A few years ago, an internet craze started where dog owners would let your canines lick lemons and then record their crazy reaction. While this provided some great laughs, experts issued warnings about the potential dangers of giving dogs lemons.
Lemon juice has also been used as a negative reinforcement tool when training dogs, but can it be dangerous? There are so many food items that can be harmful to dogs and in this article we are going to how that lemon can affect your canine companion.
Are Lemons Okay for Dogs to Eat?
In one word, yes, but there is a bit more to it than that. Dogs can eat small amounts of lemon; however, even a little bit can cause gastro intestinal distress. This is because citrus fruits contain a substance called psoralens, which can cause all sorts of problems if ingested by your dog. Psoralens is found throughout the entire lemon, with the pith, skin and seeds containing the highest amount.
If you are asking how many lemons your dog would have to ingest to have a serious problem, the answer is it varies. This will depend on the size of your dog, but eating large amounts of lemon can be seriously dangerous for your pet.
Are Lemons Toxic to Dogs?
As we stated above, lemons can be dangerous to dogs, especially in large quantities. The acidic nature of the fruit can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, weakness and diarrhea. If your dog swallows a large piece of lemon peel, it could cause an obstruction in their digestion system. If this happens, you will need to see a vet immediately.
A single slice of lemon may cause vomiting and diarrhea, while larger amounts start to produce more serious symptoms like muscle tremors, inability to walk or stand, and drooling. Some dogs may also develop rashes around the groin area, and significant ingestion may cause liver failure or death if left untreated.
If the symptoms progress beyond an upset stomach, you should seek out veterinary care immediately.
Can Dogs Have Lemon Juice
Just like the flesh and fruit itself, lemon juice can cause an upset stomach. In large quantities it will produce similar symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and even weakness. Lemon juice is also very acidic, so it can disrupt your dog’s natural acid base balance.
If you are wondering if dogs can drink lemonade, the answer is no as well. Lemonade not only has lemon juice in it, but also even higher quantities of sugar. Too much sugar will contribute to potential weight gain and can lead to other health issues.
Are There Any Benefits of Lemons for Dogs?
Unlike fruit like blueberries, blackberries, mango and apples, lemons provide no real benefits for dogs. While there are some good nutrients in lemons that may be beneficial to your dog, the amount of lemons needed would make your canine sick.
Lemon Nutrition Content
- Calories – 29
- Water – 89 %
- Protein – 1.1 g
- Carbs – 9.3 g
- Sugar – 2.5 g
- Fiber – 2.8 g
- Fat – 0.3 g
- Saturated – 0.04 g
- Monounsaturated – 0.01 g
- Polyunsaturated – 0.09 g
- Omega-3 – 0.03 g
- Omega-6 – 0.6 g
Check out this link for more information on lemon nutrition facts.
What About Lemon Essential Oils?
Some internet sources claim that the essential oils found in lemons are good for combatting external parasites or other skin conditions. While there is some credibility to this, applying citrus essential oils to your dog’s skin can be dangerous. Essential oils are highly concentrated and if your dog ingests some citrus essential oil they may develop the following symptoms:
- Muscle tremors
- Low body temperature
- Difficulty walking
- Excessive salivation
- Excessive pawing at mouth or face
Are Other Citrus Fruits Dangerous to Dogs?
Along with lemons, there are a few other citrus fruits that are not good for dogs. They tend to be sour rather than sweet. Limes, just like lemons, have a high concentration of citric acid which is bad for your dog. Giving your dog a grapefruit is not a good idea as well, for similar reasons.
What If My Dog Eats Too Much Lemon?
If you suspect your dog has ingested large quantities of lemon, you need to monitor your dog for any signs of vomiting, diarrhea or nausea. Dogs with nausea will generally lick their lips and have exaggerated swallowing motions. Also watch out for any unusual behaviour or discomfort.
If your dog is showing any symptoms or strange behaviour, take them to your veterinarian for further observation. They will check your dog over and recommend any treatment that may be required.
How Much Fruit Can Dogs Eat?
How much fruit your dog can consume will depend on how large they are and their nutritional needs. A good rule to use is the “10 percent treat rule.” Whether it is fruit or another treat, we recommend that you give your dog no more than 10% of their total calories a day.
Summing Up Can Dogs Eat Lemons
Remember to never feed lemons to your dog. They are toxic to dogs and cause a whole lot of problems. If your dog eats some lemon and you notice any side effects occurring, contact a vet immediately.
A little bit of lemon juice probably won’t hurt your dog however, although it is not recommended. While we wouldn’t do this to our dogs, we have to admit that this video of dogs reacting to lemon juice is kind of funny.