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Can Dogs Eat Ranch? Hidden Ingredients That Can Harm Your Pet!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

ranch dressing with carrots and celery

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Ranch dressing is delicious and an excellent accompaniment for your meals and snacks. If you eat it often, you might have wondered whether it is safe to share some with your furry friend. The answer is no.

Although your pup might enjoy the taste, ranch dressing is unsafe for dogs. That’s because it contains harmful ingredients and additives that could adversely impact your pup’s health.

Below, we explain how the different ingredients can harm your dog. We also tell you what steps you can take if your dog gobbles up some when you’re not looking. Read on to learn more.

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The 8 Reasons Why Is Ranch Bad for Dogs

Ranch dressing offers little value to dogs from a nutritional point of view. All it contains is high calorie, fat, and sodium content. In short, it is unhealthy.

On top of that, it contains garlic and onions, two poisonous ingredients to dogs. Sometimes it also includes additives and flavors that might irritate your dog’s digestive tract.

The ingredients you find in ranch dressing will depend on the brand and flavor you choose. We list some of the most common below and detail their adverse effects on your furry friend.

1. Sour Cream

a cup of sour cream
Image Credit: Nordwing, Pixabay

Like buttermilk, sour cream is a dairy product containing lactose. As such, your lactose-intolerant dog will likely experience stomach upsets after consuming it.

Additionally, sour cream is high in fats and calories. Consuming too much can lead to obesity and other weight-related issues like diabetes.

2. Mayonnaise

mayonnaise with lemons
Image Credit: MariaPolna, PxHere

Mayonnaise is not toxic to dogs. But it offers no nutritional benefits either. Like sour cream, it is also high in fats and calories, and your dog can become obese if it consumes it frequently.

3. Buttermilk

a buttermilk being poured in a clear glass
Image Credit: Mario Raj, Unsplash

Buttermilk is what gives the ranch its thick quality. Although it contains less lactose than regular milk, it makes no difference for a lactose-intolerant dog. Even small amounts are enough to cause stomach upsets.

4. Garlic and Onions

onion and garlic
Image Credit: monicore, Pixabay

Garlic and onions are incredibly toxic to canines, especially in powdered form.

How much onions or garlic a dog can stomach before experiencing adverse effects depends on its size. Still, even small amounts are enough to cause hemolytic anemia—the destruction of the red blood cells.

The danger with allium toxicity is that the effect can take a few days to show, meaning that treatment is delayed.

Signs of allium poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath. Take your canine to the vet immediately if they start exhibiting these symptoms.

5. Mustard

yellow mustard on a white saucer
Image Credit: fuji01, Pixabay

The mustard in ranch dressing is made from ground mustard seeds. The ingredient can be toxic to your dog even when consumed in small amounts. It irritates the lining of the digestive tract, thus leading to stomach pains, vomiting, and diarrhea.

6. Salt

Image Credit: Jumpstory

Salt is not toxic if you offer it in small amounts. However, consuming too much can result in sodium poisoning.

The ranch dressing is high in salt. Therefore, feeding it to your pup in large amounts increases the risk of sodium poisoning. They are luckily not likely to consume enough Ranch to cause the signs of salt toxicity shown below but you should be on the lookout just in case.

Take your furry friend to the vet as soon as possible if you see the following symptoms:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart rate

7. Parsley

Image Credit: guvo59, Pixabay

Feeding your dog parsley in small amounts is unlikely to have any adverse effects. However, high doses can be toxic since the ingredient contains furanocoumarin. Watch for signs of swollen, sore, and red skin.

8. Dill

dill herb
Image Credit: webentwicklerin, Pixabay

Last and least, dill is the safest ingredient in ranch. It is common for dog owners to include it in their pup’s diet. As an antioxidant, it is said to aid digestion, promote strong bones, and assists in diabetes regulation.

With that said, it is advisable to practice moderation. Remember, dill also acts as a diuretic and laxative in other applications. So, please speak to your vet first and don’t overdo it.

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Can Your Dog Have an Allergic Reaction to Ranch?

Yes. Your furry friend can have an allergic reaction to ranch dressing. Ranch dressing contains milk, onions, garlic, and other herbs. Any of these can cause an allergic reaction.

Take your pup to the vet if you suspect it has an allergic reaction, and ensure you tell them what it ate. The vet will come up with a treatment plan after a proper diagnosis.

When to Contact a Vet

One lick or two of your ranch dip should not raise any concern. Ingesting small amounts is unlikely to harm your dog.

However, you should contact your vet for advice if your furry friend has eaten a fair amount of your ranch dressing. They might ask you to bring the dog in for an examination if it’s too young or old.

If you notice signs of poisoning, take the pup to the vet immediately.

The symptoms include:
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pale gums
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Excessive panting
  • Diarrhea
vet carrying boston terrier dog
Image Credit: Zakharova_Elena, Shutterstock

Healthy Alternatives to Ranch

You don’t have to feed your dog ranch dressing when there are many healthier alternatives. Some fruits and vegetables can act as delicious treats for your pup. They include blueberries, melons, cucumbers, apples, bananas, carrots, and strawberries.

Plain yogurt is another great alternative if you’re going for a texture similar to ranch dressing. Others include mashed bananas, doggy ice cream, and creamy dog treats.

Healthy Diet Tips

It would be best if you fed your dog treats in moderation, whether healthy or not. That’s because your canine requires a balanced diet to remain healthy.

According to the ASPCA, a dog’s diet should have a healthy mix of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, fats, minerals, and water. Any dog food you buy should say so on the label. Watch for the words “complete and balanced nutrition.”

How much you feed your dog is also essential. That often varies depending on the stage of development and type of breed.

Not feeding your best friend enough food can lead to malnutrition. On the other hand, overeating can lead to obesity and its related health issues. It is advisable to consult with your vet if you’re unsure how much to feed the pup.

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So, can your dog eat ranch? No. Although it is delicious, the constituent ingredients can harm your canine. Most likely is an upset stomach but some of them, such as onions and garlic, can be serious when consumed in large amounts.

Therefore, don’t take any risk if you’re eating ranch dressing with Doritos, chips, or seasoning. Ensure you keep the food away from the dog. Remember, consuming a significant amount can earn the canine a trip to the vet.

The next time your pup stares intensely with puppy-dog eyes when you’re enjoying ranch dip, resist the temptation to give in. Feeding the dog healthier alternatives such as fruits and vegetables is recommended.

Featured Image Credit: Brent Hofacker, Shutterstock

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