Can Dogs Eat Lemons?

correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Yes technically your dog can eat lemons. You should be careful with how much lemon juice you feed your dog however because too much lemon juice can be toxic due to its acidity essential oils and psoralens.

In this research you will know the answer to the query “Can Dogs Eat Lemons?“.

Citrus fruits such as lemons always have a sour taste. In general this fruit is not eaten alone due to its strong flavor but instead combined with other spices and herbs in cooking or in desserts and drinks. Is it harmful to dogs to eat lemons or can dogs eat them?

Lemons are not toxic to dogs in very small quantities so if you have been wondering “Can dogs have lemons?” YES dogs can eat lemons technically because they’re not toxic in very small amounts. Due to the acidity of this fruit dogs should only be given a small amount of lemon (or lemon juice itself) if it is extremely acidic. In addition we should ask ourselves whether lemons are even necessary for dogs and if there is any reason to feed a dog a lemon.

Nutritionally lemons are a powerful fruit and have a number of health benefits. However how much can dogs have lemons vary significantly and this research will discuss what happens when a dog eats a lemon whole whether or not lemons are bad for dogs in any instance and whether or not dogs can eat lemons on a regular basis.

What are lemons?

The lemon fruit is a yellow citrus fruit from the lemon tree and the juice from the fruit is frequently used in food and beverages. Its pulp and rind are especially useful for baking and cooking. A lemons distinctive sour taste is also a key ingredient of foods and drinks such as lemon meringue pie and lemonade.

Multiple varieties of lemons are available and they are known for their high levels of Vitamin C. They also have high concentrations of citric acid and phytochemicals. Due to their high acidity lemons are also used for cleaning and aromatherapy purposes making them very effective.

This is what fresh lemons look like:

Apart from making tasty drinks and foods lemons have also been used by people for medicinal and nutritional purposes. There is plenty of research supporting the many benefits of lemons for humans but can dogs consume lemons and reap the same benefits? In any case can dogs have lemons or are lemons bad for dogs? Is there any evidence supporting the use of lemons for dogs? Lets look closer.

Can Dogs Eat Lemons?

In the same way that humans can eat lemons can dogs eat them as well? Yes technically your dog can eat lemons. You should be careful with how much lemon juice you feed your dog however because too much lemon juice can be toxic due to its acidity essential oils and psoralens.

The most significant concern with lemons is their acidic content which can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs including vomiting and diarrhea. However generally a dog must consume lemons in greater quantities to reach this point.

But should you give your dog lemons?

However there havenot been any studies done with canines to show any benefits of giving them lemons. We are not aware of any reasons to give your pets lemons right now even if a small serving is technically okay. Pet owners who have been making videos about their dogs eating lemons have been warned by the UKs animal welfare organization RSPCA. Although their claims are exaggerated since the amount matters their concerns are still valid.

As with other fruits – blueberries and apples for instance – its possible that certain health benefits may apply when feeding lemons to dogs. People and dogs often experience some of the same benefits from fruit so lets look at what studies on lemons show in clinical trials with humans and mice.

  • Lemons support heart health and lower cholesterol 
  • Lemons may prevent kidney stones 
  • Lemons may have anti-cancer properties 
  • Lemons may prevent anemia by improving iron absorption
  • Lemons may help prevent weight gain 

Here are just a few of the health benefits of lemons for humans (and mice) but none of these have been tested on dogs so we are unable to know for sure whether any of these benefits would apply to them. However it is certainly possible.

Can dogs have lemon juice?

Is it safe for dogs to consume lemon juice if lemons are not harmful in small amounts? Lemon juice should not be given to dogs in any amount at all. Citrus juice is a highly acidic concentrate with no benefits for dogs. It may cause stomach upset or other digestive issues in dogs.

Whole lemons contain fiber that helps balance out the natural sugars and acidity. Because of this they are safer to feed to dogs than lemon juice. The bottom line is that lemon juice should not be given to dogs. Similarly lemon water should not be given to dogs.

As such can dogs have lemons (whole) and benefit from them? Even though we do not know for sure we can assume some of these proven benefits found in humans and mice may also apply to dogs. In light of the fact that dogs can consume small amounts of lemons without harm here are some potential benefits that have not yet been proven in any way.

7 Potential Benefits of Lemons for Dogs

1. Lemons may provide relief from arthritis pain in dogs

In the body lemons have an alkalizing effect even though they are acidic. The alkalizing effect reduces inflammation and relieves pain associated with arthritis by balancing pH levels in the body. We have seen this in humans but we’re not sure if this would work in dogs and we have to wait and see.

2. Lemons may help fight and reduce the risk of cancer in dogs

Dogs cells are protected from free radical damage by Vitamin C an antioxidant found in lemons. By adding vitamin C to your diet you may be able to prevent cancer altogether. Free radicals are the first step toward the development of cancer. Flavonol glycosides and limonene are two of the twenty-two antioxidants found in lemons that may help to prevent cancer.

3. Lemons may be used to prevent ear infections in dogs

A dogs ear infection is one of the most common health problems and one of the main reasons for pet owners to visit their veterinarian. Because lemons are acidic a lemon flush in the ears may prevent future ear infections. The trick is especially useful if your dog swims regularly. Nonetheless this must be discussed with a vet and you should never attempt this without their supervision.

4. Lemons assist in the absorption of critical nutrients

Lemons not only have a high concentration of Vitamin C but also Vitamin B3 Vitamin E selenium and potassium. Vitamin C works to help the dogs body absorb nutrients more efficiently therefore allowing normal body functions to take place as a result of all of these vitamins and minerals. This is especially true for iron absorption which was shown to prevent anemia in human studies with lemon consumption.

5. Lemons may help stimulate weight loss in dogs

Lemons are high in pectin fiber which prevents hunger pains. Furthermore studies have found some weight loss associated with alkaline diets. Due to the presence of alkaline in lemons this fruit may be used as a means to help your dog shed some extra pounds as observed in studies with people and mice alike.

6. Lemons may promote strong teeth and bones

Lemons contain a large amount of Vitamin C which is thought to assist a dogs body in absorbing calcium and strengthening teeth and bones. Furthermore a diet high in Vitamin C likely promotes an unfriendly environment for bacteria to grow and thrive (as is the case with cancer) especially in the mouth effectively washing away bacteria and plaque.

7. Lemons may help eradicate dog acne

Certain breeds of puppies and dogs like Dobermans Rottweilers and Boxers can develop acne on their lips or chin. It may be helpful to use lemon and green tea to dab gently on acne to treat it but you need to check with your veterinarian and do this under their supervision.

So can dogs have lemons?

In conclusion while dogs can eat lemons we are not sure if there are any proven benefits associated with feeding this fruit to them. However it is still unclear whether some of the benefits of lemons demonstrated in mice and people can be applied to dogs. If you want to give your dog some lemon slices its totally fine and it should not upset his stomach or cause any other problems. Nonetheless we do not yet know if this fruit is of any benefit to dogs.

3 Side Effects of Lemons for Dogs

Is it possible for dogs to get sick from lemons? When consumed in larger quantities or if a dog has certain health conditions they can be dangerous to dogs. Listed below are some of the possible side effects of feeding dogs lemons.

1. Too many lemons may lead to psoralens toxicity in dogs

The acidic citrus levels in lemons can be too much for some dogs to even taste. However there are other dogs who will eat anything they can get their mouths on no matter how sour or bitter the taste might be. Excessive consumption of citrus may cause psoralen toxicity. In case your dog has consumed too many lemons look for these toxicosis symptoms:

  • Distress in the gastrointestinal tract (vomiting diarrhea)
  • Muscle tremors
  • Excessive drooling
  • Trouble standing or walking
  • Skin rashes in the groin area
  • Liver failure

2. Lemon peels seeds and plants can be very dangerous for dogs

In small amounts the entire lemon fruit is safe for dogs but the peel or skin of the lemon is a severe choking hazard for dogs especially those of small breeds. Easily a large piece of peel can obstruct the digestive system. Dogs can also be poisoned by the lemon plant itself.

Although lemon seeds are not harmful to dogs in terms of their content they can irritate the digestive system of pets with gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome or otherwise be a choking hazard.

3. Lemon juice is not appropriate for dogs

The acidity of lemon juice can cause severe stomach upset including vomiting and diarrhea. Lemon juice must not be given to your dog under any circumstances.

Can Dogs Eat Lemons?

Is it safe for dogs to eat lemons? If you give it a few slices of the whole lemon you can give it in small amounts. In general dogs can eat lemons but it is not encouraged unless it is carefully monitored for amount and even then we must ask the reason why anyone would give a dog lemons.

In any case most dogs would not like the taste of lemons. Its also unclear if there are any benefits to giving lemons to dogs despite studies with mice and people demonstrating them. In general you should not give your dog lemon juice and maybe stick to beneficial fruits (like banana or raspberry) that are good for dogs or any other human foods that have been proven to be healthy for canines.

If you want to read more about dog food tips read here: Dog Food Tips and Tricks.

Can Dogs Eat Lemons? (Watch Video)

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