Can Dogs Eat Lemons?

Lemons feature in many recipes due to their diverse note, ranging from sour and tangy to bitter and sweet. This essence of lemons allows you to include them in both sweet and savory dishes. These citrus fruits have many nutritional benefits and help in conditions like the flu.

Can dogs eat lemon? As a dog owner, there is a high chance that you have had this query. You need to feed your dog the right food, lest it falls ill. We will tackle the topic of dogs and lemons and answer this question.

Is it Okay to Feed Lemons to My Dog?

Like many fruits, lemons are safe for dogs in low quantities. Your dog can have a bite of these fruits without any significant consequences. While dogs eat oranges with ease, it is not the same with lemons due to their sour taste, which is more pronounced in some species.

They appear repulsed by the taste and can shiver or gag after tasting the fruit. Some dogs may sneeze or cough to get the taste off their mouths. The good thing is that there are sweet species that your dog can eat without having a problem with acidity.

Dogs and Their Strong Reaction to Lemons

You may have seen videos of dogs reacting strongly to lemons on the internet, or you have maybe experienced it with your dog. Canines have bitter and sour taste buds, with the former being associated with rancid or poisonous substances. So, the reaction is more like a defense mechanism that prevents dogs from eating things that may be harmful to their health.

You may notice that dogs will tolerate slightly sour to sweet lemons. If your dog rejects a lemon, you should not force it because it may turn aggressive.

Do Lemons Have Nutritional Benefits to Dogs?

A small slice of lemon to your pooch will give it several nutrients, as we can see below.


Citrus fruits, including lemon, are excellent sources of vitamins. A slice of lemon will complement its dietary needs for vitamin C and B6.

Vitamin C is an excellent antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body, preventing cancer and age-related ailments. Vitamin B6 is essential for a sound red blood cell and nervous function, glucose generation, and enhanced immune response.

This citrus fruit is also rich in vitamin A.


Lemons will provide your fuzzy friend with minerals like potassium and iron, which are necessary for many body processes. Potassium is crucial for the dog’s cardiovascular system, preventing issues like high blood pressure.

While lemons have low iron content, they can absorb more from other plant sources, courtesy of vitamin C and citric acid. As such, lemons are ideal solutions for anemia.


This fruit contains pectin, a soluble fiber, and helps lower blood sugar levels by slowing down the digestion of starch and sugar. Additionally, it helps in bowel movements, preventing constipation and other digestive system upsets.

Adverse Effects of Lemons On Dogs

Despite the many nutrients that lemons can provide to dogs, they have some side effects that you should know about. The following are some of the shortcomings of dogs eating lemons.

Tummy Upsets

Lemons have citric acid, which can irritate the dog’s digestive system. It is the same issue experienced when dogs eat grapefruit. The acid may cause ulcers in severe instances. Signs of stomach upsets due to the acidity include vomiting, diarrhea, blood on the stool, and general discomfort.

Tooth Decay

The teeth may also suffer from acidity and start decaying or develop cavities. When the cavities get more pronounced, they can cause intense pain to the dog, and they may even lose weight due to a lack of proper feeding.

Choking Risk

Lemons have tough skin that is hard to digest. If your dog eats the lemon with the skin, it may present a choking hazard or block the digestive tract.

Are Lemon Seeds Poisonous to Dogs?

Fruits like plums and apples have seeds that can be harmful to dogs. In the case of lemons, the seeds do not appear to be toxic. However, they can present a choking hazard, especially to puppies.

Signs of Lemon Toxicity in Dogs

A slice of lemon will not do any harm to your fuzzy pal. The problem comes when the dog overeats the fruit, which can prompt a visit to the vet. Be on the lookout for the following signs to see if your dog has had too much lemon.

  • Restlessness
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Low blood pressure
  • Drooling
  • Problems walking or standing
  • Skin irritation and panting

Most of the time, the signs will subside on their own. If the toxicity is too much, it may result in death, especially if your dog is very sensitive to acids.

Alternatives to Lemon for Your Dog

If you want your dog to eat fruits, you may look into other options apart from lemons. Your dog can eat tangerines if you want them to get the essence of citrus fruits. Unlike lemons, tangerines and oranges are sweet, though some dogs may still refuse them.

Apples, bananas, mangoes, pears, and pineapples are other fruits your dog can eat without any problems. Remember to keep the serving moderate to avoid any upsets.

Related: Fruits and Vegetables Dogs Can or Can’t Eat

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Lemon Toxicity in Dogs a Thing?

Dogs do not react severely to lemons, and some may even eat them without any issue. Most of the time, dogs prefer sweet-tasting varieties.

If consumed excessively, they may suffer from acidity due to the excess citric acid in lemons. It is the same situation when dogs eat lime and other sour citrus fruits.

Is There a Home Remedy for Dogs When They Eat Too Much Lemon?

Should your dog eat too many lemons, you can rinse their mouth with clean water to reduce the acidity. You should then call the vet for further attention. At times, the pet doctor may advise you to induce vomiting. Follow the steps they give you to prevent the issue from going overboard.

Can I Give Lemon Juice to My Dogs?

No, you should not give lemon juice to your dogs. The acid and sugar present can damage their teeth or cause tummy upsets. Its sugar content can also bring up diabetes, obesity, or sugar addiction. If you want to share your cup of lemon juice with your dog, give very little of it.

Are Lemon Peels Good for Dogs?

Lemon peels are not toxic but can choke your canine. Orange peels are also a bad option even though the skin is not that bitter and they are easier to chew. Peel oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits before serving your dog for safety purposes.

Final Thought

Dogs can eat lemon, though most will shun the idea due to the sourness of the fruit. Lemons are not toxic, but their acid can have harsh consequences on the dog’s digestive system.

Alternatively, you can feed your dog clementines or other sweet citrus fruits, but you have to moderate the consumption.

A point to note is that dogs can get repulsed by lemon-scented items like soap and shampoo. In case of any reaction against these utilities, you should change and get one they can tolerate.

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