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Can Cats Eat Ranch Dressing? Facts & FAQ


Jun 27, 2023
ranch dressing with carrots and celery


ranch dressing with carrots and celery

Ranch dressing is a popular treat for humans and is a common ingredient in much of our cooking. Sometimes our cats may acquire access to some of our leftovers and steal a few licks.

If that occurs, you probably won’t need to worry too much. However, it should never become a regular treat.

Can Cats Eat Ranch Dressing?

No, cats cannot eat ranch, but a few licks won’t cause them to get sick as long as it isn’t a daily treat. Typical ranch dressing recipes include onion, garlic, and chives which are all toxic for cats.

All cats are lactose intolerant, so regular intake of any type of dairy product will have toxic and life-threatening effects on them.

What is Ranch Dressing?

Ranch dressing is American in origin and typically starts with an oil emulsion as a base. The most common ingredient is mayonnaise, but alternative bases may include sour cream or yogurt.

Also, ranch dressing typically contains buttermilk, salt, garlic, onion, mustard, herbs (usually chives, parsley, and dill), and spices (usually pepper, paprika, and ground mustard seed).

What Happens If a Cat Eats Ranch Dressing?

Ranch dressing has several adverse effects on cats, stemming from what is in a typical ranch dressing recipe.

Cats that consume ranch dressing will primarily suffer due to the effects caused by the onions, garlic, chives, and lactose from the dairy.

homemade ranch dressing in a big glass bowl

Is Ranch Bad For Cats?

Ranch dressing is toxic for cats. Ranch dressing contains onions, garlic, and chives, which all fall under the food category of alliums.

Alliums are toxic for cats. Any level of consumption of Alliums will result in long-term damage to the health of your cat.

Why Are Onions, Garlic, and Chives Toxic to Cats?

Onions, garlic, and chives all fall under the category of Alliums. Alliums cause a cat’s heart muscles to relax and blood vessels to dilate, which causes circulatory problems and low blood pressure in cats.

The result of this state is weakness and further impediment of the delivery of oxygen to vital organs. Furthermore, chemicals derived from these plants can diminish the ability of the blood to clot. The worst-case scenario to all of these symptoms is death.

Why Are All Cats Lactose Intolerant?

All mammals are lactose intolerant, which includes humans. Only 35% of humans can actually digest milk without any problems. That 35% is almost all descended from Europeans who first began to create milk-based products thousands of years ago.

It is still a mystery as to how exactly so many humans developed lactose tolerance. However, it is likely due to evolution caused by consuming milk and cheese for thousands of years, despite the intolerance.

On the other hand, cats have not forced themselves to consume dairy products for thousands of years. Therefore, like all other mammals, they are lactose intolerant, which means that they, like lactose intolerant humans, will deal with digestive issues if they consume dairy.

These issues include discomfort, gas build-up, and bloating. Though not necessarily lethal, this is not healthy for your cat.

Can Cats Eat Ranch Tuna?

No, they cannot. Even though the ranch may be diluted in the tuna, it still contains ranch dressing, and it will still be toxic for your cat.

A cat can consume tune by itself as it is a healthy treat for cats as long as it is given to them in moderation.

What You Can Give Them Instead

Are there tasty alternatives to ranch dressing for cat treats? The following are safe and delicious foods that you can give to your cat.


When prepared properly, minnows are a great treat for cats. There are many options available specifically for cats. They are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which promote brain and heart health.


cat eating cooked chicken
Image Credit: Forewer, Shutterstock

Being carnivores, chicken is always a great choice for cats. You can find pre-prepared chicken treats for cats at your local pet store, or you can prepare your own.

Don’t add anything to it, and your cat will love it. Chicken is great for a strong heart, good vision, and a healthy reproductive system.


Turkey is already a primary ingredient in many cat foods. It is lean meat and is very high in protein. Like with chicken, you can feel free to prepare some for your cat yourself.

Make sure to remove the skin, as it is an unhealthy fat, and cook it without seasoning. It will help make your cat happy while keeping them strong and healthy, as well.


Duck is another bird, like turkey and chicken. That means it is lean meat. Lean meat is the best for your little predator. You can find some treats at the store, or you can prepare some on your own.

Remember to cook it without seasoning and to remove the skin. It will improve the overall health of your cat, as well.


This treat is best kept in moderation, but it is still a great option to spoil your cat with. Tuna is often used in cat food already, and who hasn’t seen their cat perk up when you open a can.

A bit of canned tuna or even some slices of tuna steak would please your cat. Tuna is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, which makes a great occasional treat for your cat.


Image Credit: PakulinSergei, Shutterstock

Salmon is one of the best fish options for cats because it is a high-quality protein and high in omega fatty acids, which are essential for your cat’s skin and coat. It is also sometimes found as an ingredient in cat food.

You can prepare it yourself or find pre-prepared treats at the pet store. If you prepare it yourself, make sure not to add any seasoning.


Cranberries need to be given sparingly to cats as their high sugar content isn’t good for them, and cats are carnivores, so it isn’t part of their natural diet.

That being said, cranberries can be a sweet treat to spoil your cat with. But like with any sweet treat, only offer it in moderation.

Featured Image Credit: Brent Hofacker, Shutterstock

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