Ranch is a popular dressing and many of us use it as a delicious accompaniment to many of our snacks and meals including on salads, as a dip, and on pizza. Since ranch dressing is a staple ingredient in many of our kitchens, you might be wondering whether dogs can have ranch dressing.
Is it something they will enjoy as much as you do? Or does it contain harmful ingredients that could be toxic to your four-legged friend? Let’s take a closer look and discover, is ranch bad for dogs?
Can dogs have ranch dressing? Is it bad for them?
Dogs shouldn’t eat ranch dressing because it contains several ingredients that can be toxic to them. In large amounts, some of these ingredients could prove fatal to your dog so ranch dressing is definitely best avoided. It also contains a lot of calories, which can cause your dog to gain weight.
This is can be even more of an important consideration if your dog is already overweight. Overweight dogs are at higher risk for major health concerns such as heart disease, liver disease, respiratory problems, and kidney disease, amongst many more.
Being overweight also increases your dog’s chances of developing arthritis and can make the pain from existing arthritis much worse.
Can dogs eat Cool Ranch Doritos?
No, dogs should definitely not eat Cool Ranch Doritos. While it might seem tempting to offer your dog the odd ranch chip, they contain onion and garlic powder, both of which are toxic to dogs. They also contain lactose, which is a key ingredient found in dairy products such as milk and butter.
Most dogs are intolerant to lactose and as a result, Cool Ranch Doritos are likely to give your pooch an upset stomach which may result in vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Can dogs eat ranch dipping sauce?
Ranch dipping sauce is not safe for dogs. As with ranch chips, ranch dipping sauce contains onion and garlic which could poison your dog. It also contains lactose, which many dogs are intolerant to.
What are ranch dressings made of?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the more common ingredients in ranch dressing and the effects they can have on dogs.
Buttermilk is a dairy product, and although it contains less lactose than regular milk, it still isn’t suitable to give to dogs. Dogs are lactose intolerant and even small amounts of lactose could give them an upset stomach.
The buttermilk used in ranch dressing also often contains other harmful ingredients such as salt and other food additives which can irritate the lining of a dog’s digestive tract. It also contains modified corn starch which isn’t considered toxic to dogs although some dogs can be allergic to corn. Buttermilk is best avoided to be on the safe side.
While it isn’t toxic to dogs, mayonnaise is very high in fat which isn’t good for dogs (or us either for that matter!). Too much fat in your dog’s diet can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease, liver disease, and kidney disease to name just a few.
Sour cream is also high in fat, just like mayonnaise. It is a dairy product and so contains lactose therefore it is likely to give your pooch an upset stomach.
Garlic, Chives, and Onion powder
These are grouped together as they are all members of the Allium family. Alliums are extremely toxic to dogs and even small amounts can lead to the destruction of red blood cells. This is called hemolytic anemia, which can sometimes be fatal.
Red blood cells are essential as they carry oxygen around the body. If the body’s vital organs do not receive enough oxygen, then they will start to fail.
Signs of allium toxicity include:
- Pale or yellowish colored gums
- An elevated heart rate
The faster you act, the better the chance your dog has of recovering so do not wait to see if any of these signs develop. Contact your veterinarian straight away for further advice if you suspect your dog has eaten garlic, chives, or onion.
Too much salt is very bad for dogs and even small amounts can make them very unwell.
Excess salt in a dog’s diet can lead to salt poisoning which can be fatal if left untreated. Symptoms of salt poisoning include vomiting, lethargy, excessive thirst and urination, and seizures.
Contact your veterinarian immediately if you are concerned that your dog may have consumed too much salt, or he is showing any of these signs.
Mustard is a potent ingredient that can make dogs very sick, even if they only have a small amount. It can irritate the lining of the digestive tract and cause serious stomach upsets, giving your dog stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
In small amounts, parsley is unlikely to have any adverse effects on your dog. However, it does contain furanocoumarin, which can be toxic to dogs in high amounts. For this reason, parsley is listed as toxic to dogs according to the ASPCA. It is better avoided to the on the safe side.
Unlike several other herbs, dill isn’t toxic to dogs and is safe for them in moderation. Many dogs actually enjoy the taste of dill, but you still shouldn’t overdo it!
My dog ate ranch dressing – what should I do?
First of all, move the ranch dressing out of your dog’s reach so that he cannot eat anymore!
If your dog has just had a tiny lick of ranch dressing, then he is unlikely to come to too much harm. If, however, he has eaten more than this, you should contact your veterinarian straight away for further advice.
Depending on the size of your dog, and how much ranch he has eaten, your veterinarian may recommend making him sick. This is usually done by giving him an injection that will make him vomit.
Never attempt to make your dog sick at home unless you have been instructed to do so by a veterinarian as this can be very dangerous.
Healthy alternatives to ranch for dogs
There are many much healthier alternative treats to ranch dressing for your dog to enjoy. Some fruits and vegetables which are safe to feed your dog in moderation include:
If your dog particularly enjoys the wet texture similar to ranch dressing, then you can try pureeing banana or feeding a small amount of natural yogurt. There are also some dog treats in the form of licks or even special doggy ice cream that you can buy!
Remember that no more than 10% of your dog’s diet should be made up of treats, no matter how healthy they are! This is to ensure that your dog receives the correct balance of nutrients from his dog food to keep him healthy.
So, can dogs eat ranch dressing? The answer is definitely no!
It contains several unhealthy ingredients and even some that can be very toxic to dogs! So, think twice before offering your dog any ranch dressing or ranch seasoning and ensure he gets a safer, healthier treat instead.
Gemma is an experienced small animal vet who combines her love of writing alongside working in practice. Since her graduation from the University of Liverpool in 2014 she has worked in a wide variety of roles including first opinion practice, as a night vet and as a locum vet. She has also spent time working at a charity clinic in the Cook Islands which was a challenge but also immensely rewarding. She loves all aspects of veterinary work, but she especially enjoys medicine cases and diagnostic imaging. She is passionate about pain-management, particularly in her more senior patients. She currently works in a first opinion small animal practice in North Yorkshire where she deals with both routine and emergency cases.