Skip to Content

Can Cats Eat Hot Dogs? Here’s Why They’re So Dangerous

Can Cats Eat Hot Dogs? Here’s Why They’re So Dangerous

Whenever you put the barbeque out, you hear the question in your head: Can cats eat hot dogs? 

You know for a fact that your little cat will come running to the garden. And it doesn’t matter if you keep a watchful eye on her, she’ll sneak around until she gets the chance to steal one. 

If you think that you’ll be able to stop her from jumping on the table, then you’re mistaken. She’s unpredictable, she thinks she’s hunting, and she’ll get what she’s after. 

The worst thing about it is that you never know if something is okay for your cat to eat or not, so your heart skips a few beats. We get attached to our pets on a deep level, so a life without them isn’t even an option. 

What would you do if I told you that certain food could be extremely dangerous for your kitty? 

I hope you’re ready to find out something new. Prepare yourself for an enlightening moment. 

Can cats eat hot dogs? 

To get straight to the point: No. Your cat can’t and shouldn’t eat hot dogs. You want to think that as long as it’s meat, your midget-sized hunter should be fine, but that’s not the case. 

Hot dogs contain ingredients that aren’t healthy for your cat. Even if you prepare it differently, or make sure that it’s a healthier version, it could still cause your kitty many problems. You don’t want her to go through that pain just for the sake of a moment of peace between the two of you. 

She’ll meow her little heart out, but you don’t need to comply. There are many better alternatives when it comes to feline treats. 

For your own peace of mind, you should pay close attention to your cat and keep hot dogs far from her reach. 

If you’re sure that there’s no way she’ll be able to eat them, then there’s no need to ask yourself if cats can eat hot dogs. 

The meat here is different from the meat your cat should be eating as a part of her diet. Considering that your cat eats mice and birds as a delicacy, you’re confused as to why such a harmless piece of meat can be so dangerous, but that’s why you have us to help you through this! 

Don’t let yourself be deceived. You’ll be better off if you listen right away, instead of letting your cat face health issues because of this. 

Many experts in this field, together with other cat owners, have come together to summarise it for you.

Can Cats Eat Hot Dogs? Here’s Why They’re So Dangerous

6 reasons your cat can’t eat hot dogs

Veterinarians and pet nutritionists all agree that hot dogs aren’t the proper food for your cat. 

I mean, I get it. At this point, it’s a reflex to share your food with your cat. 

You’re sitting at your table, and when those eyes look up at you, you feel like the worst person in the world for denying her food. In a case like this one, you could just reach for her food that has all the nutrition a cat needs. 

You’ll know for a fact that your furry friend won’t develop issues when you give her the safe option. With human food it’s always a gamble, especially if you’re not educated about its consequences. 

Now onto why cats can’t eat hot dogs. Let’s talk about all the reasons this is everything but acceptable food for your little furkitty. 

1. It’s full of fats

A cat’s digestive tract isn’t created to handle high fat content. Their diet should consist of high protein and low fat. 

In the wilderness, you’ll rarely find animals that contain a lot of fat in their bodies. Especially those animals that a cat will go for under normal circumstances. 

Their body is much different from that of a human (go figure), so they don’t have the same enzymes as we do. This means that we can’t eat the same foods most of the time. 

You’d love to give your cat everything that you’re eating, because she seems interested in all of those treats that you’re munching on. But you have to find a way to resist her pleas. 

If she ends up eating too much fats, it could lead to digestive problems. It’ll make her feel bloated and it won’t be pleasant. Her tummy could hurt for days afterwards, until she finds a way to dissolve all that. 

Other than that, foods that contain a large amount of fat, can cause weight gain in cats. The occasional hot dog may not cause her to become obese in a matter of days, but if you give it to her on a regular basis, she could easily become overweight. 

There are so many health issues that are tied to a cat’s weight. 

I understand that you love to see your cat well fed, as well as watch the way her chubby body jiggles when she walks up to you. However, that can’t be your objective for giving your cat food that may be deadly to her. 

Especially if we consider that all the excess weight can put a lot of pressure on her joints. It won’t be long before she’s unable to wiggle her way to you anymore.

2. She could get sodium poisoning

As you know, sodium is just another word for salt. It’s a key electrolyte in every organism and we all need the right concentration in our body in order for it to function properly. 

You can find sodium eons in our fluids and cells, because it controls the water content of our bodies and keeps us hydrated. 

However, too much salt has quite a bad rep. There’s a good reason for that, too. 

Even in humans, too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, and many other health issues. Can you imagine what it would do to that furbaby you love dearly? 

The human body is accustomed to a much higher sodium level than a cat’s. That’s why we can eat salty foods and not feel like we’re choking on air from it. 

But a cat is a completely different ballgame. Salt is actually detrimental, because there’s no sodium in any of the foods a cat can find in nature. A cat’s body is not designed to process such high salt content. 

Even the smallest amount of sodium can cause your cat to become dehydrated. Depending on the severity of her dehydration, she could go into kitty heaven before you know it. 

It’s a scary thought to have, but your cat actually could get sodium ion poisoning from even the lowest intake of salt. 

If your cat has sodium ion poisoning, you’ll start seeing the signs in the form of nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Her body temperature will increase, her heart rate will jump through the roof, and she’ll experience frequent tremors or seizures. 

It could be fatal for her. You don’t want to say goodbye to her yet, so keep those hot dogs out of paw’s reach. 

3. It contains preservatives and other chemicals

Can Cats Eat Hot Dogs? Here’s Why They’re So Dangerous

In the wild, a cat doesn’t have access to chemical-laden foods. The meat cats eat isn’t processed and is always fresh. They catch their prey and just go to town with it. 

Hot dogs are classified as long-life foods. In order to get something in a state where it doesn’t go bad that easily, it has to be full of chemicals that keep it fresh. 

It’s safe for consumption for a much longer time than any other foods because of preservatives like sodium nitrates and sodium nitrites. Those are the ingredients that make the shelf-life of hot dogs so long. 

The human body has adapted to these preservatives and chemicals throughout the ages, but none of the foods your cat eats in the wild will contain this. 

There are preservative-free hot dogs out there, of course. But just to be safe, don’t question if your cats can eat hot dogs. Just avoid feeding them to your little hunters. 

4. They usually come with toppings

Who even eats hot dogs without toppings in this day and age? We all want to make things more delicious for ourselves, but it could be hazardous for your kitty. 

Before you know it, she’s at your table, licking and nibbling on it, without a care in the world. You know that cats love to mimic your behavior in order to get your attention, but even when it’s not because of that, she’ll do whatever it takes to get a taste of your food. 

It’s something different and her curiosity will get the better of her. That’s why you need to make sure that she’s safe before you even start eating. 

Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, or whatever else you put on your hot dogs could genuinely cause a lot of harm to your cat. And if you think about it, it’s obvious why it’s so dangerous. 

As a parent to your furry companion, you need to know how bad onions and garlic are. Many of the typical sauces contain these vegetables, and create a much bigger problem than you may think. 

If your cat eats any of these ingredients, you should get her to the vet right away or your cat will experience serious, potentially life-threatening poisoning.

5. They contain spices

Still wondering if cats can eat hot dogs? Well, when there are spices in them, you probably shouldn’t even be buying them in the first place. 

This sounds a little brutal, but in order to keep your furchild safe, you can’t be too cautious. There’s a small percentage of spices in hot dogs, but that doesn’t change anything. 

As stated before, many hot dogs contain onion or garlic in the form of powder. It’s very toxic to your cat, which means that you shouldn’t even bring it anywhere close to her. 

Other common spices are cinnamon, pepper, coriander, nutmeg, paprika, and many more. Even though your body thrives when your food is flavorful, a feline’s digestive tract will suffer when these foreign spices enter into its system.

6. The casing

These days you can buy hot dogs with no casing. However, most of the time, the hot dogs that are made for cooking do have a casing in order to keep them intact through the process. 

Can you name any foods in the wild that contain that sort of casing? Probably not. So don’t expect your cat to be fine after eating that. 

There are also natural casings, which could make the food safer for your cat, but considering all the other ingredients, it’s still not a good idea to feed it to your pet. 

How are spices toxic to cats?

Can Cats Eat Hot Dogs? Here’s Why They’re So Dangerous

At this point we’ve established that garlic and onions are poisonous to cats, even in small doses. That’s because allium-family plants, such as garlic, onion, shallots, and chives, contain thiosulfate. 

Thiosulfate attacks the red blood cells in cats and it’s toxic even in the smallest amounts. The destruction of red blood cells can induce a condition called hemolytic anemia. This is a devastating condition that could lead to feline death. 

Usually, you won’t see your cat go for these things. They have an inborn instinct that tells them when something is dangerous. 

However, when your cat sees you eating something like hot dogs, she’ll go for it. At that point, she’s not even thinking about the ingredients, especially if the smell of meat overpowers the smell of spices and other ingredients within the food. 

Does the type of preparation matter? 

That little hunter who’s currently curled up on your sofa is a carnivore, so the meat in hot dogs isn’t the problem here. 

When you buy cat food in the store, it usually contains beef, chicken, or fish. That’s why you don’t need to think that meat is the main concern. But the manufacturing process of hot dogs is what gives us the answer to whether cats can eat them. 

You’re probably aware of the way hot dogs are made. They start by selecting the meat and mixing it together with other flavors, spices, and binding agents. 

Afterwards, the mixture is put into casings (which are usually made out of cellulose) and that’s when they’re sent to the smokehouse. The hot dogs will be cured with nitrates and nitrites to increase their shelf life. 

At the end of the process, the cellulose is taken off of the hot dogs and they’re sent out to be packaged and sold. 

I feel like you get the picture, because there are so many steps to this preparation that are dangerous for your kitty. Your little house cat isn’t able to process those spices or the casing. 

It’s easy to believe that you could get her used to it over time, but you can’t really get your cat used to something that’s poisonous to her. 

The way you prepare it isn’t of any importance here, regardless of whether you grill the hot dogs or boil them. The ingredients in them won’t just disappear. 

It’s a food made specifically for human consumption. Your feline friend shouldn’t get anywhere near it, however much she may want to. 

Be strong enough and ignore her meows, or don’t even bring this into your home if your cat is the curious type.

What should you do if your cat decides to eat a hot dog? 

So, what happens when your cat eats a hot dog when you’re not looking? Or you didn’t know that it was this hazardous and you gave it to your kitty without thinking? 

Don’t panic! Hold your horses and take a deep breath. It’ll be easier for you once you understand that there’s hope for her, so you just need to keep calm for the time being. 

If your cat ate just a small amount of a hot dog, it won’t cause any major issues. 

The only thing that you need to look out for are signs of sodium poisoning. We talked earlier about the symptoms to look out for. If you’re able to catch them on time, you can take your furbaby to the veterinarian and they’ll be able to help you right away. 

If you see symptoms like nausea, bloating, or anything along these lines, you should act by comforting your cat. Don’t give her a reason to panic either, because the discomfort could make her feel even worse. 

Give her plenty of water because you need to stop the dehydration from becoming even worse. High salt levels could damage her organs, but with fluids, it’ll get out of her system much quicker. 

Just keep a watchful eye on her to make sure that she doesn’t get sodium ion poisoning. The severity of poisoning will depend on many different factors, but the one you have to look out for is if she ate a huge amount of it. 

Because cats cannot eat hot dogs mainly due to the fact that they contain garlic or onions, you need to act as soon as possible. And even if it doesn’t contain these ingredients, but it is cured, it could be very toxic for your buddy due to the high salt, nitrate, and nitrite content. 

Can Cats Eat Hot Dogs? Here’s Why They’re So Dangerous

Obesity in cats doesn’t occur overnight. She won’t get overweight just because she ate a small amount of a hot dog. Even if she ate an entire sausage, it’ll be fine on this end of the spectrum. 

Obesity can occur if you give her hot dogs as a treat for a long period of time. Because of other factors, she’ll suffer bloating and other discomforting moments, but she won’t gain weight right away. 

The bottom line is that you should take her to the vet. Even if you think that you have all the knowledge of this world, it’s so much safer to go and check out if she’s doing okay. 

My tabby, Pixie, is an old lady who usually doesn’t go for processed foods. I was so sure that she wouldn’t jump on the counter and steal my food, because she never did that before. 

She ate half a hot dog before she realized that there was something wrong with it. Even with my knowledge of what I had to do, I still knew that I had to consult a professional. 

Good thing is that he immediately gave her the medicine she needed to help her through the detoxification. 

I knew that sodium ion poisoning could lead to a coma or death. You can imagine the level of panic I went through.

So don’t think that you know everything. There are professionals out there who’ll help your cat much better than you ever could. 

Which foods should your cat eat?

Can cats eat hot dogs if they have their own food? Well, you can imagine the irony of this question and how you’ll be happier holding on to her food. 

Keep hot dogs off-limits and give her the food that was meant for her from the get go. 

Cats are obligate carnivores. This means that cats need meat in order to survive. They can live exclusively on animal protein to get all the essential nutrients. 

If you try to put your cat on a vegetarian, or God forbid vegan diet, she won’t be able to function properly. All the nutrients that keep your beloved pet alive are in meat. 

That’s why foods that are specifically made for cats are always the best option. There are tons of them on the market and I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that works for your cat.

So, if you want your feline to try something else and add some variety to her diet, Iams Proactive Health cat food with salmon is a great choice for your indoor cat. My furry friend is obsessed with it and could eat it all day long.

Iams Proactive Health Adult Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food with Salmon, 16 lb. Bag
$33.98 ($2.12 / lb)
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/23/2024 08:38 am GMT

Which meats are okay for your cat to eat? 

Now that we answered your question of whether or not your cats can eat hot dogs, you also need to know the different types of meats that are actually okay for your cat to consume. 

You’d think that all meat is the same in the eyes of a hungry cat, but they’re actually not. The best meats to feed your cat are chicken and turkey. 

They have the best source of protein that will provide your kitty with the energy and nutrition she needs. You could even give her duck meat, but in moderation, since it’s a bit fattier than chicken.

Beef is a good source of protein, but you need to make sure that it’s easy to chew. If you’re thinking about giving beef to your cat, the best thing you can do is give her ground beef. 

However, beef organs shouldn’t be the main portion of your cat’s meal, even though they are good for her to eat from time to time.

Can Cats Eat Hot Dogs? Here’s Why They’re So Dangerous

For some reason, people believe that canned fish is the best thing you can give your cat. It’s not. Canned fish contains too much sodium and it should be given sparingly. If you could avoid it completely, it would be great. 

Smaller fish are safer for your cat to eat because they contain smaller amounts of mercury in their skin than large fish. With that said, you could educate yourself about your specific cat and what she needs to eat in order to feel the best. 

Even pork is good for your cat, if it’s given to her sparingly. Pork meat is full of fats that could make your cat obese in no time. Just avoid giving her bacon or ham because of the high sodium content. 

So you’ve got the gist of it. Sodium is poisonous for your cat, and if the meat you give her is too fatty, it’ll cause extreme health problems down the road. 

Read more: Can Cats Eat Slim Jims? Leave Them Or Give Them?

Which human foods can you incorporate into your cat’s diet? 

On occasion, you won’t be able to resist your cat’s meows and you’ll want to comply with her pleas. Those are the eyes of a persuader, and you feel your resolve weakening when you look into them. 

So what are some foods that you can feed your cat without getting any side effects from it? Or should you just stick to knowing whether or not cats can eat hot dogs? 

I guess more information is due right now. You’ll be happy to know that you can share some of your food with her. 

1. Cooked eggs

Eggs have a lot of healthy amino acids and proteins that can be very beneficial for your cat. Your kitty can enjoy this occasional snack and you don’t have to worry about any side effects. 

Just be careful about how you cook the eggs. If you make an omelet, it probably contains salt and fats that you added while making them. That’s not something you want your cat to ingest. 

Remove the shells and make sure that it’s cooked plainly and thoroughly. Raw eggs may contain salmonella and egg whites have a protein called avidin. It can bind itself to the Vitamin B7 and prevent it from being absorbed into the body. 

2. Unprocessed foods

Most unprocessed foods should be more than fine. You know that you can give your cat veggies moderately. 

When there are no added spices, your food is quite safe for your cat. As long as you’re careful, it should be fine. 

Unprocessed meats are the best option for your cat. Beside her usual food, unprocessed meats can be an amazing treat to her. She’ll be thankful to you and reward you with happy purrs! 

3. Oatmeal

Before I even begin this paragraph, I need you to understand that just as with any other human food, cats should consume oatmeal in moderation. 

It’s an occasional treat that she can eat without feeling any lasting effects on her body. 

Oats contain fiber and Vitamin B, which can help her digestion. However, if your cat is lactose intolerant and you add milk to your oats, you can expect bloating. That’s why it’s better to find an alternative to dairy. 

That said, a small amount of oatmeal here and there could even be beneficial to your cat’s digestive tract.

Read more: Can Cats Eat Pepperoni? Everything You Need To Know!

Can Cats Eat Hot Dogs?
en_US