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Can Cats Eat Hot Dogs? Here’s What You Need To Know

Can Cats Eat Hot Dogs? Here’s What You Need To Know

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Every cat owner knows to expect a little guest when some delicious meal is set on the table. Our furry friends – cats! They’re always first in the queue when it comes to the food, especially food that’s not healthy for them.

I know this from my own experience because my grandma’s cat literally stole my hot dog from the table! Can you believe it? Neither could I, but it’s true.

So, here comes the question: did the cat steal the hot dog because she really wanted it or just because it’s my food? Well, she did seem to find it delicious. So, can cats eat hot dogs? Read on to find out can cats eat hot dogs!

Can Cats Eat Hot Dogs?

several hot dogs with sauces

So, can cats eat hot dogs? They clearly can, but they really shouldn’t!

Our pets should not eat hot dogs as they’re not healthy for them. Small, occasional treats won’t hurt your feline, but you should forget about hot dogs as a cat’s main meal.

Cats are obligate carnivores and that means that meat should be the main component of a cat’s diet.

However, the problem is that a hot dog isn’t just meat. Hot dogs are mostly made of beef and pork that are mixed with water and spices in order to create the form.

Hot dogs are actually highly processed meat that contains additives and spices. Various spices aren’t healthy for your cat at all, and they can be dangerous, especially if a large amount is consumed.

This highly processed meat, even if it doesn’t seem like it, can be very dangerous for your cat, as it may impact badly on the cat’s digestive system, causing her more serious problems.

This type of meat is a lot different from wild meat from a bird or a rat that a cat eats in nature. So, stick around because I’m not finished with hot dogs yet! Continue reading and find out more on why hot dogs aren’t healthy for your feline friend!

Do Cats Like Hot Dogs?

Most cats like hot dogs, just like most human food. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s okay to feed your cat hot dogs.

A small and occasional treat may be acceptable, but nothing more than that. Keep processed foods to a minimum if you want to keep your cat safe from health issues.

Can Stray Cats Eat Hot Dogs?

Just because it’s a stray cat, doesn’t mean it’s less important; hot dogs and similar foods may cause the same problems to a stray cat as to pet cats.

However, you can give stray cats small pieces of hot dog that will help keep the hunger away. Just make sure you avoid feeding them bones, especially chicken bones as they may cause choking.

Which Ingredients Do Hot Dogs Contain?

Hot dogs with ketchup, yellow mustard and fries

Hot dogs are one of the most popular meals, and they’re also delicious, I must admit. Just because a food is suitable for humans to eat, that doesn’t mean that it’s good for cats too.

Cats have special diets and different systems than humans so it’s very important to feed them foods that will be good for them.

Hot dogs contain beef, pork, or chicken meat and many other things, some of which are not the healthiest for humans and even for cats.

Ingredients may include:

• Water

A lot of salt

• A lot of sugar

• Corn syrup

• Starch

• Various spices

So, considering the ingredients that can be found in hot dogs, every pet parent will immediately know that this is no good for his cat. You will notice that cat food does not contain ingredients such as sugar, corn syrup and spices as they’re unhealthy for a cat and may cause damage.

What Is The Nutritional Content Of Hot Dogs?

A typical hot dog contains:

• 314 calories

• 11.4 g of protein

• 810 mg of sodium

• 4g of sugar

• 24.3 g carbohydrates

• 0.8 g of fiber

Are Hot Dogs Bad For Cats? 7 Reasons Why!

cat laying on the floor and looking up

Can cats eat hot dogs? NO, they shouldn’t. If you wonder why, then let’s look at the 7 most important reasons why cats can’t eat hot dogs:

1. High Sodium Content

Hot dogs have a high sodium content meaning that they contain a lot of salt. A lot of salt can be bad for humans too, causing high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. Humans are able to process salt, whereas cats cannot.

On the contrary, no cat food contains sodium, as a cat’s system cannot process it.

The smallest amount of sodium may cause your cat serious problems. Sodium may lead to problems such as dehydration and sodium ion poisoning, or more serious diseases such as pancreatitis.

Some of the symptoms of these health issues include:

• Vomiting

• Diarrhea

• Nausea

• High Body Temperature

• Stress

• Anxiety and depression

• High blood pressure

• Seizures

• Tremors

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s very important that you contact your veterinarian, especially if you suspect that your cat is suffering from sodium ion poisoning.

2. Flavorings

If you decide to give your cat a hot dog without toppings, it’s still not a healthy choice for your cat, because hot dogs contain different flavorings which are added during the mixing process.

Some hot dogs may contain garlic, sweet paprika, or even chili. However, a cat’s system cannot digest spices properly and they may cause health problems.

Chili is especially bad for cats; it will feel like you’re torturing your cat! A cat eating a chili hot dog may have watery eyes because she cannot stand the spice in her mouth.

On top of all of this, these seasonings and flavorings can cause many problems to cats such as oral distress, stomachache, and gastrointestinal issues.

3. Toppings

There are many different toppings that people enjoy on hotdogs, but none of them are healthy for your feline!

Toppings such as ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise have a lot of sugar and salt content, which is not healthy for cats.

These toppings may have a serious impact on the cat’s digestion, causing her stomach problems and even sodium poisoning. These issues may manifest as diarrhea and vomiting.

4. Chemicals And Preservatives

Grilled hot dogs with mustard, ketchup and relish

Hot dogs are treated with chemicals and preservatives in order to increase their shelf life. Although these are not healthy for humans, we can process them. However, these are more dangerous for cats because they contribute to the sodium level in a hot dog.

Processed meat with a lot of chemicals and preservatives is so unnatural to cats because they cannot find that kind of meat in nature. This is essentially why cats shouldn’t eat hot dogs.

You may be able to buy preservative-free hot dogs. However, these hot dogs are also unhealthy for your cat. Preservative-free hot dogs are a healthier version of a hot dog for you. They are not designed for cats and should be avoided.

5. High Fat Content

We already know that a cat’s diet consists mostly of meat. However, animals that cats usually eat in the wild don’t have high fat content; their meat is normally lean. This means that a cat’s diet should also be based on low fat content.

Hot dogs have a high fat content and this may be a problem for cats. A cat’s system isn’t able to handle a large amount of fat, and therefore your cat may have serious issues digesting it.

One of the biggest problems that hot dogs may cause your feline is digestive problems. Your cat probably won’t be able to easily digest the hot dog, and it may cause her extreme pain.

However, even if you don’t see any consequences of feeding your cat hot dogs frequently, and your cat doesn’t seem to be experiencing any health issues, it still may lead to obesity.

So, while an occasional hot dog treat shouldn’t cause any harm, frequent hot dog treats or giving large amounts of processed meat could cause serious problems.

Obesity always comes with more health issues. Cats with obesity have higher risks of diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease, and similar. A cat’s weight may also impact her joints, making it harder to walk, or even causing arthritis.

And so, if you’re a pet owner who truly cares about their pet, then you should avoid giving your cat any foods with a high fat content!

I also highly suggest reading: How Heavy Should My Cat Be: Weight Guide

6. Sodium Nitrates And Sodium Nitrites

Hot dogs contain large amounts of nitrates and nitrites in order to make hot dogs look more like meat.

Hot dogs contain large amounts of preservatives as well as nitrates in order to give them a longer shelf life. The human body is used to it but these chemicals cannot be found in a cat’s natural diet.

Therefore, a cat’s body cannot process this food, and it may have serious consequences that you don’t want your feline to experience!

7. Processed Meat

Processed meat is created by mixing different things into one and adding chemicals to make it taste better and last longer. Usually, these things are low quality meat, fat, salt, spices, and similar things which cannot be found in wild meat.

This type of meat isn’t found in nature, and neither humans nor cats are really adapted to digesting it.

Hot dogs are made from processed meat which may cause damage to your pet or lead to obesity if you offer processed food very often.

Read Also: Can Cats Eat Chicken Nuggets? Everything You Need To Know

What To Do If Your Cat Ate A Hot Dog?

Gray kitten cat with stripped fur chest

Here is some advice on what you should do if you give your cat a hot dog without knowing about the consequences.

If your cat ate a small amount of hot dog, then you shouldn’t worry. Usually small amounts won’t harm her, or they’ll only cause her slight discomfort. It may cause her mild stomach ache or nausea.

The best thing to do for your cat is to provide her with a lot of fresh water so that she can stay hydrated after eating a hot dog which contains a lot of salt.

When we talk about salt, it’s also highly important that you pay attention to your cat in order to see if there are any symptoms of sodium ion poisoning.

This can be very dangerous for your pet friend, especially if eaten in large amounts or if it contains additional flavorings which are also bad for your furry friend.

Symptoms of sodium poisoning include:

• Diarrhea

• Vomiting

• Excessive thirst

• Frequent urination

• Weakness

• Tremors

• Seizures

• Anxiety

It’s important to take sodium poisoning seriously because it may lead to coma or even death. If you notice these symptoms, you should go immediately to the vet in order to get your cat the right treatment.

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of A Cat Eating A Hot Dog?

A cat that feels sick and seems to vomit

The possible side effects of a cat eating a hot dog may vary from mild issues to extremely serious problems.

For example, the smallest amounts of hot dogs may lead to the following consequences:

• Dehydration

• Stomachache

• Digestion issues

• Vomiting

• Diarrhea

However, if your cat’s eating hot dogs frequently, that may cause more serious health issues such as:

• Obesity (which in turn causes diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases, etc.)

• Weakness

• Tremors

• Seizures

• Sodium poisoning

What Are Some Good Foods For Cats?

As cats are obligate carnivores, their diet should be based on meat so that they get all the proteins and nutrients they need for their systems to function.

Most human food isn’t healthy for cats as it contains many ingredients which can be dangerous or even fatal for your feline. However, there are also some good foods for cats that are nutritious and healthy for her. So, let’s check out the list!

Cooked And Canned Fish

Cooked and canned fish may be the perfect occasional treat for your cat! Fish is good and healthy for your cat’s skin and coat as well.

However, fish may lack vitamin E which means that it can lead your cat to deficiency, so you shouldn’t base your cat’s entire diet on fish..

Moreover, make sure that you give your cat cooked fish such as cooked sardines, because raw fish contains the enzyme thiaminase that can have a negative impact one one of the most important amino acids – thiamine.

If you decide to give your cat canned fish such, then you should avoid fish canned in oil or brine, because it may have bad consequences for your cat as it contains high levels of fat and sodium which may cause health issues..

Lean And Unprocessed Meat

Unprocessed, lean meat is perfectly healthy and safe for your feline friend as that’s the kind of meat they can find in nature and that they’re able to digest. Most importantly, they receive healthy amino acids such as taurine and arginine from meat.

A cat’s body is naturally able to digest raw meat as well, as that’s how they eat it in nature.

However, if you want your furry friend to be safe, make sure that you cook meat before feeding her in order to kill any potential bacteria in the meat.

You should know that a cooked hot dog still isn’t a good choice for a cat’s meal, because it still contains all the ingredients that are bad for a cat! Also, avoid giving bones to your cat, especially small chicken bones, as they may choke. It’s just not worth the risk!

Suggested Read: Can Cats Eat Lamb Meat? Yummy Cat Menu


This may surprise you, but oatmeal is another perfect, occasional treat for your kitty. Oatmeal contains fiber which is important for a cat’s digestion, and it also contains vitamin B which may improve your cat’s energy levels.

When feeding your cat oatmeal, mix it with water instead of milk because cats shouldn’t drink milk, as many are actually lactose intolerant.

In addition, you can mix oatmeal with cat food, to make it even more delicious for your cat!

Cooked Eggs

Cooked eggs are one of the safest treats for your cat, just make sure that it’s only an occasional treat. When feeding your cat eggs, it’s important that they’re fully cooked, as you will want to avoid the risk of salmonella.

Cooked eggs are very healthy and nutritious for your cat, containing many of the proteins and amino acids that a cat needs. However, make sure that it’s only an occasional treat, because cooked eggs also contain a lot of calories which may lead your cat to gain weight.

All In All…

Even though cats are first in the queue when we eat something, not every food is good for them and some food may even have fatal consequences for your feline!

In conclusion, can cats eat hot dogs? NO! Hot dogs can be extremely bad for your cat friend. They are made from processed meat so they contain a lot of ingredients that are not good for cats.

Now you have learned about the possible side effects of cats eating hot dogs, and what should you do if they do manage to get one.

The list of human food that can actually be healthy and nutritious for your feline should help you keep them fed and happy! Just make sure that you put your cat’s health first, and trust me she’ll be more than grateful to you!

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