Dogs will eat practically anything, but that doesn’t make it a healthy choice for them. If your dog has recently consumed a lemon (or lemon bars, cake, or lemonade), you may be concerned about the possibility of a stomachache or diarrhea.
We inquired if lemons were safe for dogs to eat with Dr. Leslie Bass of VCA Algiers Animal Hospital in New Orleans. What to do if your dog eats something it shouldn’t, like citrus, and why dogs shouldn’t eat citrus in the first place.
Are Lemons Safe for Dogs?
Bass warns that pet owners might be surprised to learn that some common foods are toxic to animals. Even though small amounts of lemons aren’t toxic to dogs, you should still keep them out of your pet’s reach. ”
Citric acid in the fruit and psoralen in the rinds are two of the many compounds that make lemons toxic to dogs.
Bass claims that ingesting large amounts of citric acid can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Even more urgently, consuming a lot of lemon rinds at once can cause a blockage in the digestive tract.
Why Do Dogs Have a Strong Reaction to Lemons?
“Dogs do not like bitter taste and will generally have a negative reaction,” says Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS, a nutritionist for Purina.
One can also pick up on a sour flavor, but that isn’t always a bad thing. As a result of associating bitter flavors with poisonous foods, dogs have a better chance of survival.
There is a good reason why modern dogs aren’t fed lemons. The essential oils and a chemical compound found in citrus fruits are toxic to dogs. They can be found in the rind, peel, flesh, and seeds of a lemon.
Can Dogs Have Lemon Juice or Lemon Oil?
Lemon juice and lemon oil share the same toxic compounds found in the fruit. They can cause severe, potentially fatal stomach problems if consumed. A dog’s skin can also become irritated if exposed to lemon juice or oil.
Dogs may become agitated if you diffuse lemon essential oil for aromatherapy or because of its odor. As this video shows, dogs find the scent of citrus to be unpleasant, which is why some sprays designed to curb bad behavior in dogs also have a citrusy scent.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Lemon
Dogs typically avoid citrus fruits like oranges and lemons due to their strong odor. Most often, dogs will accidentally consume a batch of lemon bars or some other food that has lemon juice, oil, or extract in it. The best course of action to take if your furry friend ingests lemon or foods containing lemon is to consult a vet.
“The treatment depends on how much lemon your dog ate and your pet’s general health and weight,” Bass says. In the event that your dog ingests a large quantity of lemons or foods with a strong lemon flavor, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
To prevent toxicity, veterinarians typically advise vomiting. However, time is of the essence. ”
Can Dogs Eat Other Citrus Fruits?
The same reason you wouldn’t want to give your dog a lemon is why you shouldn’t give your dog any other citrus fruits, either. The citric acid and other chemical compounds in citrus fruits can be harmful to your pet’s digestive system and liver.
Apples and bananas are better options for occasional treats because they are more digestible for dogs. Because of the sugar content, dogs should not eat fruit.
So, it’s important to not overdo it with the fruit or the recipient might gain weight. Vegetables are naturally low in sugar, so they are a good choice for frequent snacks. Carrots and broccoli are two examples of dog-friendly vegetables.
In conclusion, there is no need to worry about a trace of lemon. However, there are other, healthier, and more appetizing options that won’t make your dog sick.
So, if you want to enjoy citrus fruits and foods, keep them out of your dog’s reach and opt for a fruit or vegetable that is safe for canines instead.
Are Other Citrus Fruits Bad for Dogs?
However, there are a few other citrus fruits that should be avoided at all costs around your dog. As it happens, most of them have a sour or tart flavor. The citric acid content of limes is similar to that of lemons; therefore, neither should be given to your dog. The grapefruit is another edible that should be kept out of reach.
Are Lemons Bad for Dogs?
To answer your question, canines should not consume lemons. Grapes, plants, and even dog feces are among the many unhealthy things that dogs like to snack on. When consumed in small amounts, lemons might be safe for a dog.
Unfortunately, lemons contain compounds, essential oils, and acids that are harmful to dogs. They have a lot of sugar too.
Lemon Components Toxic to Dogs
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits as well as some berries and lemons contain significant amounts of citric acid. Dogs, unlike humans, are unable to digest citric acid. The digestive tract of your dog can be easily upset by eating even a small amount of these fruits.
Greater doses may cause more severe health problems, such as central nervous depression, in your dog. Drowsiness, confusion, incoordination, and even loss of consciousness are all potential manifestations of central nervous depression.
Citrus fruits, like lemons, produce a terpene called limonene, which is responsible for their signature scent. When ingested, limonene can be fatal for dogs.
When metabolized in the liver, d-limonene’s insecticidal properties can be extremely harmful to a dog.
Consumption of d-limonene can lead to toxicity, poisoning, liver damage, and even liver failure.
There is a chemical called linalool that gives citrus fruits their distinctive floral scent. Like limonene, this terpene is an insecticide that finds widespread application in personal care products like shampoo and body wash.
Ingestion of either the leaves or the lemon fruit itself can be dangerous for your dog because of the high levels of linalool found in both.
Liver damage and failure are just two of the long-term effects of linalool in dogs.
Psoralen is a plant compound that can cause phototoxicity or photosensitivity in dogs. It is found in citrus fruits and trees like lemon and lime. A sensitivity to sunlight is one of the side effects of psoralen, which can affect both the skin and the eyes.
Health Risks For Dogs Who Eat Lemons
Dogs exposed to lemon poisoning may experience a variety of adverse effects.
- Itchy or rashy skin
- Melancholy brought on by nervous breakdown
- Unable to coordinate
- excessive saliva production
- Ischemic heart disease
Dog owners should seek emergency veterinary care if they notice their pet exhibiting any of the above signs.
What Fruits Can Dogs Eat?
If you want to feed your dog fruit, you should know which kinds are good for them and which ones aren’t. Apples, blueberries, watermelon, and even more are all dog-friendly once the seed and core have been removed.
There is some evidence that these fruits, which are less acidic than citrus fruits, can help dogs. Yet, fruit should only be given as a special treat and in small quantities. Your dog needs a complete and balanced dog food to make up the bulk of his diet.
How Much Fruit Can Dogs Eat?
The amount of fruit your dog can eat is determined by factors such as its size and its dietary requirements.
The rule of thumb of giving away 10 percent of your food as treats works well. Fruit and other treats should account for no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake, says Carbo-Johnson. That means that you can get by on just a few pieces of fruit.
Visit our Pet Expertise page to learn more about what foods are safe for your dog and what you should avoid feeding him.