Can Dogs Have Ranch?
Americans love condiments. Ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, guacamole, thousand island, mayonnaise, sriracha… the list goes on. One of our favorite condiments, however, is ranch dressing. Whether we are pouring it on salad, using it as a dip for carrot sticks and pizza slices, or even cooking with it, we pretty much universally love ranch dressing. So, since we love this creamy condiment so much, we are often tempted to treat our dogs to a taste.
We know ranch dressing isn’t the healthiest thing in the world, sure, but is it even safe for our precious pooch? Can you give your dog ranch?
The answer is no, dogs should not eat ranch dressing. Some dogs may not suffer any obvious harm from eating small quantities of this food product, but it contains several ingredients that are potentially poisonous to our pups. Even without the risk of toxicity, ranch dressing is bad news—it is usually high in fat, calories, and even sugar. Don’t panic if your dog licked a bit of spilled salad dressing off the kitchen floor, but avoid giving them a drizzle of ranch intentionally. There are much safer treat options out there. If you’re looking to give your dog a treat, opt for foods like apples, bananas, carrots, and other pet-friendly produce. These foods are safe, less likely to contribute to weight problems, and may even benefit your dog’s health in moderation.
It should come as no surprise that there are no health benefits to giving your dog ranch dressing. Though we often associate this condiment with healthy foods such as salads, carrots, and celery sticks, ranch itself offers no real nutrition to us or to our pets. Ranch dressing is lacking in almost every important vitamin and mineral. Considering its high calorie content, it’s a pretty pitiful source of protein, too.
A single tablespoon of ranch dressing packs in over 70 calories, 8 grams of fat, and less than half a gram of protein. Many people manage to work this food into their diet without suffering negative consequences, but ranch is a fat-and-calorie-bomb that can seriously hurt your dog’s health in the long term.
The calories alone are enough to sabotage any efforts to stay healthy—most dogs only need a few hundred calories per day, and ranch packs in a lot of energy without keeping them satiated. If you start giving Fido ranch (or any caloric condiment) on a regular basis, don’t be surprised if they begin to grow rounder by the day. Feeding our pets nutritionally empty, calorically dense foods is a major cause of obesity and obesity-related diseases.
It’s all too easy for junk food to lead to canine obesity. Over half of American dogs are obese! We love even the fattest of dogs, but unfortunately, their weight takes a toll on their health. Dogs who are carrying too much excess body fat are much more likely to struggle with insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, respiratory problems, kidney and liver failure, and even some types of cancer. Obesity can shorten your dog’s lifespan by over a year.
Even if your dog manages to maintain a healthy weight, feeding them fatty foods on a regular basis can cause problems. Dogs are particularly prone to pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic and mild or severe, but serious cases can be life-threatening. If your dog has had pancreatitis before, avoid giving them any amount of ranch dressing.
Things to Consider
Perhaps the most compelling reason to avoid giving your dog ranch is the fact that it contains two known canine poisons. Garlic and onions, two key ingredients in ranch, are both extremely toxic to dogs. Both of these flavorful foods contain chemicals that damage red blood cells in cats and dogs. These damaged blood cells continue to flow through the body, but they have a reduced ability to carry oxygen, which means that every cell in your dog’s body suffers from oxygen deprivation. Garlic and onions can lead to anemia, which causes pale gums, lack of energy, rapid heartbeat, labored breathing, weak muscles, collapse, and even death.
Consuming these toxic foods can also lead to vomiting, diarrhea, asthma, skin problems, allergic reactions, discolored urine, and liver failure. The effects of garlic and onion poisoning can take several days to manifest, so it is important to stay vigilant if you know your dog has eaten something they should not.
In conclusion, it probably isn’t a good idea to intentionally give your dog ranch dressing. This junk food is loaded with fat and calories that can contribute to weight gain, pancreatitis, and obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. To make matters worse, ranch also contains garlic and onions, which are extremely poisonous to canines. If your dog accidentally consumes a small amount of ranch dressing, monitor them closely to make sure they do not have a negative reaction.