Ranch salad dressing, or simply ranch, is the perfect accompaniment to salad. With an amalgam of herbs, spices, and dairy, this dressing just has all the right tangs to satisfy your taste buds. Drizzle it on your savory foods such as pizza, hamburger, and tacos and you’re good to go.
But what if you left some carrot sticks or whatever food you have with some ranch dressing and your dog got into it? And before you knew it, he already licked the plate clean! Should you expect the worst and call the vet for some advice? Here’s what we learned about the effect of ranch to canines.
Can Dogs Have Ranch?
Certain websites are claiming that a small amount of ranch dressing is fine for dogs. The reality is yes, a small quantity would not make him ill but a lot of it can cause a trip to the veterinarian. By small quantity, we meant a simple lick of ranch not more than a tablespoon.
Because ranch usually contains onions and garlic, we strongly go against letting your dogt eat some. An “accidental” lick would not hurt your dog but letting your pet eat your ranch leftover is just unacceptable.
What goes with your leftover ranch dressing is one more cause of concern. Let’s say it is a bag of potato chips, which is clearly not recommended for dogs. Your dog might suffer from gastrointestinal upset if he consumed your remaining potato chips with ranch dressing.
The ingredients of a basic ranch dressing are mustard, herbs, spices, buttermilk, salt, garlic, and onion. Are all these stuff safe for your dog? Here’s our evaluation on each of these ingredients:
Mustard – Those who prefer spicy ranch dressing include Dijon mustard to their recipe. Mustard, especially Dijon, should not be given to dogs. This type of mustard contains vinegar and lots of spices that could upset your pet’s stomach. Mustard greens are safe for dogs, but mustard as a condiment may cause them harm.
Herbs – The commonly used herbs for making ranch are parsley, dill, and chives. Most herbs, including parsley and dill are safe for dogs. But chives are among the few herbs that should be avoided to dogs. Chives belong to the same family as onion and garlic, the Allium family, which can affect their red blood cells.
Buttermilk – A far cry from its name, butter milk isn’t really buttered milk. That one you buy from the grocery store is produced by culturing and fermenting milk, which are usually skim and whole. After this process, the milk undergoes flavor enhancement. Manufacturers use salt, sugar, and even stabilizers to the milk. When your pup is lactose intolerant, it is best to avoid any dairy product to prevent health problems.
Salt – A recipe good for around eight servings calls for a quarter teaspoon of salt. While salt contains sodium that is essential for dogs, high amounts of it can be bad for them. Did you know that a ¼ teaspoon of salt is already equivalent to 575 mg of sodium? That amount is five times the recommended amount of sodium for an average-sized dog.
Garlic – According to “The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs,” dogs can be safely given one clove of fresh garlic for every 10-30 pounds of body weight. Anything in excess can already be toxic due to garlic’s allicin content. This compound gives garlic its strong odor and healing properties. However, it can cause sickness in dogs. High doses of garlic can cause stomach and esophagus ulceration. This, in turn, could result to bleeding if left untreated.
Onion – The American Kennel Club strongly goes against feeding dogs with foods containing onion. This is due to the fact that onions have N-propyl disulfide, a compound that is responsible for canine anemia. Your pet’s red blood cells may undergo a breakdown after consuming onions. A dog weighing 20 kilograms could experience onion toxicity by ingesting 100 grams of onion, equivalent to a medium-sized of it.
Is Ranch Dressing Healthy?
A tablespoon of ranch dressing has around 73 calories, 122 mg of sodium, 5 mg of cholesterol, 1.2 grams of saturated fat, and 1 gram carbohydrates. If you have noticed, the sodium content for a tablespoon of ranch dressing is quite high.
If you are going to use it for your own consumption, that amount of sodium is still acceptable. After all, you don’t really need a lot of ranch dressing. A packet of ranch dressing has around 244 mg of sodium. We are allowed to consume around 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
But be careful with the numbers. Not all ranch dressings are created equal. There are certain brands of ranch that have more sodium than the others. American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Sarah Krieger told The Washington Post that those labeled as fat-reduced are packed with sodium.
Dogs need sodium to maintain the proper nerve and muscle cell function not just in humans but also in canines. However, dogs no not need much sodium in their diet. A dog weighing 33 pounds should not have more than 100 mg of sodium a day. If your dog accidentally consumed even a tablespoon of ranch, he already consumed more than the recommended amount of sodium per day.
In the book “New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats,” holistic veterinarian Junia Borden Childs, DVM, emphasized that too much sodium is not good for pets with heart disease. Veterinarians usually rule out salt from dogs with chronic heart disease
As much as possible, do not let your dog consume leftover ranch dressing. Even if the dog ate a low-sodium or unsalted ranch dressing, it still has onion and garlic that could harm your pet. Keep your condiments in a place out of your dog’s reach. Also make sure he does not have access to the trash where he could lick leftover ranch.