Can Dogs Eat Lemons? (Better Alternatives Of Lemons)

There was an internet craze started a few years ago where dog owners were letting their dogs lick lemons to record their over-the-top reactions.

Admittedly, it is hilarious, but this led experts to issue warnings about the potential dangers associated with lemons. Lemon juice has been used as a negative reinforcement tool in training dogs, but it is truly safe?

Are Lemons Okay for Dogs to Eat?

Not really. Most citrus is considered toxic to dogs, and lemons aren’t exempt from this. Citrus fruits contain a substance called psoralens that produces GI distress, neurological symptoms, and even liver failure. It’s found throughout the entire lemon, but the skin, seeds, and pith contain the highest levels.

Signs of Psoralens Toxicity

How severe the toxicity is depends on how much lemon was ingested. Smaller amounts will cause lesser symptoms, but dogs who love to snack on lemons from backyard lemon trees see more severe symptoms. Initial symptoms begin with GI distress. A slice of lemon, for example, will typically just give your dog vomiting and diarrhea.

Larger amounts start to produce more severe symptoms like drooling, muscle tremors, and an inability to walk or stand. Some dogs develop rashes in their groin area, and significant ingestion combined with no medical treatment can result in liver failure and death.

Once symptoms progress beyond GI distress, veterinary care becomes even more important.

Are All Forms of Lemon Dangerous for Dogs?

Various internet sources tout the benefits of lemon essential oils for combatting external parasites or various other skin issues. It’s never safe to apply essential oils of any kind to your dog’s skin and ingesting them is equally dangerous.

Essential oils are highly concentrated and can produce immediate and severe side effects, including death. If an essential oils representative or a website claims these oils are safe in dogs, they are not.

Lemon juice is also unsafe. While it contains smaller amounts of psoralens than the lemon’s skin, for example, that doesn’t mean it won’t still give your dog GI upset simply because of the sheer acidity of the juice.

Dogs don’t need vitamin C like humans do, so there really isn’t nutritional benefit in giving your dog lemons. Because of this, don’t try to search for a way to use lemons in/on your dog despite how good they are for humans. There’s just no need!

Can Dogs Eat Lemons? An Important Question To Ask Yourself Amidst YouTube Prank Afficher

It’s probably one of those days where you are eating your snacks and scrolling through YouTube when suddenly a compilation of funny videos pops up where pet owners are feeding lemons to their dogs and recording their reactions.

It’s truly a moment for laughter, considering what amusing responses they give, but while watching such videos is a form of entertainment, we need to question whether our dogs can even eat lemons.

Not to worry, because this article is going to break it all down for you!


Whether you are searching this before feeding your dog lemon in order to record their first YouTube video or if you found out that your dog accidentally consumed lemons, then here is the answer.

Dogs can consume lemons, but they probably wouldn’t want to experience the bitter flavors of lemon. While consuming lemons once or twice is not harmful but consuming them in large quantities, such as accidentally drinking a whole bowl of pure lemon juice, can be extremely dangerous and can cause lemon toxicity as well.

dogs don't like the bitter flavor of lemons because they relate it to rotten food

So if your dog has accidentally consumed a piece of lemon or if you have fed it small amounts of lemon just to record a video, it won’t harm your dog, but consuming it in large quantities can cause serious illnesses.

In severe cases, small puppies become affected by lemon toxicity even on the consumption of small portions of lemon, so it’s important to avoid it just to be on the safer end and to keep your pup safe.

Additionally, dogs don’t like the bitter flavor of lemons because they relate it to rotten food. They have this sense of immediately identifying rotten items because it tastes bitter.

Which is why they might not consume lemons themselves ever unless fed, but there are always exceptions, and you might find your thirsty dog at the jug of lemonade during the summer heat, so make sure to keep large quantities of lemon away from your dog.


To be honest, lemons are not at all healthy for your dogs. You’re probably wondering, “but don’t lemons have vitamin C?” They do, but that doesn’t mean that your dog can consume everything that has vitamin C in it.

Plus, consuming lemon in large quantities will harm your dog more as opposed to benefiting your pup, so it’s wise to just steer clear of things that might be harmful.

Lemons do have benefits of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and other essential nutrients, but again in order to truly benefit from these nutrients, your dog will need to consume lemons in large quantities, which is NOT SAFE for your dogs as well and will do more harm than good.

It’s better to discuss with your VET the diet that dogs should have, but some dog-friendly fruits and vegetables include apples, bananas, blueberries, cranberries, and even cucumbers. These can be extremely beneficial for your little pup and can even work as good alternatives to lemon.


If you’re looking for a better alternative to lemons so that your dog can still get all the required nutrients such as Vitamin C, Calcium, Potassium, and Fiber, then Oranges are the best route to opt for.

Why? Because it tastes amazing and provides all the beneficial nutrients that your precious pup would need to stay healthy and grow well. They taste sweet, and unlike lemons, they are not bitter at all, which means that our little dogs can easily consume oranges as an alternative to lemons.

However, it is important to remember that even going too overboard with oranges can lead to citric overdose as well; hence it is preferred to give your dogs oranges as a form of treat every once or twice a week but not more than that so that it doesn’t cause citric toxicity. Additionally, make absolutely sure not to feed the orange peels to the dog!

Some people make the mistake of giving the whole orange (with the peels) to the dog, but orange peels have essential oils in them, which can really cause our puppies’ stomachs to get upset, so it’s ideal to avoid overconsumption of oranges.

Oranges, along with all other fruits, have natural sugar in them, so consuming high concentrations of oranges can increase sugar levels in dogs and can become extremely unhealthy for dogs who are diabetic or if they are victims of obesity. Be wise while feeding oranges and only use them as treats every now and then.

Read This Article : Can Dogs Eat Plums?


As I mentioned previously, it is highly unlikely that your dogs will go consume the lemons themselves because it is biologically etched into their brains that bitter flavor means rotten food; hence they stay away from all those items in order to save themselves, but nevertheless, it is not entirely impossible either.

Our curious little creatures can go anywhere they want to and can try to consume items that they are curious about.

For example, if you’re growing a lemon tree in your backyard or if your neighbor has a lemon tree, then your dog might try to consume this, and essentially this can become extremely toxic to your dog. Why? Because lemons contain high contents of Psoralens, which can deteriorate your dog’s health and can become poisonous to your dog as well.

Psoralens can be found in high concentrations in the lemon peel and the seeds inside, so if your dog consumes lemons from a tree, then it is highly likely that he or she has consumed both the peel and the seed.

In this instance, it is crucial to take your dog to the vet and monitor symptoms of stomach poisoning because this substance can even contribute to the death of your dog so avoid lemons, and it would be wise to keep your dogs clear of paths where you think they might consume lemons.


citric acid is consumed in high quantities by the dog, then they can start to experience muscle tremors.

If you find that your dog has somehow consumed the skin and the seeds of the lemon, then call your vet immediately and keep monitoring for signs that might indicate poisoning.

The thing about these components is that they contain high concentrations of Psoralens, which is something that cannot be digested by our pups; hence it ends up becoming poisonous for our little furry friends.

So, it is advised to keep your dogs away from lemons and keep looking for the following signs if your dog has consumed lemon in high quantity:

1.         Constipation is one of the symptoms that can arise as a result of consuming lemon seeds and peel because it is not easily digestible by dogs, so these compounds start to gather in the dog’s stomach, which can cause a blockage in the intestinal tracts. Hence, your dog might not be able to make bowel movements, but let a day or so pass, and if your pup’s bowel movements do not come back to normal, then taking them to the vet will be crucial

2.         Muscle tremors are yet another symptom of consuming a high concentration of lemons because dogs cannot consume bitter components, and if citric acid is consumed in high quantities by the dog, then they can start to experience muscle tremors and can even be seen vomiting as a result. We advise that if this is the case, then immediately taking your dogs to the veterinarian will be the best solution to calming them down and ensuring that they become well as soon as possible

3.         Gastrointestinal Distress can also stem from consuming too many lemons, which means that your dog might be excessively vomiting and, on top of that, might also become a victim of diarrhea since lemon skin and seeds cannot be consumed by dogs making them extremely sick.

4.         If the case is severe, then your dog might even suffer from poor circulation and low blood pressure since both these symptoms are a direct result of high consumption of citric acid. While consuming citric acid may not always lead to such consequences, however, consuming it in large quantities can do so.

In either of these scenarios, we advise taking your dog to the vet immediately and getting your pup the treatment that is required.

Some dogs are curious by nature, and especially small dogs that accidentally consume small amounts of lemon can be more highly affected by the adversities of lemon as opposed to larger dogs, so it is better to train them to stay away from lemons, lemon trees and even processed lemon juices.


  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
    • This statement is true because apples are high in vitamin A and C
    • They are a great source of fiber
    • Awesome snacks if you’re on a budget and don’t want your pup to eat those processed snacks
    • Remove the seeds before feeding them to your dog
    • Frozen apples can become an amazing ice cream alternative during the summer heat
  • Bananas for you!
    • It’s a great item to be consumed by dogs who are obese since bananas are low in calorie
    • However, they make a great source of potassium and other important vitamins, so bananas are definitely the way to go with dogs
    • They have high sugar content, which is what makes them an ideal replacement for treats
    • Coating them in natural peanut butter and then freezing them can make for a cold icy snack for your dog as well
  • Mango!
    • This summer treat is packed and enriched with vitamins like vitamin A, B, C, and E, which can really aid in the growth of your dog and towards maintaining their health
    • Just remember to remove the center seed before feeding it to the dogs
    • Additionally, using fruits as a treat would be ideal

Generally, fruits should not take up more than 10% of your dog’s entire diet. This is primarily because fruits have a high concentration of sugar, so if your dog suffers from diabetes or obesity, then giving them fruits all the time can put them in more danger than you might realize.

So making sure that the fruit component does not take more than 10% of your dog’s natural diet then it is fine to consume these fruits. Using these fruits as a treat might be even more helpful in maintaining a healthy diet.


You now know what dogs can eat, but it is also important to know what fruits dogs definitely cannot eat. Besides lemons, there are many other fruits that dogs cannot consume, and they are mentioned below.

  • Avacadon’t!
    • Can sometimes act as a great treat but can be really harmful in real life
    • They contain persin, which can cause severe health risks in your dogs, so it’s better to avoid fruits that contain persin.
  • Put the Drapes on em’ Grapes
    • Grapes are simply too toxic for your dogs. It contains toxins that lead to kidney failure in dogs, so it’s best to avoid them at all costs.
  • Cherries
    • With the exception of the soft part, the main seed within the cherry actually contains Cyanide and other toxic elements which can put your dog’s health at risk
    • Cyanide impacts your dog’s blood cells, inhibiting them from getting any oxygen
    • It can induce pupil dilating and difficulty breathing which is a result of cyanide poisoning


As I mentioned, dogs are curious by birth, and no matter what breed or gender of dog you have, they will always try to try out new things and experiment with new items, which can also pose a great risk as well.

For example, if your neighbor just put up a new lemon tree, your dog is highly likely to go towards it if they have the backyard door open hence in that instance.

It is important to maintain dominance over your dog and make sure to say a firm ‘no’ or even saying ‘stay’ because this will ensure that your dog knows that this behavior will not be acceptable.

Just like with any other task around the home, we give our dogs treats for good acts and punishments for bad acts, right? The same can be applicable to consuming lemons as well.

If you know your dog is not steering clear of lemons, then punishing them with a little angry tone or not giving them a treat the whole day will ensure that they understand something’s wrong.

Additionally, when your dog knows to stay away from lemons or lemon trees, then giving them, treats will only boost and reinforce their positive behavior.


Can Dogs Eat Lemons? (Better Alternatives Of Lemons)

If your curious dog has accidentally consumed a high quantity of lemons, then here are three crucial steps you need to do:

  • Call your VET and discuss the scenario, and do as advised
  • Wash your dog’s mouth to ensure that if any lemon skin or seed is stuck in between the teeth, then it is not consumed
  • If symptoms become severe and the VET is far, then use his or her instructions to induce vomiting.

These steps can save your dog’s life because lemons can be life-threatening, and it is not advised at all to consume them in high concentrations.


We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again. Dogs don’t like lemons, and using them in order to make treats is not ideal. Dog’s not only don’t like lemons, but lemons can also be a potential health risk to your dogs, so rather than using processed lemon juice or natural lemon, it is better to use pumpkin puree or all-natural peanut butter.

At times all-natural almond butter can help, too, depending on whether your pup is not allergic to peanuts or almonds, but here is a recipe to make dog treats without using lemons. To make 40 to 50 dog treats, you will need:

  • Sweet Mashed Potato or Pumpkin Pie Puree
  • All Natural Peanut Butter (make sure it’s natural as to avoid any allergic reactions)
  • Oat flour

Take half a cup of sweet mashed potatoes or pumpkin puree and mix it with a quarter cup of peanut butter. Then add the oat flour until the consistency becomes similar to that of dough or cookie batter.

Roll out the dough and cut out the treats using any shape of cookie cutter or use a knife to keep things simple! Bake the treats at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes, and voila! You will be able to share amazing treats with your dog!

Can Dogs Eat Lemons? (Better Alternatives Of Lemons)


Scientifically speaking, lemons are a no! Do not feed your dog lemons even as a joke because you never know your dog’s tolerance level.

Sometimes smaller dogs are more prone to the health risks of lemon as opposed to large dogs, so just because the YouTube realm is filling up with funny videos, it doesn’t mean you need to make your contribution as well.

It is advised not to consume lemons as well since they contain Psolarens, which can cause poisoning. Additionally, if your dog does happen to consume lemons, then taking them to the vet accidentally will be better, and then monitor their symptoms.

Hope this is helpful in keeping your pup safe and healthy!

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Jackob Evans

Hi, I’m Jacob. I’ve been a professional blogger for over six years, and in that time, I’ve written countless blogs that have helped millions of people worldwide. A DVM by profession, I have treated and cured thousands of dogs, if not millions.

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