It’s safe to say that by now, we’ve all seen these videos going viral everywhere about the first time a baby eats lemon or gets exposed to it, as well as the typical reaction that comes along with it. If that wasn’t enough of a controversial subject on its own, dog owners are now doing the same with their dogs, giving them lemons in order to see (and record) their reactions, in the hopes of having a video go viral just as well.
Because of these acts, the RSPCA issued a statement through its spokesperson strongly urging dog owners to stop giving their dogs lemon to see and record their reaction to it, as this is greatly risking the dog’s well-being.
However, this is not to say that everyone wondering about whether or not giving their dogs lemons to eat or lemon juice to drink is in the same boat. Some folks just want to know if it is safe. Many dog owners consider doing this out of the purest intentions of just trying to make their dog’s food taste better.
Whichever side you’re on and regardless of the reason you’re thinking about giving your dog a piece of lemon to eat or some lemon juice to drink, what can be expected if your dog gets exposed to a little bit of lemon?
Should this be a situation where you should worry? Or is it acceptable practice that won’t get your dog in harm’s way? Let’s have a look.
Can Dogs Eat Lemons? Are Lemons Good For Dogs? Or Is Lemon Bad For Dogs?
First and foremost, and to answer this question from the safety perspective that everyone should be asking about at the start – YES, dogs can eat lemons safely and lemons don’t pose a toxicity risk to dogs.
Even though the ASPCA state on their website that lemons are toxic to dogs, many online veterinarian-based websites such as this one run by Dr. Marie Haynes claim that lemons aren’t toxic to dogs, but are harmful in excessive amounts.
Till this day, the worst that ever happened to a dog that consumed an excessive amount of lemons was gastrointestinal upset and digestive system trouble, and toxicity was not found to be an issue.
Even though lemons do contain a certain level of acid to them, this acid is not toxic to dogs and the most it has been found to cause in dogs is this aforementioned gastrointestinal upset and digestive system trouble.
However, this should not be interpreted as a green light for you to go ahead and feed your dog as much lemons as their heart desires, because even digestive system problems and gastrointestinal upset can pose risks on your dog’s life if they were to eat a large enough amount of lemons.
As far as the health and nutritional benefits that lemons offer dogs, unfortunately there aren’t much that are worth making note of.
So, if you were considering feeding your dog lemons because of any possible health or nutritional benefits that they may get from them the way they may benefit from other fruits or vegetables out there such as cranberries, then think again, because this isn’t really the case.
The One Benefit Of Lemon For Dogs
The one and very possibly only noteworthy benefit of making use of lemons when it comes to your dog is its ability to act as a natural flea repellent (useful for those of you who aren’t very comfortable making use of a flea collar for dogs), one that’s quite effective in its task as well.
Actually, many flea repellent sprays for dogs that you can find being sold on the market take advantage of this ability that lemon juice has, something which has prompted many dog owners out there to take a DIY approach and come up with their own flea repellents centered around lemon juice.
We won’t be going into details about the DIY approach of making your own flea repellent from lemon juice in this article because it’s beyond the scope of the subject we’re talking about, but the gist of it is mixing some water with lemon juice and spraying a certain amount of it on your dog’s skin so it can act as a flea repellent.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to make a natural flea repellent out of lemon, then check out this very well put together and easy to follow guide on WikiHow.
Can Dogs Eat Lemon Peel?
The short answer to this question is NO, dogs can’t eat lemon peels and they shouldn’t be given these peels to consume for any reason, be that as a treat or whatever else you may have in mind.
This also holds true for many different fruits and vegetables out there, such as when considering feeding your dog cantaloupe peal for example.
Not only do lemon peels offer no noteworthy health or nutritional benefits to dogs, there’s also a great risk that they could experience gastrointestinal blockages because of the inability of their systems to properly digest these peels.
So, before you give any small piece of lemon to your dog, make sure you remove the peel around it to stay on the safe side of things.
If you suspect that your dog has managed to eat a certain amount of lemon peel (perhaps they were able to make their way to these peels and eat them from the trash) or you know that they’ve done so for a fact, then you should keep an eye on your dog for the next few days and monitor for any possible signs of gastrointestinal blockages such as constipation and excessive trouble defecating.
If you notice any signs that may suggest such a blockage in your dog’s digestive system, then get them to an animal care center so they can be checked out and treated.
Can Dogs Have Lemon Juice?
Another very common questions that dog owners always wonder about whenever they think about feeding their dogs lemon, is whether or not they can also give their dogs lemon juice to drink.
The most common way dog owners like to do this is by mixing a certain amount of lemon into their dog’s water bowl and having them drink from that, believing that their dog will benefit nutritionally from this practice.
After all, we’ve all heard and read about the dozens of health benefits associated with human beings drinking water mixed with lemon, so it’s not very unusual for dog owners to believe that the same holds true when it comes to dogs as well.
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is also going to be a straight out NO, because dogs drinking lemon juice just has much more cons to it than it does pros.
Again, and just as the case is with dogs and lemon peels, lemon juice won’t benefit your dog in any way, shape or form in terms of nutrition or health benefits.
On the contrary, because of the high concentration of acid found in lemon juice, it’s a surefire way to cause all sorts of gastrointestinal upset in your dogs and have the experience vomiting episodes, bouts of diarrhea and an overall very upset stomach.
Also, whenever dog owners think about giving their dogs lemon juice, the thought of adding sugar and mixing it in always comes to mind, which is another terrible idea due to the many negative effects that sugar has on the health of dogs.
Try adding in a certain amount of lemon juice to your dog’s water bowl without sugar and see for yourself how hard of a time they’ll give you to drink that water, and for good reason as well – it simply tastes awful!
So whichever way you look at it, giving your dog lemon juice to drink is a bad idea.
If you were to give your dog lemon juice as is and in its most natural form, it’s going to taste terrible and extremely sour, and if you were to decide to add sugar into the mix then yes, it’s going to taste much better for your dog because it’ll taste like lemonade, but the high level of acidity that can cause all sorts of trouble to your dog’s digestive system is still there.