet, human foods and treats should comprise only 10% of a dog’s daily calorie intake, while the remaining 90% should be sourced from well-rounded dog food.

The average hot dog provides about 150 calories, and the serving size depends on your dog’s weight:

– Very small dogs (2-20 pounds): 1 piece (1/4-inch thick)

– Small dogs (21-30 pounds): 1-2 pieces (1/4-inch thick)

– Medium dogs (31-50 pounds): 2-3 pieces (1/4-inch thick)

– Large dogs (51-90 pounds): 4-5 pieces (1/4-inch thick)

– Very large dogs (91+ pounds): up to half of a hot dog, cut into 1/4-inch-thick pieces

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7 Creative Ways to Serve Hot Dogs to Your Dog

While your dog would happily devour a plain hot dog, adding a touch of creativity to how you serve this treat can make the experience more exciting for both of you. Here are some ideas:

1. Boiled or Grilled

The simplest option is to boil or grill a plain hot dog without any oil or seasonings, especially garlic or onion. Let it cool, then cut it into bite-sized pieces and serve the appropriate amount based on your dog’s size.

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Note: Hot dogs, even right out of the package, are technically pre-cooked—so they’re not raw in the same sense as raw ground beef or raw chicken. However, they can still harbor bacteria and other pathogens that may pose a risk to your dog’s health. For safety purposes, always cook the hot dog before serving it to your pup.

2. Hot Dog Interactive Dog Puzzle Toys (New Tip)

Interactive dog puzzle toys like the Loobani Pet Spinning Bottles Brain Toys are a fantastic way to keep your dog entertained and reward them with treats. 

You can place a few small pieces of cooked hot dog, along with other dog-safe foods, in the treat-dispenser toy. This puzzle is a real test of patience, as your dog has to manage to keep everything balanced while the treats rattle around inside, making it a challenging but fun task.


It comes with three unique “test tubes” you can pack with snacks or dog food. To get the treats, your dog will have to figure out how to tip the rotating compartments upside down and wait for their reward to tumble out. It takes a steady paw and keen concentration to manipulate the tubes into the correct position.

dog wearing eyeglasses

3. Dehydrated Training Treats

Dehydrated hot dog pieces make for excellent training treats that will keep your dog motivated and engaged during training sessions. Here’s how to make them:

– Preheat your oven to a low setting, around 200°F.

– Cut 2 to 8 hot dogs into dime-sized pieces and spread the pieces out evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

– Let them bake for a while, around 2.5 hours. To make sure they dry out evenly, give them a stir every half hour or so.

– Once done, transfer the pieces onto paper towels on a plate to absorb excess grease.

– Storing your pup’s treats! You can keep them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze them for longer-term storage.

black and white long coated small sized dog

4. Hot Dog “Gravy”

This might sound unappetizing to us humans, but your dog will go crazy for this hot dog gravy! Simply blend 1 cup of dog-friendly broth with one cooked hot dog, and pour 1 to 4 tablespoons (depending on your pup’s size) over their regular kibble as an occasional treat.

mental stimulation toys for dogs
Dog Puzzle Toys They’ll Love!
🧠 Provides Mental Exercise & Reduces Boredom: Puzzle toys keep curious minds occupied, preventing boredom that can lead to destructive behaviors like chewing or barking.
🔥 Burns Off Energy & Promotes Relaxation: Engaging mental activity can tire out your pup, making them calmer and less likely to engage in hyperactive behaviors.

5. Frozen Hot Dog Treats 

For a cool and hydrating treat on hot summer days, try freezing small pieces of cooked hot dogs in an ice cube tray filled with dog-safe broth or water. Once frozen, pop them out and let your pup enjoy a cool, savory treat.

ethnic owner with smartphone putting sunglasses on puppy

6. The Cup Game with Hot Dogs (New Tip)

For a simple yet engaging game that exercises your pup’s mind, try the classic cup game using tasty hot dog treats! This interactive activity can be easily set up with household items, making it a fun and convenient way to keep your dog entertained.

Here’s how to play:

Find a couple of opaque cups or bowls around the house. Clearly show your dog a small piece of cooked hot dog, then place it under one of the cups while leaving the other empty. Slowly switch the cups’ positions a few times, allowing your pup to follow the movement with their eyes.

dog cup game

Once the cups are in their final positions, release your eager companion and let them use their keen senses to sniff out the cup, concealing the savory hot dog treat! Watch as they excitedly nose and paw at the correct cup to reveal their well-deserved reward.

Tip! You can adjust the difficulty by using more or fewer cups, making the game increasingly challenging as your dog masters each stage. Start with just two cups and gradually add more as they get the hang of it, keeping their mind sharp and their interest piqued.

two people holding short coated tan dog 1

7. DIY Hot Dog Muffin Tin Game (New Tip)

For an extra layer of fun, transform treat time into a stimulating mental challenge with the DIY muffin game. This activity taps into your dog’s natural foraging instincts and keeps their mind engaged while rewarding them with tasty morsels.

To set it up, simply grab a muffin baking tray from your kitchen and cut up some pieces of cooked hot dog. Scatter the hot dog pieces into the muffin tin holes, then cover each filled hole with a tennis ball, plush toy, or any other dog-safe object that your pup can easily move aside.

muffin tin game for dog 2

Once your game board is ready, release your furry friend and let them use their powerful sense of smell to locate the hidden treats! They’ll have to nudge and push the covering objects off the muffin tin holes to uncover the tasty hot dog morsels underneath.

Tip! If your pup is relatively sensitive to loud noises, consider starting the game on a carpeted surface to muffle the sound of the muffin tin hitting the floor. Once your pup is comfortable and engaged, you can move the game to a harder surface for an added challenge.

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The Benefits and Potential Risks of Feeding Hot Dogs to Dogs

While hot dogs shouldn’t be a staple in your dog’s diet, there are some benefits to serving them as an occasional treat:


– High-value reward for training

– Source of protein and some nutrients (selenium, vitamin B12)

– Useful for hiding medication

cheerful black woman embracing cute labrador near window


– Can contain unhealthy additives (sodium nitrate, MSG, artificial sweeteners)

– Too much sodium can result in dehydration and, in severe cases, salt poisoning.

– High-fat content, contributing to stomach upset, heart disease, and pancreatitis

– Potential choking hazard due to size and shape

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Final Words

While it’s essential to moderate treats like hot dogs, incorporating them into interactive and engaging activities can enrich your pup’s mental and physical well-being. Get creative and have fun with it! 

Whether it’s through interactive games or tasty puzzles, there are countless ways to turn this simple snack into valuable bonding time with your faithful companion. Thanks for reading!


About Judith D. Swan

With a passion for pooch health and nutrition, I've dedicated myself to exploring every "Can dogs eat...?" scenario you can imagine. With a background in veterinary science and years of experience in the pet care industry, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. From the common to the curious, I've researched it all to ensure that your canine companion gets the best possible care. But hey, I'm not just about facts and figures. As a proud dog parent myself, I understand the bond between humans and their four-legged pals. That's why I'm committed to providing trustworthy, practical advice that keeps both tails wagging.