Whether it’s Super Bowl season or not, ranch dips and their variations are some of the most beloved condiments on the market. This condiment/dressing is unmistakably an undisputed hit for almost everyone. But can we share this popular condiment with our dogs?
You might consider ranch dip a harmless treat for your dog because it is safe for human consumption. However, not all human food is safe for canine consumption. Experts recommend checking the nutritional content of commercially-bought food before giving anything to your pup.
We’ve done the heavy lifting and researched if dogs can eat ranch dip occasionally. Let’s find out the ingredients, side effects, health implications, and whether dogs can eat this creamy and savory dip.
What Is Ranch Dressing Made Of?
Ranch dressing, or ranch dip, is a very accessible condiment that can go with almost anything, fried or fresh. Due to its creamy and savory profile, you can pair it with delicious snacks or crunchy fresh food. Unfortunately, some of the ingredients that make it taste great for us humans are outright poisonous or pose a long-term danger to dogs.
Mayonnaise is a creamy and tangy mixture of emulsified egg, oil, acidic content, and sometimes, a bit of spice for flavorings. These products are easy to consume because of their fluffiness and easily spreadable consistency. Consuming an absurd amount of mayo is easy if you’re not watching your intake.
Although mayo is not inherently toxic to dogs, it has high fat that can cause stomach upsets and obesity. The added spices are another story: garlic and onion are toxic food items and should not be anywhere in your dog’s diet.
In addition, the mayonnaise used in ranch products contains calcium disodium EDTA, usually used on food to preserve flavor. Calcium disodium EDTA is also a chelating agent used on detergents as a binding material to keep its “bar” shape.
Like mayo, sour cream is not inherently toxic to dogs. However, this product should be avoided regularly in your dog’s food bowl because it is rich in fat, artificial sweeteners (xylitol), and dairy. All these ingredients are bad news, especially the xylitol (if the product uses it as the primary sweetener for sour cream).
You should also confirm if your dog is lactose intolerant or is already at a dangerous BMI level. High-fat food would only worsen a dog’s obesity, which can turn into a myriad of chronic diseases such as diabetes, sore joints, heart complications, and pancreatitis.
When given alone and in moderation, buttermilk isn’t that bad for dogs. This product is an adequate replacement for high-lactose milk due to its significantly lower amount of lactose, which minimizes side effects. Buttermilk is also an excellent source of probiotics for gut health.
But just like its lactose counterpart, buttermilk has a considerable amount of fat, which is dangerous if your dog is already having difficulty maintaining weight.
Salt is not toxic to dogs in small amounts. It helps in maintaining excellent muscle and nerve functions. But too much salt is also not ideal for your furbaby’s health.
Unfortunately, sodium poisoning is widespread, and these accidents are often caused by overfeeding condiments like soy sauce and ranch. Sodium poisoning is why famously salty snacks such as Takis and saltine crackers are a big “no-no” as a dog snack alternative.
30g of ranch dressing has 270mg of salt. The maximum daily allotment for salt for a normal-sized domesticated dog is 200mg. For scale, 30g is about two tablespoons of ranch dip. Feeding your dog more than the recommended daily might induce side effects of sodium poisoning.
Ranch dressing contains tons of spices and everything that delights the human palette. These spices generally added to all ranch variants are usually garlic, chives, and onion powder. Unfortunately, human-loved herbs are not as great for canine’s health.
Spices don’t give your dogs super strength, colorful energy trails, and flight powers like certain girls in a fiction show. Instead, these spices damage red blood cells and might cause hemolytic anemia and methemoglobinemia.
Garlic and other spices related to the allium family (onions, scallions, shallots, leeks, and chives) have thiosulfate that causes oxidative damage to the red blood cells. Hence, this damage causes all the things mentioned above.
Be careful with the powdered spices that may come with ranch and other savory products because these are more concentrated and more potent than their raw counterparts.
Related: What Spices Can Dogs Eat?
Small bites of parsley (the curly one) are non-toxic to canines in small amounts. In fact, parsley can improve their breath and immunity. It is also known for high fiber and diuretic properties which can assist in alleviating troubled digestive movements.
Avoid giving the flat-leafed parsley to your dog because it has a critically high level of furanocoumarins. This toxin can cause blindness, kidney problems, and pregnancy complications.
You can’t confirm what kind of parsley is used in products like ranch dressing. Hence, it’s a safer bet to ultimately avoid feeding your dog this food.
Unlike the other ingredients listed above, dill is safe for use as an occasional garnish. This aromatic herb can enrich a bland routine meal while giving antioxidants and nutrients that improve digestion and heart health.
Dill is perfectly fine in large amounts. Just remember that unmoderated consumption can cause terrible symptoms for your dog. Try sprinkling dills on your dog’s next meal to know if it’s something they’ll enjoy.
What Are Ranch Side Effects To Dogs?
Consuming ranch dip way past the recommended sodium level for dogs harms their health in the short and long term. Symptoms might vary based on your dog’s health, existing conditions, and even the owner’s efforts in regulating their dog’s diet. Here are some of the side effects and risks of eating ranch dressing.
1. Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance develops when dogs transition to adulthood, and the amount of lactase in their body decreases. Lactose from lactating female dogs is also naturally low at 3% (cows have 5%). These factors explain why most dogs cannot eat milk without getting sick.
Giving ranch dip to a lactose-intolerant dog can induce toilet accidents, abdominal pain, dehydration, thirst, lethargy, and weakness in general. This factor is the most common side effect that will likely occur if your furbaby accidentally consumes ranch.
And even if your dog is not lactose intolerant, there are two other factors you might want to look out for below before giving your pup a snack covered in ranch dip.
2. Obesity And Heart Complications
Fatty and fat-enriched food cause long-term health conditions that primarily affect the heart and body weight. Ranch dressing contains high saturated fat, increasing cholesterol levels and heart disease risk. Due to the above, ranch dressing is not ideal for frequent feedings.
3. Sodium And Spice Poisoning
Salt and powdered/diced spices make the ranch dressing a savory wonder and an iconic condiment. But these same ingredients rank high in the “Bad for Dogs” list due to their toxicity levels. These ingredients can still cause harmful side effects even in just small amounts.
What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Ranch Dressing?
In most cases, a small amount will only likely cause stomach distress in which the severity depends on the pet’s lactose reaction and food allergy. You might have to deal with your dog’s nasty gas problems for a bit if there are no known pre-existing conditions.
Larger dogs tend to experience minimal distress and other adverse effects due to size. Exercise more caution if your fur companion is smaller in size and weight.
Monitor your dog to see if behavioral changes or visible distress would manifest within 24 hours. Make sure that your dog always has access to fresh water.
Call your vet or the nearest veterinary hospital if symptoms such as vomiting, dehydration, lethargy, and seizures start to appear. Avoid feeding dairy products or salty food to prevent further disruption of their gastrointestinal tract.
Can My Dog Eat Other Dips/Condiments?
Other condiments typically contain a high level of sodium and other spices that might not be healthy for dogs due to their lower tolerance to salt. Here are some common condiments that harm dogs and should be avoided at all costs.
Dogs will lick any spilled food that comes their way, especially those with a strong scent like ketchup. Ketchup is primarily made with processed tomatoes with several spices, usually harmless to dogs in small quantities.
What makes the condiment dangerous to dogs is its xylitol content, which can cause low blood sugar even in small amounts. Check the label before buying a ketchup brand to avoid accidental xylitol consumption.
Мustard seeds can cause gastroenteritis in dogs, which is characterized by drooling, stomach upset, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. Even the smallest amount of mustard will likely get your dog sick. Avoid giving any type of mustard, both the homemade kind and the supermarket-bought version.
Avocado has a toxic called persin, which is considered a “mild toxin” to dogs. Its high content would also likely cause stomach upset if taken regularly. A small amount will not likely make your dog sick, but big amounts will likely mess up their GI tract for a while.
However, adding some spices such as parsley, cilantro, onions, and garlic to avocado is another story. As mentioned above, these spices are toxic and are also why ranch dressing is a no-no to your dog’s diet.
Related: Is Guacamole Bad for Dogs?
Salsa pretty much contains the majority of toxic ingredients used in ranch dressing and guacamole. Owners should avoid feeding salsa to dogs just for the reasons mentioned above. Although it is a natural dip, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy for canines.
If you’re not convinced yet, salsa also contains dried red chilies containing capsaicin. This active component can disrupt the GI tract. In short, spicy food and a dog’s diet are not a match made in heaven.
Soy sauce is one of the most accessible condiments in the world. Unfortunately, it is also a top-tier source of sodium. And unlike the other products listed above, soy sauce is in liquid form and is easier to ingest. This means that sodium poisoning has a high likelihood of happening. Immediately clean up any soy sauce spills to prevent accidental ingestion.
There is no doubt that ranch can go with almost any food you can imagine. Unfortunately, your dog’s diet is not one of the options. Although a bit of anything usually won’t hurt your dog’s health, it is better to be safe by only giving a dog-friendly healthy diet to your beloved furbabies.