Since it is recommended that we give fruits and vegetables to our pets, it only stands to reason that dogs can eat lemons, right? While there are many foods that are perfectly safe and good for dogs to have, lemons, lemon juice, limes and many other citrus fruits are toxic to dogs.
In fact, lemon can be downright bad for canines because they contain psoralens – a substance that can create gastrointestinal distress, neurological issues, and even cause liver failure. Every part of the lemon contains this substance so no part of this citrus fruit is safe or good to give to your dog.
Learn more about why lemons, lemon juice, and limes are bad and poisonous for dogs to eat!
What Happens When Dogs Eat Lemons?
Lemons are toxic to dogs and the severity of toxicity depends on how much a dog has eaten. The symptoms won’t be too serious if a dog hasn’t eaten or drank much lemon. However, there could be some serious side effects if your dog ate an entire lemon. If this is the case, you should seek immediate veterinary care.
Signs of toxicity related to the ingestion of psoralens include:
- Gastrointestinal Distress – This is one of the first signs of psoralens toxicity, and symptoms can include constant vomiting and diarrhea.
- Groin Rashes – Another sign of psoralens toxicity is a rash in the groin area, usually between the abdomen and the thigh, on either side.
- Muscle Tremors – Muscle tremors or drooling may occur if your dog has eaten a lot of lemons and may lead to difficulty walking or standing up.
Severe cases of psoralen toxicity can lead to death. You should contact your veterinarian immediately and seek treatment if you think that your dog has eaten lemons or any other citrus fruits. Your dog should respond positively to treatment and quickly come around if she only ate a small amount.
Can Dogs Have Lemon Juice?
Some people say that it is OK to give lemon juice to dogs in small amounts as long as it is diluted with water. Others say that essential oils developed from lemons can be used on a dog’s skin to help combat fleas. However, neither the juice nor the essential oils are good for your dog and they should not be given to them as food or as a topical treatment.
In fact, essential oils are even worse for dogs than actual lemons because it is highly concentrated. These oils can cause immediate side effects in dogs which may even include death! Lemon juice doesn’t have as much psoralens as other parts of the lemon but it is still unsafe for your dog to consume.
No, Dogs Can’t Eat Lemons
It is always important to watch everything that your dog eats. If you suspect that they have eaten some lemon, the first thing to do is to figure out how much they have eaten. Watch for signs of psoralen toxicity if your dog has consumed any lemons. If you notice any signs, contact your vet immediately. If your dog has eaten a large amount of lemons, you should talk to your veterinarian immediately rather than wait for signs of toxicity to appear as your dog’s life could very well be in jeopardy.