Is Lemon Good for Dogs & Can They Eat Them

Lemons may be your favorite way to spice up a cup of tea, but can dogs eat lemons? Read on to learn the surprising risks.

Lemon makes the perfect combination with a variety of foods and drinks. For instance, adding lemon to an iced tea, a bowl of pasta, or your favorite cake recipe can add the perfect tang and complement the flavors. 

Whether you add fresh lemon to every dish you make or save it for special occasions, you may be wondering if you can add lemon to your pup’s food as well. 

While lemon juice may be the perfect addition to your pasta or sweet tea, it doesn’t usually pair well with dog food. 

And the truth is, dogs may not like the taste of lemons in the first place. There are plenty of fruits your pup can enjoy, but lemons aren’t one of them. Read on to learn why!

Can Dogs Eat Lemons?

So, can dogs eat lemons? Technically, your dog can have a tiny piece of lemon, but any more than this can lead to serious discomfort. In addition to this, dogs don’t need to eat lemons as there are other sources of nutrients and vitamins that are safe for them.

For the most part, dogs should stay away from lemons entirely, both the flesh and the skin. 

The good news is you probably won’t have to be too careful with your lemons. After getting a taste of lemons, your dog probably won’t try to sneak bites of this food. This is because your pup associates the smell and taste of lemons with other bitter foods, including rancid or poisonous foods. 

This internal defense system helps protect your pup and keep them away from dangerous fruits like lemons.

Dangers of Lemons

Why are lemons so bad for dogs? Let’s take a look below at some of the negative consequences your dog may experience after eating lemons.  

Gastrointestinal Discomfort

Lemons contain large amounts of citric acid. Most people can handle citric acid content in lemons and other citrus fruits, but your pup likely can’t. Large amounts of citric acid can cause severe gastrointestinal discomfort and lead to other digestive problems

These include the following:

  • - Diarrhea

  • - Vomiting

  • - Nausea

  • - Irritation

  • - Severe bloating and gas

  • - Central nervous system depression

  • - Problems with skin such as itching or flakiness

Lemons also contain naturally occurring essential oils and compounds known as psoralens which can be toxic to dogs and other animals. 

Many dogs have sensitive digestive systems and can’t tolerate certain foods and ingredients. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, lemon can be even worse for their systems and lead to severe irritation and discomfort. 

If you accidentally do feed your dog lemon, carefully monitor their behavior and contact your vet if you notice any of the above symptoms.  

High Sugar Content

In addition to causing gastrointestinal discomfort, lemon products are often high in sugar. For instance, lemonade, lemon bars, or lemon juice may contain high amounts of sugar. While small amounts of natural sugars like honey and fruits are safe, too much sugar can quickly turn into a bad thing.

Too much sugar can lead to obesity, tooth decay, diabetes, and further complications as your pup gains weight. It’s important that your furry friend lives a healthy life so they can live a happy life with you. That’s why it’s best to avoid most lemon products like lemonade or lemon flavoring.

Can Dogs Eat Other Citrus Fruits?

It’s clear that dogs should avoid eating lemons to prevent gastrointestinal discomfort, potential toxicity, and weight problems associated with sugar. However, what about other citrus fruits? Can dogs eat oranges? What about grapefruit, limes, or other types of citrus?

Surprisingly, dogs can eat small amounts of oranges. However, for other types of citrus, the answer is the same. You should avoid giving your dog most citrus fruits as they contain citric acid and essential oils that can have the same harmful effects as lemon. 

What Fruits Can My Dog Have?

While dogs shouldn’t eat lemons or other forms of citrus, there are plenty of fruits that are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants for your pup to enjoy.

Here are some fruit alternatives you can feed your dog:

  • - Strawberries: Strawberries are safe for your pup to enjoy and contain vitamin C and antioxidants to support health and wellness.

  • - Blueberries: Blueberries contain antioxidants as well as vitamins C and K. 

  • - Apples: Apples are a great snack for your dog. They’re sweet and contain vitamin C and fiber. 

  • - Cranberries: Rich in thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and vitamins C and E, cranberries are an excellent ingredient to look for in dog food (just make sure these are given just a few pieces at a time). 

  • - Cherries: If you’re looking for a sweet source of vitamin A and C, cherries are an excellent option.

  • - Tomatoes: Tomatoes, the fruit that tastes like a vegetable. This fruit is loaded with vitamins A, B6, C, and K, as well as minerals like manganese, phosphorus, and potassium. 

These fruits are excellent alternatives to lemons that offer a similar sweet flavor and high nutritional value.

How To Incorporate Fruits Into Your Pup’s Diet

When it comes to incorporating the right fruits into your pup’s diet, it’s not always easy.

If you’re making dog food from scratch, you have to make sure you find fruit without pesticides, chemicals, preservatives and process them the right ways to retain nutrient content. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking at store-bought dog food, you have to carefully read the label to ensure the ingredients are natural and free of unnecessary ingredients or fillers.

We made Sundays to help. We know it isn’t always easy being a dog parent. You’re responsible for your pup’s play, diet, and much of their health, which is what inspired our dog food. 

We include ingredients like whole fruits and vegetables as well as gluten-free whole grains that are rich in nutrients. We never include fillers or artificial ingredients. 

Learn more about our air-dried dog food here

Try Healthy, Easy Sundays