Expired Hot Dogs: Safe to Eat or a Health Risk?

As a veterinarian, I have come across many pet owners who feed their canine companions with hot dogs. Most often, these hot dogs are leftovers from last night’s BBQ or have been sitting in the fridge for a few days. The question of whether it’s safe to feed expired hot dogs to dogs is a valid one. In this article, we’ll explore the potential health risks associated with feeding your dog expired hot dogs.

Expired Hot Dogs: Safe to Eat or a Health Risk?

What Happens When Dogs Eat Expired Hot Dogs?

First, it’s essential to understand what happens when a dog eats food that has gone bad. Dogs can contract bacterial infections such as salmonella and E.coli from consuming expired food. These infections can cause health issues ranging from mild stomach upset to severe illness and even death in extreme cases.

When a hot dog starts to go bad, the meat develops bacteria that produce toxins. These toxins can cause food poisoning in both humans and dogs. Symptoms of food poisoning in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, fever, and even death.

How Long Do Hot Dogs Last?

The shelf life of hot dogs varies depending on several factors such as storage, packaging, and preservatives. Typically, unopened hot dogs are safe to eat for two weeks after the sell-by date. Once opened, they can last for up to a week in the refrigerator. However, this time frame can vary depending on the brand, type of hot dog, and storage conditions.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Hot Dogs?

Dogs can eat cooked hot dogs that are fresh and not expired. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that hot dogs contain high levels of salt and preservatives that can be harmful to dogs when consumed in large quantities. Additionally, hot dogs are not nutritionally complete and should not be a part of a dog’s regular diet.

What are the Alternatives to Hot Dogs?

If you want to treat your furry friend with a delicious snack, there are many safe alternatives to hot dogs. Some of these include:

  • Raw veggies such as carrot sticks, celery, and cucumber.
  • Fresh fruits like apple slices, berries, and watermelon.
  • Lean protein sources like cooked chicken, turkey, and fish.


In conclusion, feeding your dog expired hot dogs can lead to severe health complications. It’s essential to dispose of any hot dogs that have gone bad and not feed them to your furry friend. Instead, opt for healthy and nutritious snacks that are safe for your dog to consume. By providing your pet with a balanced diet, you’ll ensure their optimal health, happiness, and well-being.


Can I eat hot dogs past their expiration date?
It is not recommended to eat hot dogs past their expiration date as they may pose a health risk. The expiration date indicates the date until which the hot dogs are safe to eat, and consuming them after that date may increase the risk of foodborne illness.

How long can I keep hot dogs in the fridge before they go bad?
Under refrigeration, hot dogs can last for up to two weeks if unopened and for up to a week if opened. However, it is important to check the expiration date before consuming them and discard them if they have passed their expiration date.

What are the signs that hot dogs have gone bad?
If hot dogs have gone bad, they may have a sour or off smell, a slimy texture, or appear discolored. If you notice any of these signs, it is recommended to discard them rather than consuming them.

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