Can Dogs Eat Vienna Sausages? What Pet Owners Must Know

We often want to share our delicious meals with our furry friends. You would think that sausages are safe for dogs because they are made of meat, but there are many types of sausage. And some can be very harmful. So can dogs eat Vienna sausages?

Dogs should not eat Vienna sausages regularly. While small amounts occasionally may be fine, their high salt and preservative content can be harmful. Instead, opt for safer, canine-friendly treats that promote their well-being. There are a few good alternatives to choose from.

What are the nutritional contents of Vienna sausages?

These delicious meaty snacks usually come as small, canned sausages. They come from Vienna, Austria, hence the name.

The main ingredient of these sausages is processed ground meat, which can be made of pork, beef, or a mix. Additional seasonings are added and often include high amounts of salt. Onions, garlic, and pepper can also be added. Then, the mixture is stuffed into casings and cooked before canning. Preservatives are also added in most cases. 

What are dogs’ dietary needs?

Vienna sausages in a dog’s diet will not play a large role. Even though dogs are carnivores and require meat in their daily diet, the minced meat of sausages does not have the needed nutrients.

Besides high amounts of meat, dogs also need fats and carbohydrates in moderate amounts to keep their energy levels high. But the fats need to be healthy in order to be used properly. And that is not the case with the fats coming from these sausages.

What are the health risks of feeding Vienna sausages to dogs?

Even though they are delicious, these sausages can cause some serious problems for your dog if ingested in higher amounts.

Sodium toxicity

Used as a preservative and as a taste enhancer, salt is added in large amounts when making this delicious treat. However, dogs are not allowed to have a lot of salt and can get intoxicated if they do so.

If they eat too much salt, dogs will develop hypernatremia and become dehydrated. This can result in acute symptoms that need instant treatment. Long term, high sodium in the diet will lead to hypertension. With time, it will cause serious heart diseases.

There are also some cases of allergic reactions to sausages that can be seen in dogs. Usually, it is accompanied by a rash, itching, and vomiting.

High caloric values

These sausages are not known to have a high nutritional value, yet they are very calorie-dense. This is mostly due to the high-fat content.

Dogs that eat too many calories in their diet, tend to gain weight over time. This is most noticeable in dogs that don’t know when to stop eating. These dogs are also exposed to choking hazards due to eating too fast. 

With weight gain, the risk of becoming obese gets higher. Obese dogs then are exposed to many other systemic diseases.

Toxic ingredients

Vienna sausages are harmful to dogs because they are usually made with additional ingredients that are known to be toxic for them. Besides salt, onion and garlic powder can also be added to enrich the taste. However, these ingredients are highly toxic to dogs and in large amounts can cause dogs to become anemic.

These sausages also contain preservatives and additional flavorings which can cause additional health problems. “There are safety issues relating to sulphur dioxide and sodium and potassium sulphite preservatives – these can cause thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency, which can be fatal.”, says the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in Australia.


The high amounts found in the sausages can be very dangerous if ingested in high amounts. Namely, they can lead to a life-threatening condition known as pancreatitis. This happens when the pancreas gets inflamed and manifests with terrible abdominal pain. Vomiting, lethargy, and drooling are also present.

Besides this, the kidneys can also get damaged. Dogs with kidney disease need immediate vet care. Dr. Scott A. Brown, for the MSD Veterinary Manual, explains the symptoms of Acute Kidney Injury as such:

Most often, AKI is recognized in advanced stages and is characterized clinically by anorexia, depression, dehydration, oral ulceration, vomiting and/or diarrhea, or oliguria. Physical examination findings often reveal dehydration but otherwise are usually not remarkable, although pain is occasionally elicited on palpation of the kidneys, which may be normal in size to slightly enlarged.

What are the alternative food options for dogs?

Because giving Vienna sausages to dogs is dangerous, you should consider some substitutes to give to your dog.

Meat options

A good meaty snack for a dog would be cooked chicken breast. Boiled chicken without any added seasonings would be the healthiest option for your dog. A well-cooked beef will also be a great substitute for a sausage

Other options

For owners that want to choose a nutritious option that is not meat, you have a few to pick. Scrambled eggs are a delicious meal filled with proteins that will benefit your dog. Cooked sweet potatoes are both tasty and nutritious, providing many different vitamins and minerals for dogs.

Sausage options

If you are really determined to give your dog sausages, your best option would be to find some specially made for dogs. Those are usually made with low sodium and fats. You can even grind up some well-cooked meat and make homemade dog-friendly sausages from it.

What to do if your dog eats a Vienna sausage?

Now that you know Vienna sausages are not safe for dogs, you need to know how to react once your dog eats one.

Remain calm

Sometimes dogs will not listen to you and still eat sausages if they can. But you should not act rashly and keep a clear mind. Something to have in mind is that a dog needs to eat a lot of sausages to develop serious symptoms. But they still need to be checked out by a vet.

Monitor the situation

The moment you figure out that your dog has had a sausage, try to notice any signs of intoxication. Notice how much it had to eat and what the ingredient of the specific sausage was. This information will be of high value when you speak with the healthcare provider. Calling the Poison Pet line is also a great option here.

Contact the vet

Call your vet and tell them everything about the situation you are in. They will guide you through the process and sometimes invite you to their office to get a better look at your pet. Additional testing might be needed and then the vet will decide on the therapy. Sometimes dogs need to be hospitalized and cared for a few days before coming back home.

Final thoughts – can dogs eat Vienna sausages?

While dogs can technically eat Vienna sausages, it is best to avoid them altogether. These delicious meaty snacks contain a lot of sodium that can cause intoxication in dogs. The added seasonings and preservatives can also be highly toxic and cause long-term problems. The large amount of calories in this meal largely goes over the required amount for dogs so this will lead to obesity.

To ensure your furry friend’s health and longevity, prioritize a balanced and nutritious diet with appropriate dog-friendly treats. There are some great treats for dogs. Any well-cooked meats will give enough protein to your dog to keep it healthy. Foods like eggs, sweet potatoes, and beans are also great for providing high protein content to dogs. By making informed choices, you can give your dog the love and care they deserve.


Can dogs have an occasional sausage as a special treat?

Occasionally, a small, plain, and unseasoned piece of sausage might not harm most dogs. But it is essential to limit such treats and prioritize a balanced diet. Always consult your vet before introducing any new food.

Can dogs eat hot dogs?

No. Just like dogs can not eat Vienna sausages, they can also not eat hot dogs. Even though the name might suggest so. Hot dogs are filled with seasonings, sodium, and other bad ingredients that can harm a dog.

Is it safe to share any human food with dogs?

Some foods humans eat can be fine for dogs, but some can be very harmful. For example, dogs can not eat tamales, the delicious Mexican dish we all love. Also, they can not eat chocolate and grapes, which is sad.

More dog nutrition resources

Here are a few other resources talking about giving certain foods to dogs and the effect they have on their health.

You can find a lot more information on the types of food you can feed your dog on our site Dogisa!

Leave a Comment