Can Dogs Eat Ranch Dressing?

By John Martin - April 5, 2023

Ranch dressing on a veggie tray

Americans love their condiments and salad dressings including mustard, ketchup, thousand island, Sriracha, mayo, soy sauce, guacamole and of course ranch dressing. An extremely popular condiment, the creamy ranch dressing is commonly used in salads, as dips, with pizza, potatoes and in lots more recipes and makes everything taste absolutely amazing!

And, when you’re eating yummy food and you see the adorable face of your pooch, it is quite common that you’re tempted to share your food with him to make your furry friend happy. However, can dogs eat ranch? Is it safe for your dog?

Well, the answer to that is that ranch is not among the healthiest of foods and does not have any health benefits for both humans as well as dogs.

Is Ranch Healthy for Your Dog?

An amalgamation of dairy, salt, spices and herbs, ranch dressing is super tasty and satisfies your taste buds immensely. And, while we associate ranch dressing with healthy foods like salads, celery sticks, carrots, etc., in reality, it does not offer any real nutrition to us or our pets. Ranch dressing is very high in calories and lacks protein, vitamins and minerals too.

In fact, according to the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), 100 grams of ranch dressing contains around 321 calories, 32.14 grams of total fat of which 3.57 grams are saturated fats and 571 mg of sodium. Ranch dressing can be aptly termed as a “fat and calorie bomb” that can be extremely harmful to your pooch’s health in the long run.

Most dogs only require a few hundred calories per day and ranch dressing packs loads of empty calories without offering any health benefits. And, giving your pet ranch or any other condiment on a regular basis can be a key cause for obesity and other obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease, arthritis, liver and kidney problems, etc. And, obesity can reduce your pet’s lifespan by more than a year.

Also, dogs are prone to pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas, which in serious cases can be life threatening. And, if your pet has suffered from pancreatitis earlier on, then you should avoid giving him any ranch dressing at all.

The two key ingredients contained in ranch dressing are onion and garlic, both of which are extremely toxic to dogs. While being extremely flavorful, these two foods contain chemicals that can cause damage to the red blood cells in both dogs and cats. The damaged red blood cells have a reduced capacity to carry oxygen.

This means that every cell suffers from oxygen deprivation in your pet’s body leading to anemia, which in turn causes weak muscles, lack of energy, pale gums, labored breathing, rapid heart rate, collapse and even death.

Consuming onion and garlic can also cause diarrhea, vomiting, allergic reactions, skin problems, discolored urine, asthma and liver failure. Onion and garlic poisoning can take many days to become evident and if your pet has eaten something that he shouldn’t, such as ranch dressing, then it is very important that you remain vigilant and look out for the symptoms.

Ingredients Contained in Ranch Dressing

When you consider the ingredients contained in rand dressing, there is nothing that really benefits your pooch’s health. Most ranch dressings contain the following ingredients:

  • Buttermilk: Buttermilk is generally beneficial for your dog’s health unless he is lactose intolerant. Buttermilk contains probiotics, which aids in the digestion of lactose. However, the buttermilk that is used in ranch dressing is usually enriched with salt, sugar and other flavors and it is better to avoid it for your pet to prevent any health issues.
  • Sour Cream: If your pet is not lactose intolerant, he can eat sour cream without having any problems, However, it is not healthy food that your pooch should eat often. Sour cream has a high-fat content that can affect your dog’s health in the long run.
  • Mustard: Sometimes, Dijon mustard is added to spicy ranch dressing and this usually contains vinegar and spices that can upset your dog’s stomach.
  • Garlic: Garlic is quite healthy for humans; however, it can be toxic for your pet. Your dog will not be able to digest garlic as we do and the chemicals in garlic can cause damage to your pet’s blood cells causing hemolytic anemia.
  • Chives: Chives belong to the same family as onions and garlic, i.e. the allium family. And, eating chives can cause toxicity in your pet just like if he eats garlic.
  • Onion Powder: Just like garlic and chives, onion and onion powder are toxic to dogs. This is because onion contains the compound N-propyl disulfide that causes problems by damaging your pooch’s red blood cells and can cause anemia.
  • Parsley: In very small amounts, parsley can be healthy for your pet. However, parsley furanocoumarin, is a chemical that can be toxic for pooches in higher amounts. According to the ASPCA, parsley has been labeled as being toxic to animals such as cats, dogs and horses.
  • Dill: Dill is a great food for dogs. It is non-toxic and offers several health benefits. In fact, most dogs love the taste of dill, which is why they love dill pickles. And, when given in moderation, dill is healthy and safe for your pet.

What If My Dog Ate Ranch?

If your pet gobbled up some leftover ranch dressing, what should you do? Firstly, you must determine how much ranch your pooch ate. A very small amount of ranch dressing is fine and will not harm your dog’s health. Give him some water and keep a watch.

However, if your pet gobbled a lot of ranch dressing, then it could be a cause of worry. He could suffer from an upset stomach, diarrhea and vomiting. So, it is a good idea to have your pooch checked by your vet immediately.

Can My Dog Eat Ranch Chips (like Cool Ranch Doritos)?

Most of the ingredients that exist in ranch dressing is contained in ranch chips too (for example cool ranch Doritos). And, because all the ingredients are reduced to a powdered form does not mean that it is less toxic to your pooch. Ranch, in any form, be it dressing, homemade or powder on chips should not be eaten by your dog. On their own, chips are unhealthy for your dog and adding ranch to them makes them downright toxic.

Some chip brands already contain toxic ingredients like nacho cheese, etc. And, while a bag of ranch-flavored chips may be a satisfying snack for you, it contains ingredients that are toxic and dangerous for your dog, especially if your pooch ends up wolfing down the entire bag of chips. So, you must be extremely careful where you put any foodstuff when you have a pet at home.

Final Thoughts

So, in conclusion, can dogs eat ranch? Well, in short, the answer is “No”. It’s probably not a very good idea to intentionally feed your pooch ranch dressing. It is loaded with calories and fat that can cause your pet to gain weight and cause obesity-related diseases like diabetes, arthritis and cancer and other diseases such as pancreatitis.

Moreover, ranch dressing contains salt and spices that are harmful and onions and garlic, which are extremely toxic to dogs. So, if you want to give your pooch a delicious treat, make sure that you choose a healthy and nutritious one.