Can Dogs Eat Lemons?

Lemons growing on a tree

Because your dog trusts you, he may taste or even eat a lemon if you give it to him. But lemons and their flavour are one your dog would normally avoid. A dog who licks or eats a lemon may have a strong reaction to the taste. While it may seem comical, feeding your dog a lemon isn’t a joke. Continue reading to learn why.

Can dogs eat lemons?

Dogs eat plenty of things they shouldn’t. Dogs can eat the flesh of lemons, but their system cannot tolerate large quantities. The fruit can cause digestive problems. Also, there aren’t any good reasons that dogs should eat lemons.

Is lemon bad for dogs?

Lemons have a lot of citric acid, and the acid is what can be a problem for your dog. The reaction your dog has to lemons depends on how much he ate, his size and if his digestive system is sensitive.

Why do dogs have a strong reaction to lemons?

“Dogs can taste bitter and they don’t like it. While dogs can also taste sour, it’s not always a negative. For them, bitter is generally always a negative,” Purina Senior Nutritionist Jan Dempsey explains. Often foods that are poisonous or rancid taste bitter to dogs. So, they learned to avoid these tastes. It was a good way to survive.

Today, dogs don’t eat lemons for good reason. “All citrus fruits contain essential oils and a chemical compound that are toxic to dogs. These are found in the plants, tree parts, the skin, and the pithy white parts,” Dempsey explains.

Can dogs drink lemon juice or lemonade?

The simple answer is no. Lemon juice is just as acidic as lemons, and lemonade is just lemon juice plus sugar. Your dog doesn’t need either in his system. “Sugar is going to contribute to potential weight gain in your dog and that can lead to other health issues,” says Dempsey. Also, excessive citric acid and sugar both can cause vomiting and diarrhea. It’s best to just skip all things lemon. Treat your dog with other fruits and help keep him hydrated with water.

Are there other citrus fruits that are bad for dogs?

There are a few other citrus fruits that are also not a good idea for your dog. Mostly they are tart or sour. Limes, just like lemons, are very high in citric acid so your dog should not eat them. Another fruit to keep out of reach is grapefruit.

What citrus fruits can dogs eat?

There are lots of healthy fruits your dog can eat. They don’t even need to be citrus fruit. Some good choices include apples (without the seeds), bananas and strawberries. These fruits are less acidic and may have some benefits for dogs, too. But it’s important to feed fruit as a treat and in moderation. Most your dog’s diet should come from a complete and balanced food.

How much fruit should dogs eat?

How much fruit a dog can eat depends on the size of your dog and his nutritional needs. The 10% treat rule is a good guide. “Whether it’s fruit or another treat, we recommend that treats you feed your dog should make up no more than 10% of his total calories for the day,” advises Dempsey. That means a few pieces of fruit is enough.

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