Can I Give My Cat a Hot Dog?
Your cat may be doing their version of begging for a piece of your hot dog, but is it something that will harm them?
Hot dogs are a quick and easy meal, and if your pet smells the aroma of cooking meat it will likely get them interested in what’s being cooked. Once you have your hot dog assembled they may move in for the kill and see if they can score a piece. You might be thinking that a hot dog is all meat, so it might be OK for a cat.
The reasons you shouldn’t give a cat a hot dog are similar to the reasons why humans shouldn’t eat hot dogs. We’ll go into detail on the different reasons below.
Can I Give My Cat a Hot Dog? Answer: Not Recommended
Even though a cat is a carnivore and hot dogs contain meat, they’re not the best choice of a protein option for them. Cats wouldn’t be eating processed meats because it’s something we as humans do to food that no other animal on the planet does.
Cats would be eating meat fresh and raw. Of course you’re likely not going to feed them raw meat every day, nor should you, but some of the better cat food options out there closely resemble the sort of meals a cat really craves.
The biggest issue with hot dogs is that they’re typically high in sodium. You’ll want to make sure that you don’t spike your cat’s sodium levels. You’ll notice that the sodium content of both wet and dry cat foods is not very high, and this is an indicated that they don’t do well with high levels of sodium, just like us. The salt comes from the curing process, and is why there is also more sodium in things like lunch meats.
The amount of nitrates in hot dogs varies by brand, and you can even buy some varieties that don’t have reduced nitrates or a nitrate free. That still doesn’t make a hot dog OK for your cat. Nitrates are not something cats would be eating if they were left on their own in the wild.
We’re finding out more and more that nitrates should be kept to a minimum in the human diet, and since your cat is on a smaller scale, you can bet it takes a smaller amount of nitrates to spell trouble for them.
High Fat Content
The high fat content in hot dogs furthers the no-go status they have as far as being a food for cats. Cats like their meat lean, and you could be contributing to an overweight or obese cat by feeding them things like hot dogs. It’s best to give them their regular cat food each day, and keep the human food away from them. This is the best practice, and it will yield the best results as far as your cat having a long and healthy life.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of giving your cat food that you eat, because it’s readily available and they’re curious and want to know what you’re eating. If they get a sniff of something delicious they’ll want to have some too. Pick and choose what you give them and always consider if the cat would eat it in the wild.
If you’ve adorned your hot dog with any toppings, you’re doubling down on this not being OK for your cat. The two most popular condiments, ketchup and mustard, are not something that a cat should have. If you’ve gone all out and put relish, a pickle, minced onions, or more, you’re only complicating matters further and making this a definite no for your cat.
When your cat begs for human food, why not have some cat treats on hand to distract them from the food they want and also to give them a little nourishment. You can find specially formulated cat treats at supermarkets or pet supply stores.
Get them something with catnip in it, only bringing it out when you’re eating something really yummy so they don’t feel like they’re missing out.