After a rough day at work, a glass of lemonade makes everything so much better! But what if your pup had a bad day? Can a bowl of cool lemonade help them? Can dogs eat lemons?

Well, not everything that is edible should be eaten. Lemons are one of those fruits. They are harmful to dogs, especially if eaten in large quantities. 

In this article, we will discuss how lemon affects dogs and why you can or cannot feed lemons to your dog.

What’s Wrong With Lemons?

The answer to this question is nothing. Nothing is wrong with lemons… until YOU are the one eating it. But when it comes to your dog, first and foremost, dogs will most likely not even like the taste of this highly citrus fruit. 

And secondly, excessive citric acid can easily cause health risks such as acidity and chemical imbalance. Moreover, lemon provides absolutely no nutritional benefits to dogs. 

Now, let us discuss what can go wrong if dogs eat lemons.

Health Risks of Feeding Lemons to Dogs

Is it really a surprise that tangy foods are not a dog’s favorite? Well, fresh lemons are something that dogs should avoid as they come with health risks for dogs:

1. Citric acid 

Citric acid is common in fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, etc. These certain fruits contain excessive amounts of citric acid. While humans can process this acid and even need it in their balanced diet, doggy tummies are not the same (article).

If your pup ingests even a tiny bit of lemon or any citrus fruit, they can have digestive issues, and large quantities that can cause serious health risks such as central nervous depression. Symptoms of the latter may include loss of coordination, dizziness, etc.

2. Linalool

This citric oil gives limes and lemons their unique, refreshing smell, but it is scary for your pupper’s consumption. Both the leaves and fruits of limes and lemons contain this oil. Linalool is known to metabolize in the stomach and cause severe problems such as lime poisoning and even liver failure. Besides, they’re only used as insecticide for animals (study).

3. Limonene

All citrus fruits, including lemons, produce limonene, another citrus oil that offers these fruits their aroma. Limonene is as toxic as linalool and can cause similar health risks, such as liver damage, poisoning, and liver failure. 

It is essential to remember that both limonene and linalool contain insecticidal properties and can cause skin and digestive issues. 

4. Psoralen

Psoralen is a plant compound in citrus fruits, including lemon and lime trees, that may cause phototoxicity or photosensitivity in dogs. The symptoms of psoralen poisoning include skin and eye sensitivity to sunlight. Also, psoralen is a great reason behind gastric obstruction. 

5. Dental erosion

Citric acid can erode your pup’s teeth enamel when consumed in large quantities. If too much tooth enamel is worn down, it can progressively lose the tooth’s surface, which requires complex dental procedures to fix and can also be extremely painful. 

6. Allergic reactions

Like most foods, lemons have a high chance of causing allergic reactions. All dogs are unique so allergic reactions can happen from different foods. 

Signs That Your Dog Has Consumed Lemons

So, now that you know lemon is very unsuitable for your fur companion, we recommend maintaining a 2-mile distance between your dog and lemons. 

But doggos are curious and opportunistic! You look away for 2 minutes, and they might commit war crimes. So, they might consume some lemon without you even noticing, which is why you should look out for sure signs:

  • Dermatitis
  • Muscle tremors
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Panting

If you notice any such symptoms, rush them to the emergency clinic immediately. And take important measures to keep the lemons out of their reach in the first place.

a dog with his face in between lemons

Can Dogs Eat Lemon Products?

Most lemon products in your nearby grocery stores do not taste that sour, but rather sweet even. But these products still most likely contain ingredients and components that can be poisonous to dogs. These ingredients can be:

1. Lemon juice

Lemon juice in its concentrated form can be very harmful to your pupper as it contains similar ingredients as lemons. Even sometimes has a higher amount of citric acid.

2. Lemon essential oils

Lemon products contain citrus essential oils such as linalool and limonene, which provide these products with their unique scent. As discussed above, these oils can cause digestive upset, central nervous system depression, and even liver failure.

3. Xylitol poisoning

Some artificial lemon products contain artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, which is highly dangerous to dogs. Xylitol drastically lowers blood sugar levels in dogs, leading to severe issues such as seizures, staggering, weaknesses, collapse, etc.(article). 

4. Excessive sugar

Lemon products in stores are usually sweetened with excessive sugar, which is quite dangerous for dogs. Overconsumption of sugar can lead to problems such as tooth decay, gastrointestinal upset, and obesity in the long run (article). 

What Alternatives to Lemons Are There?

What can you even go for if you cannot feed your pup some lemons? Are there any ways to improve your furry friend’s day on a hot summer afternoon?

1. Make them fruity frozen treats

Who doesn’t love a popsicle in summer? And a fruity frozen treat in summer will instantly make your pup super happy. Just mix dog-safe fruits such as apples, bananas, and kiwis, fill them in a fancy ice tray with coconut water, and then freeze them overnight. 

It will make a great snack for your pup after a rough play session.

2. Delicious natural fruit juices

Fresh fruit juices are always the best! And when they are free of sugar or any chemical preservatives, it is even healthier for your pup. So, feeding your pooch fruit juices made from organic, fresh fruit is always better.

Final Thoughts

Aww, shucks! You cannot share your favorite lemonade with your dog! Lemons are dangerous for your doggo and should be avoided at all costs. 

Also, no matter what you feed your pup, you should always consult a veterinary professional beforehand. Your dog might have allergies and existing conditions that can be messed up if you feed them any food. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are lemon seeds toxic to dogs?

One or two lemon seeds may not cause any trouble to your dog. However, due to the presence of psoralen in lemon seeds, dogs can suffer from issues such as photosensitivity and phototoxicity when consumed large quantities.

Can I put lemon juice on my dog for fleas?

Lemon juice is a great remedy for fleas. You can use it as a lemon spray by mixing it with a bit of water and spraying it in flea infested areas on your dog’s body. But make sure they do not ingest it.

Do dogs like the taste of lemon juice?

Lemon juice is highly sour. There are higher chances of your pet not finding the taste not palatable. But, it is worth mentioning that, all dogs are different, so they may also like the taste. Either way, you should not carelessly leave lemon juice in front of your dog, as they might take a sip out of curiosity.

What happens if a dog eats a small piece of lime?

Always consult your veterinarian first. Ask them what measures would be best at the moment. Also, look out for any symptoms such as excessive thirst, drooling or lack of coordination. Keep their water bowls full. Even if they do not show any signs for the first few hours, you should still monitor them.

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