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Can Cats Eat Hot Dogs? Let Us Find Out

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by Cindy Smith

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Hot dogs are a popular snack, and many pet owners often wonder if their furry friend can safely indulge in a bite or two. But can cats eat hot dogs? This article will discuss if cats can eat hot dogs and the risks associated with feeding your cat hot dogs. Also, it will shed light on some alternatives to hot dogs for your cat.

Table of Contents

Can Cats Eat Hot Dogs?

A lazy cat is with a hot dog on a pink couch.

A lazy cat is with a hot dog on a pink couch.

No, cats can’t eat hot dogs. While they’re obligate carnivores, cats can have digestion issues associated with eating processed meats. Hot dogs comprise processed meat rich in fat, salt, preservatives, toppings, and flavorings. So, whether you cook them or not, hot dogs are bad for cats.

Reasons Why Hot Dogs Are Bad for Cats

A hot dog.

A hot dog.

Contain High Levels of Fat

Hot dogs have increased fat concentrations, which is not suitable for cats. A cat’s body and gut can’t handle excessive fat amounts, and digesting fats can make your cat bloat and feel uncomfortable. Excessive fat amounts can cause overweight issues in cats, including obesity. 

Have a High Sodium Content

Hot dogs contain a high amount of sodium, aka salt. Yet, even in small amounts, sodium can cause dehydration in cats. Likewise, in high concentrations, sodium can lead to sodium ion poisoning in cats.

Symptoms of sodium ion poisoning in felines

  • Increased body temperature
  • Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
  • Anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Frequent seizures
  • High blood pressure

If left untreated, sodium poisoning can be life-threatening to cats.

Contain Preservatives & Chemicals

Hot dogs have a considerable amount of preservatives and chemicals. That includes sodium nitrites and sodium nitrates, which can fill your cat’s system with excessive amounts of sodium. Other chemicals that help extend the shelf-life of hotdogs can also be detrimental to your cat’s health.

Contain Toppings

Most hotdog toppings are cat-unfriendly. For example, ketchup and mustard sauces can compromise your cat’s digestive system and cause sodium poisoning. Additionally, mustard has seeds that can cause diarrhea and vomiting in kitties. Furthermore, onions and garlic toppings contain thiosulfate that can damage your cat’s red blood cells.

Have Flavorings

Hot dogs come with flavorings, some of which can be toxic to cats. That includes garlic, paprika, and onion flavorings that can cause gastrointestinal issues, compromising your cat’s comfort. Also, most cats can’t handle hot flavors. So, hot dogs with hot flavors can make your cat drool excessively and have watery eyes.

What Are the Human Foods That Cats Can Eat?

Lean & Unprocessed Meats

Raw meat.

Raw meat.

Lean, unprocessed meat has similar nutritional benefits (proteins) as the raw meat cats eat in the wild. Also, lean meat has a lower fat concentration, and cats will process it hassle-free. Moreover, you should cook the meat before giving it to your cat. It’s just that raw meat can have bacteria that can affect the health condition of your cat. Furthermore, the meat should be boneless – meat on the bone could easily choke your cat.

Cooked or Canned Fish

Grilled fish.

Grilled fish.

Fish is rich in natural oils and can improve your cat’s coat – make it shine. Make sure to cook the fish first. Raw fish contains thiaminase, an enzyme that breaks down an essential amino acid in cats – thiamine. Cooking the fish, however, deactivates this enzyme, making the seafood safe for cats.

In addition, cats can eat canned fish, including tuna and salmon. Stick to options in the water – canned fish in brine can be toxic to cats due to excessive sodium. Likewise, canned fish in oil is unsuitable for cats due to the higher fat content that will give cats a hard time digesting it.

Note: cats should eat fish in moderation.

Cooked Eggs

A basket of eggs.

A basket of eggs.

Eggs are rich in healthy proteins and amino acids. However, eggs have a lot of calories and can cause overweight issues in cats. So, give eggs to your cat in moderation. You should cook them as well. Raw eggs have salmonella that could sicken your cat. Likewise, the avidin protein in raw eggs can compromise the absorption of Vitamin B7 in a cat’s body.

Note: remove shells from eggs before giving them to your cat.

Oatmeal

A bowl of oats.

A bowl of oats.

While cats can eat oatmeal, they should do it in moderation. It’s just that kitties are obligate carnivores, and it can be difficult for their systems to digest excessive amounts of oatmeal.

Oats are rich in fiber, which can help maintain a healthy digestive system and keep your cat feeling fuller for longer. Also, oats contain Vitamin B and can help boost your cat’s energy levels.

Note: don’t use milk to make oatmeal for your cat – use water instead. Many cats’ digestive systems can’t tolerate lactose. So, the milk in the oatmeal will likely make them bloat or even sick.

Conclusion

I don’t recommend that cats eat hot dogs due to their high fat, sodium, flavoring, and chemical content. For more information about whether cats can eat hot dogs or not, contact us today.