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Can dogs eat lemon? The truth about lemons and dogs

Can dogs eat lemon? The truth about lemons and dogs

Giving your dog a slice of lemon - is it a funny prank or animal cruelty? A 2018 YouTube compilation features Dogs vs. Lemons for nearly 12 minutes and has over 600,000 views, and there are many more if you do a quick search. Some people find it funny to see dogs making faces or slapping away the lemon when the sour taste hits their taste buds, but should it be laughed at? Is this a harmless prank or a cruel punishment? Can dogs eat lemon? The answer is a bit more complicated.

Can dogs eat lemons? Are they suitable for dogs?


The short answer is. No, they are not good for dogs. Lemons have no nutritional value and the acidic juice can cause problems for your four-legged friend. Additionally, the essential oils and psoralens in lemon can be toxic to your pet if consumed in large quantities. You should also not share other citrus fruits such as grapefruits and limes with your dog. The only exception to this rule is oranges, which can be divided in moderation. They contain both citric acid and a lot of sugar, which can lead to obesity. You should also make sure that your dog only eats the fruit and not the peel.

Even if you don't feed your four-legged friend lemons, they are a common household item. You should discourage your dog from stealing lemons from the counter or even directly from the tree if you live in an area where lemons are grown. Suppose you notice that your dog is drawn to lemons because they are plump and yellow (similar to a tennis ball). In this case, you need to make sure your dog understands the “let her lie” command. If that's not the case, you should refresh it. When your dog puts the lemon in his mouth, encourage him to drop it and reward him when he does. You don't want your four-legged friend to think of the lemon as a toy.

Other things to keep away from your dog include lemon essential oils and lemon-scented household cleaners. Even though they are made from natural ingredients, these products can make your dog sick. Essential oils are highly concentrated - and that's why lemon essential oil can make your dog more nauseous than plain lemon juice. Lemon cleaners can be natural or synthetic. Read labels and heed all warnings, but you should keep them away from your pet.

Risks associated with consuming lemons

Lemon, sliced

Too much lemon juice can irritate your dog's stomach due to the high citric acid content. This can cause your four-legged friend to vomit or have diarrhea. You also need to watch out for the risk of choking or intestinal blockage. Lemon seeds can pose a choking hazard, and if your pet swallows too much of the peel, it can cause an intestinal blockage.

Some people use lemon juice as a deterrent for puppies to stop them from chewing on things they shouldn't chew on, or as a punishment for "naughtiness." This can do more harm than good because the citric acid in lemon juice can make your four-legged friend sick. Not only does this not help change the behavior, but it also results in a lot of cleaning work for you. If you want to stop your puppy from chewing on the couch or favorite shoe, try distracting him with a chew toy or a bone when you see him heading towards it. Keep shoes, clothing, handbags, and other valuable possessions away from young puppies or dogs that might mistake them for fun toys.

If your dog has eaten a lot of lemons, contact your veterinarian or animal poison service. They will tell you what you need to do and whether your four-legged friend should be examined. For most dogs, just a small amount of lemon is enough to send them to the vet.

Health Concerns About Lemons for Dogs

Can dogs eat lemon? As we mentioned, it's unlikely that your dog will try to eat lemons. Their response to bitter tastes is an evolutionary development that reduces the risk of them consuming toxic foods. But if your dog does get hold of a lemon and eats a large amount of it, here's what you should know.

Lemons are rich in essential oils and plant compounds known as psoralens. These can be poisonous if consumed in large quantities. They are found in the peel of the lemon, not in the fruit. So if your dog licks up a bit of lemon juice, there's no need to worry. However, large amounts of lemon juice can be harmful because it contains high levels of citric acid. Dogs are sensitive to it and can get an upset stomach. However, if your dog eats lemon peel or peel, you should monitor him for signs of poisoning or call your veterinarian. These substances are difficult for dogs to digest, so your four-legged friend can quickly become ill. Mild poisoning from citrus fruits manifests itself in the form of gastrointestinal complaints such as diarrhea and vomiting.

In severe cases, your dog may suffer from the following symptoms:

  • Poor blood circulation in the limbs
  • lethargy
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Drooling
  • Skin irritation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Panting
  • The fur stands on end
  • Difficulty standing or walking
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Tremble
  • collapse
  • Death
Although these symptoms are frightening and should be discussed with an emergency veterinarian immediately, remember that they are unlikely to occur. It's not without reason that dogs dislike citrus fruits and rarely try to eat them, especially not in large quantities.
However, if your dog eats more than a small amount of lemon, you should do the following:
  • Wash his mouth out
  • Contact your veterinarian
  • Induce vomiting as directed by your veterinarian

Why do dogs react so violently to lemons?

Like us, dogs can detect both bitter and sour tastes. While some dogs don't mind the sour taste, bitter flavors are unpleasant. That's why some people use a bitter spray (usually made from apple cider vinegar) to discourage puppies from chewing.

Avoid sharing lemonade or other sweetened lemon products with your dog. The taste may be more pleasant, but it still contains a lot of citric acid. Plus, sugar adds calories; Your four-legged friend doesn't need these empty calories because they can pile on the pounds. Artificial sweeteners, especially xylitol, should also be avoided as they are toxic to dogs.

Signs that your dog has gotten his paws on lemons


As mentioned above, accidentally biting into a lemon - or any other citrus fruit - isn't enough to make your dog sick. However, if your four-legged friend gets his paws on a whole lemon, that can be a problem. If you notice that a few citrus fruits are missing, it might be time to check on your pup and make sure he hasn't swallowed all the lemons. If you suspect he may have done it, first look for signs of irregular digestion, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and other behaviors like incontinence.

Your four-legged friend may also have skin problems such as dermatitis, rashes, and general irritation. They may also suffer from depression, unusual sensitivity to light, and other neurological symptoms. This can only occur after a large amount of lemon per dog's body weight.

The Science Behind Lemon Toxicity

While lemon toxicity isn't quite as severe as other human foods, even a tiny amount of it can cause serious problems in your dog. But what is it about lemons that can cause such problems for your dog? The real problem lies in a substance found in most citrus fruits called psoralen. Psoralens are found in most parts of the lemon, but are most concentrated in the peel and seeds of the lemon. Dogs snacking on lemons growing on trees outside are at high risk.

Lemon juice - without the peel - is still dangerous as the high acid content can significantly disrupt your four-legged friend's digestive system. Various Internet sources extol the benefits of lemon essential oils in combating external parasites. However, it is important to note that essential oils are simply concentrated lemons. Because psoralens are highly concentrated, they are never safe for your dog to swallow.

Teach your dog to stay away from lemons

As great as dogs are, they are also incredibly curious, which can often get them into trouble. If your four-legged friend happens to be curious about lemons, it can spell a lot of trouble. Lemons and other citrus fruits are toxic to dogs and can be incredibly dangerous if eaten in large quantities. While we hope you don't feed your dog lemons, his curiosity might lead him to the lemon trees. That's why you need to train your dog to stay away from lemons.

A good place to start is to make sure your dog can follow basic obedience commands. A firm “no” or “stay” can go a long way, especially if your dog runs head first toward the bowl of lemons you have on the counter. It is also important that you teach your four-legged friend to only stay where he is allowed to. If your neighbors have a lemon tree or one is in your yard, it's important to train your puppy to stay away from it. Make sure you are outside when your dog is outside so you can keep an eye on him. Teach him to avoid certain areas.


Can dogs eat lemon? In summary, it is not recommended for dogs to eat or lick lemons. Lemons contain citric acid, which can attack dogs' tooth enamel and cause digestive problems. Your dog knows this and is therefore less likely to reach for a lemon to eat or lick it. If it happens that your dog gets a lemon in its paws and you don't know how much he ate, then if in doubt you should contact a veterinarian. In principle, you can always find out about a healthy and balanced diet for your dog from your veterinarian.