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Lemons Are Sour, But They’re Oh So Healthy, Can Dogs Eat Lemons?

Can Dogs Eat Lemons

Watching the reaction of a dog that’s eating a lemon sure is fun. If you haven’t seen one, try doing a quick search on Google or YouTube. You’ll be amazed to find more than a handful of laugh-inducing dog vs. lemon videos, with some having millions of views.  

Now, these food pranks may look amusing and comical, but the big question is: Can dogs eat lemons? 

Yes, it’s true. Lemons are healthy for humans. But as dog owners, you ought to know by now that many of the foods we consider healthy are harmful (and even dangerous or toxic) to dogs. If you want to know if lemons are one of those foods your pooch should not eat, read on. 

Here, you’ll not only discover if your pet dogs can eat lemons, but you will also know all the pros and cons of feeding lemons to dogs.

And if that isn’t enough, we also included a chockful of interesting stuff related to dogs and lemons. This way, you can end your search for other dog-, food-, and lemon-related blogs or articles.

Juicy, Must-Know Lemon Facts 

These days, foods high in vitamin C like lemons are a must-have in anyone’s pantry. Although no one in their right mind will try to eat lemon as is, its juice, zest, or rind makes a great addition to desserts, pastries, beverages, and meals. 

It’s good that this citrus fruit (which is technically a berry) is available all year round. But did you know that this food was once so rare that kings enjoyed receiving this as a gift? 

Yes, you heard it right. Even miners are willing to pay wads of cash to get their hands on these fruits back in the day. So, consider yourself lucky.

When it comes to health benefits, this round, yellow-colored fruit with its extremely sour taste and somewhat bitter flavor offers heaps of rewards.

One of its many benefits is its anti-bacterial properties. A squeeze of lemon juice in a glass of warm water makes for an excellent home remedy for sore throat.

Apart from that, this Vitamin C rich fruit also provides the following essential vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin B6
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus

What’s Up With Dogs’ Weird Reaction To Lemons?

We just love the aromatic scent that lemons give off. This fruit just emits a sharp yet “clean,” citrusy, fresh fragrance. And because of this, you’ll notice many lemon-scented cleaning products, not to mention lotions and cosmetics.

The lemon fruit’s round shape and smooth, glossy texture will definitely spark the curiosity of your pet dog. However, dogs will find its find citrusy scent too strong and offensive. And this is probably because of the heightened sense of smell of your pet dog.   

Taste-wise, dogs may not mind the lemon’s sour taste, but dogs can never stand its bitter taste. For dogs, any food that tastes bitter is either harmful, dangerous, or poisonous.

That’s why it’s less likely for you to see dogs eating any bitter-tasting food of their own free will (this includes lemons).

Lemons Are Sour, But They’re Oh So Healthy, Can Dogs Eat Lemons? 1

Can Dogs Eat Lemons?

Dogs do not like the taste of lemons, so the chances of your pet dog eating this fruit on its own is low. But, if you feed your dog lemons, your dog would most likely lick it. After all, your dog trusts, respects, and loves you. 

Because of the great admiration your dog has for you, your dog might even eat the lemon (despite its foul taste and smell) just to please you. The question is: Can dogs eat lemons?

The short answer here is NO. Lemon is not suitable for your dog and should not be included in their diet.

Although it is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, fiber, and other minerals, lemons (along with other citrus fruits like lime and grapefruit) are bad for dogs. Eating large amounts of lemons can even be toxic to dogs. 

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3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Feed Your Dog Lemons

While toxic, feeding your dog small amounts of lemon isn’t going to affect your dog severely. So, don’t be too worried about the dogs in the videos.

Apart from the possibility of experiencing an upset stomach or vomiting, the dogs you’ve seen are most likely (hopefully) okay.

Still, it isn’t a good idea to let your dogs eat a bite of lemon if you’re doing it just for fun. As a responsible dog owner, your dog’s health must be your utmost priority.

So, why give your dog something your dog hates and something that has zero nutritional value for them? If, by any chance, you’re still unconvinced, here are a couple more reasons why eating lemons is bad for dogs. 

1. Blockage & Choking Hazard

The lemon peel is tough and hard to digest. So, feeding this to your dog isn’t recommended. If your dog swallows this whole, this could block your pet dog’s airways. Worst comes to worst; it could even get lodged in your dog’s intestinal tract and lead to bowel obstruction.

Bowel obstruction symptoms include weakness, loss of appetite, repetitive vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If your pup shows any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.

2. Upset Stomach & Other Digestive System Problems

Since lemons contain loads of citric acid, large quantities of citric acid in your dog’s digestive system can cause various stomach problems. So, watch out for signs of an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.

3. Poisoning

As mentioned, lemons (the fruit, seeds, skin, and plant itself) are toxic to dogs when consumed in large quantities. As such, it’s best to keep these far from your dog’s reach. 

Lemons Are Sour, But They’re Oh So Healthy, Can Dogs Eat Lemons? 2

More About Lemon Poisoning

Now that you know all the possible side effects of lemon on dogs, you’re probably itching to find out what makes citrus fruits dangerous.

Search no more because we’re here to give all the nitty-gritty details on what makes this seemingly healthy treat poisonous to dogs.

What Makes Lemon Poisonous?

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Citrus fruits (the seeds, pith, and the plant included) contain essential oils like limonene and linalool. Now, these are responsible for lemons’ citrusy aroma that’s hard to miss. 

These essential oils serve as a great fixer-upper when we’re feeling down or stressed. It also helps with heartburn and stomach reflux.

Apart from containing essential oils, which we love having at home, lemons also contain an organic light-sensitive compound called psoralens. Psoralens are used to treat skin diseases like psoriasis and vitiligo.

In the human realm, these compounds offer a lot of nifty benefits. It’s the exact opposite, however, in the dog world. Eating large amounts of these two compounds could bring more harm than good to your pet dogs. In fact, it could even lead to lemon poisoning. 

How Much Is Too Much?

To be honest, it’s hard to tell when your dog has eaten too much. The effects of lemon on each dog vary since this will depend on their weight and sensitivity to food. One dog may experience adverse side effects after having a couple of slices, while others may not.

Symptoms To Watch Out For

So what will happen if your dog eats lemons or if your dogs drink a couple of glasses of lemon juice or lemonade? 

The truth is, it isn’t likely for your dog to eat large amounts of citrus fruits or even drink the lemon juice, given their general distaste for this citric acid-filled fruit. 

Then again, if your dogs eat lemons by any chance, watch out for these signs:

  • Unusual sensitivity to light or photosensitivity
  • Skin irritation (rashes or dermatitis)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Low blood pressure
  • Tremors
  • Loos of coordination

What You Need To Do If Your Dog Eats A Lemon

Closely monitoring your pup is a must if you think it has eaten too much lemon. If your pooch shows any of the above symptoms, then it’s high time for you to contact your veterinarian. Remember that inducing vomiting on your own is not advisable.

If your local veterinarian is out of reach, you can also call ASPCA (Animal Poison Control Center) at (888) 426-4435.

Lemons Are Sour, But They’re Oh So Healthy, Can Dogs Eat Lemons? 3

Can Dogs Drink Lemonade?

Since lemon juice is still lemon, it’s a given that dogs can’t drink lemon juice. But what about giving them a glass of lemonade?

Good question, but giving your dog a cool lemonade is not also advised. Lemonade may not taste as sour, but it still contains a good amount of lemon juice.

And since lemon juice has citric acid, your dog may still get an upset stomach. Plus, the sugar in lemonade is bad for dogs.

As much as possible, you want to limit the sugar intake of your dog since overeating sugar can lead to various health problems.

Alternative Fruits For Dogs

Can dogs eat lemons? The answer is no. Given all the harm it can cause, your dog is better off eating other foods. Good news! There are a lot of healthy fruits you can let your dog eat as a treat.

For starters, if you’re a fan of citrus fruits, your dog can eat a few slices of oranges. Just make sure to keep it at a minimum since treats like this should not exceed 10% of your pet’s daily calorie intake. 

In general, it’s best to pick low in sugar fruits since eating sugar-loaded foods would only bring more harm than good. Here are just a few dog-friendly and dog-approved fruits that you can let your dogs eat:

  • Apples (except the seeds)
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cranberries
  • Mangoes
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries

Final Verdict

Lemons are a no-no for dogs. Small amounts may not hurt them, but still, why give your dog something that they don’t like in the first place.  

As loving fur parents, you’re there to make sure your dogs are safe, sound, and healthy. So, don’t let them down. If you want to treat them from time to time, try giving them the fruits mentioned above. 

Apart from giving your canine friend an occasional treat, what’s more important is to feed them a complete and well-balanced diet.

Bonus Recipes

As we have stated earlier, small amounts of lemon cannot harm your pet. Below are easy treat recipes plus 1 balm recipe which you can use to apply to your dog's paw pads to help with dryness issue. Hope this would be helpful for you.

Lemons Are Sour, But They’re Oh So Healthy, Can Dogs Eat Lemons? 4
Coconut Lemon Dog Treat Recipe

Coconut Lemon Dog Treat Recipe

Amy Tokic
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Cooling Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Servings 20 cookies

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup Flour whole wheat or white
  • 1/2 cup Coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 cup Water

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, add flour and coconut flour and stir together.
  • Add egg and oil to flour and mix.
  • Cut lemon in half. Squeeze juice into the flour mix. Make sure than no seeds fall into the bowl. Stir juice into mixture.
  • Add water to the mixture and stir until a firm dough forms. You may need to use your hands to ensure that all of the dough sticks together.
  • Roll out dough to ¼ inch thickness and cut using cookie cutters. Place on cookie sheets.
  • Place cookie sheets in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let cool on racks for an hour.
  • Store in airtight containers and keep in refrigerator or freezer.
Lemons Are Sour, But They’re Oh So Healthy, Can Dogs Eat Lemons? 5

DIY Lemon Balm

Kathie Lapcevic

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp Carrier oil of choice (see notes)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Beeswax, grated or pellets (organic)
  • 1 tsp Honey (raw, organic)
  • 10 drops Lemon balm essential oil (organic)

Instructions
 

  • In a double boiler, warm the oil, beeswax and honey until the wax is just melted.
  • Remove from heat and add the essential oil.
  • Set the pan in a shallow ice-water bath and with a whisk or spoon stir rapidly for 30-45 seconds until the honey is completely incorporated and the balm looks a bit like a thick frosting.
  • Spoon this balm into a glass storage container and let cool to room temperature before putting the lid on the container. Let sit for 2 hours before using.
  • To use, apply with a clean finger and apply liberally 3-4 times a day.
  • Use the balm within 1 year.

Notes

Lemon or mint essential oils may also be used.
Sweet almond oil is always quite pleasant for lip balms but olive, grapeseed, sunflower, and most any other will also work.
Skip the coconut oil here as its tendency to harden and soften with the temperature make it difficult to judge the exact amount of beeswax needed to keep it a balm and not a melted pool in the container.
LEMON PUPPY CHOW SNACK

Lemon Puppy Chow Snack Mix

Heather (Toasty Kitchen)
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 8
Calories 257 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups Chex cereal
  • 2 tsp Fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup Confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup Melting wafers

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, add cereal. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, microwave melting wafers in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted. Add lemon zest and stir to combine. 
  • Add powdered sugar and gently toss cereal until evenly coated.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and pour cereal mixture into a single layer.
  • Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Notes

  • Lemon zest cannot be substituted with lemon juice.
  • Puppy chow will keep for up to one week in a sealed container at room temperature and will become less crunchy over time.

Is lemon juice harmful to dogs?

The simple answer is no. Lemon juice is just as acidic as lemons, and lemonade is just lemon juice plus sugar.

Can you put lemon in dogs water?

Yes. Dogs can drink lemon water, and if given correctly it can improve your dog's health. Never pour too much lemon juice in your dog's water, as the acidity found in these fruits might be too much for his stomach. However, few dogs like the taste of lemon juice.

Is lemon peel bad for dogs?

Though most dogs will likely not seek out lemons to eat, it's a good idea to keep lemons out of reach from pups that will eat anything. The seeds and peel of a lemon could also pose a choking hazard for some dogs.

What happens if dog eats lemon?

Too much lemon juice can irritate your dog's stomach due to the high levels of citric acid. Your pup may experience vomiting or diarrhea as a result. If your dog has eaten a lot of lemons, contact your vet or animal poison control. They will tell you what you need to do and if your pup should be seen.

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