Little dog in the grass staring at a lemonLabrador 

Can Dogs Eat Lemons? The Best Fruits For Your Dog


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Your dog isn’t very likely to go after lemons. They don’t like the smell, and they like the taste even less. There is no reason to be adding lemon to your dog’s food at any time, and it can do them more harm than good if they do accidentally ingest too much.

So, no, it’s not OK to feed your dog a lemon and then film their disgusted response. It might look funny and cute, but you are hurting them, and at the same time, teaching them not to trust you.

Dogs don’t like and shouldn’t really be eating most citrus fruits, although the occasional orange might not do them any harm.

In today’s article, we’ll take a closer look at why dogs and citrus fruits just don’t mesh and why you might also want to be wary of using citrus-based cleaners if you have a dog at home.

Little dog in the grass staring at a lemon

But we will also take a look at the fruits and veggies your dog will enjoy eating and can make a very healthy and tasty addition to their diet.

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Can Dogs Eat Lemons?

The short answer to this question is no, your dog should not be eating lemons.

But, this isn’t necessarily something you have to worry about very much, as your dog probably won’t be very inclined to eat lemons.

Dogs are turned off by the bitter taste of lemons. This is because, for dogs, food that has gone rancid also has a bitter taste. So, evolutionarily, they have learned to avoid it.

The smell of lemons alone is probably enough that they won’t want to put one in their mouth. But if they do give it a lick, they are likely to back off pretty quickly as the taste is pretty disgusting to them.

So, unless you are actively giving your dog lemons to eat, or squeezing lemon juice into their food, you shouldn’t be too worried about them ingesting lemons.

Some pet parents have suggested that their dogs might be attracted to lemons because they look quite a bit like a tennis ball. But if they do pick it up, they aren’t likely to hold onto it for long.

You should never give your dog lemons, especially not as a joke. You have probably seen videos online of dogs reacting with funny faces after someone has given them a lemon. This is not a very nice thing to do. It can also undermine your relationship with your dog, as it can teach them that you can’t be trusted.

On top of that, if you do manage to get your dog to ingest some lemon, the citric acid isn’t very good for them.

Dogs And Citric Acid

If your dog does eat a bit of lemon flesh, they will probably be OK, but if they eat a lot of it for some reason, you do have cause for concern.

Citric acid can be very bad for your dog’s digestive system, and it causes them quite a bit of pain until it passes through their system completely.

Lemons also contain essential oils and compounds called psoralens, which can be toxically poisonous to dogs when consumed in large enough quantities.

If they do consume too much citric acid, they will probably suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. They can also develop an inexplicable sensitivity to light.

The seeds and rinds of the lemon are also indigestible, so these can cause serious discomfort if your dog does eat it.

Lemons have no nutritional value for dogs and also contain quite a few things that aren’t great for them. So, there never really is a good idea to give lemons to your dogs.

What About Other Citrus Fruits?

Dogs also shouldn’t be eating limes or grapefruits, as these citrus fruits contain all the same harmful elements as lemons. 

Again, your dog probably won’t be very interested in these fruits because of their smell and are unlikely to gobble them up once they get a taste. So, as long as you aren’t trying to feed your dog these fruits, they aren’t likely to accidentally ingest them.

But dogs can eat some citrus fruits, specifically oranges, tangerines, and clementines. They don’t contain the same oils and compounds that can be very harmful to your pooch. However, they do contain citric acid and lots of sugar, and so should only be given to dogs in moderation.

Most dogs probably won’t like the taste of oranges, as they still find them too bitter, but if they do like them, they shouldn’t have more than a few pieces a day depending on their size. Also, never give them the rind, as it is just too difficult for them to digest.

You should also never give dogs lemonade or orange juice. These are not only high in citric acid, but they are usually very high in sugar, and dogs can’t tolerate the same levels of sugar you can.

Also, don’t be tempted to let them have a taste if the drink is sugar-free, as this usually means it contains sugar alternatives, many of which can be fatally toxic for dogs.

To better understand the foods that are toxic and highly dangerous for your dog to digest, check out our article on foods that you should never feed your dog.

What About Lemon Cleaners And Deterrents?

Since your dog is unlikely to be attracted to lemons, sometimes the most dangerous lemony items in your house aren’t the fruit but rather cleaners and scents that contain the essential oils derived from lemons.

As a result, if your dog is exposed to too much of these lemon-based cleaners, they can be affected by them. Again, you are likely to notice symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and sensitivity to light.

So, if you have a dog at home, skip the lemon cleaners, even if they use all-natural ingredients, as it is the all-natural lemons that are problematic for your dog. But don’t worry, there are lots of great smelling alternatives. Try coconut, for example.

Because dogs don’t like the smell of lemons, deterrent sprays that discourage your dog from getting into certain areas of the home are also lemon-based.

While these tend to be highly effective, they can also be toxic to your dog in the same way as lemon cleaners. So, use them in moderation, and if you switch brands, make sure you keep a close eye on your dog for a while to ensure they are not reacting badly to the product.

If you are looking for non-lemon based deterrent products, check out:

Best Fruits And Vegetables For Dogs

OK, so citrus fruits, in general, aren’t great for your dog, but what fruits and vegetables should they definitely be eating as part of a healthy and balanced diet?

But remember, while these fruits and veg all contain nutritional value for your dog, always feed your dog these fresh, healthy fruits and veg in moderation. Your dog generally can’t tolerate the same levels of sugar as you, and fruits tend to be high in natural sugars.

Never feed your dog tanned or dried fruits. The processing increases the sugar content and just makes them even more unhealthy for your canine friend.

Apples

Apples are full of antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C, all of which are just as healthy for your dog as they are for you. Dogs also often enjoy the crunchy texture of apples, and it can be good for their dental hygiene to gnash their teeth against a firm apple.

However, make sure to wash apples and remove their core and seeds before giving your dog this treat, as the seeds can cause blockages in their digestive system. The seeds also contain trace amounts of cyanide, which no one, man or dog, should really be consuming.

Pears

Pears are quite similar to apples and offer many of the same benefits. They are also high in vitamin C and vitamin K, as well as being high in fiber.

Again, be sure to remove the seeds and pit before giving your dog a few pieces. The seeds are hard to digest and can contain modest amounts of cyanide.

Bananas

Bananas are a great source of dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, so they make a healthy addition to your dog’s diet. Remove the peel before giving a banana to your dog as it can cause them digestive problems.

A medium-sized dog probably shouldn’t be eating more than half a banana a day due to the high levels of sugar and potassium. But otherwise, slice it, mash it, freeze it; you have lots of options.

Blueberries

Blueberries offer your dog healthy dietary fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C, all of which work to boost their digestive and immune systems. You will often find these included in dog food recipes as a source of natural antioxidants and vitamins.

If you want to use blueberries as a treat, frozen blueberries make a great occasional treat option.

Berries

Actually, there are a lot of berries that are good for your dog, including blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, and raspberries.

They are all high in antioxidants and vitamins, and they are pretty low in calories. They make great treats. But while larger dogs can eat whole berries, make sure you cut them up for smaller dogs.

Brussel Sprouts

Yes, they are very good for you and your dog, even if most children categorize them as icky veggies. They are rich in fiber and antioxidants, and they are loaded with essential vitamins.

Brussel sprouts are thought to be good for cleaning the colon and improving digestive health but be prepared, they can also make dogs a little bit gassy. But you shouldn’t have problems if you feed your dog the recommended one or two a day only.

Cantaloupe

Yummy cantaloupe contains vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, antioxidants, and dietary fiber, which is why both you and your dog should be eating it.

For your dog, as well as improving digestive health, cantaloupe can help encourage a healthy coat and bright eyes. But don’t let your dog eat the seeds or rind, as these will cause digestive problems.

Carrots

Carrots are low in calories and high in fiber, plus they are a great source of vitamin A and potassium, so you can treat your dog with them all the time. Add them to dog food. Or make crunchy fun treats.

Your dog will enjoy them cooked or raw, and raw carrots are another option for helping your dog keep their teeth clean and their breath smelling fresh.

Green Beans

Green beans are a great source of fiber, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. These are a great choice for dogs on a diet as they are low calorie, but green beans also help your dog feel full for longer.

They can be eaten cooked or fresh but never canned as salts, sugars, and preservatives are often added during the canning process. 

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is very good for your dog’s digestive system as it contains lots of thick fiber. It is also rich in fatty acids, which help keep your dog’s skin and coat in good condition.

Cook pumpkin before feeding it to your dog, but make sure that it isn’t sweetened or spiced, as the additives used aren’t always great for your dog. They don’t really need to be eating more than a tablespoon a day.

Spinach

Spinach is a great green leaf for your pup as it delivers vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, iron, fiber, manganese, folate, and potassium.

Together, these can boost your dog’s immune system, help support a healthy heart, and regulate energy levels for more vitality.

Flash cook the spinach to soften it up, but don’t use any seasonings as these aren’t great for your dog. Cut the leaves down as well or they can be a little bit slithery for your dog to swallow.

Speed Potato

You will often see sweet potatoes in dog food recipes as this veggie is high in fiber, rich in vitamin B6 and vitamin C, and contains many beneficial minerals, plus beta-carotene.

Add steamed or boiled sweet potatoes that have been allowed to cool to your dog’s bowl.

Watermelon

Watermelon is low in calories and high in moisture, so it is the ideal treat for dogs that don’t really like to drink water. Watermelon also contains potassium, beta-carotene, and magnesium, as well as vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.

Remove as many seeds as possible before giving the melon to your dog as they can have trouble passing their digestive system. Also, don’t let them chew on the rind as this is very hard for them to digest.

Cucumber

Cucumber is another great option that is low in calories and provides lots of moisture. They also contain lots of healthy vitamin K. Wash and remove the seeds, and then cut the cucumber into bite-sized pieces.

Zucchini

Zucchini is another low-calorie treat for dogs that is also high in vitamin B and vitamin C. It also has lots of dietary fiber. Zucchini is best chopped, cooked, and mixed with the other tasty things in the bowl.

The Verdict

Dogs don’t like lemons. The smell of citrus fruits is off-putting for dogs, and the taste even more so. This is a good thing, as lemons and other citrus fruits aren’t very good for your dog.

If your dog ingests a little bit of lemon, there is no need for concern. But significant amounts of lemon can cause them serious digestive problems. Too much and they might start vomiting, suffer from diarrhea, or develop sensitivity to light.

Since dogs aren’t attracted to lemons, the biggest risk for them from lemons comes when it is included in things such as cleaning agents. This can lead them to be exposed to the chemicals and essential oils within lemons that are toxic to them.

So, if you have a dog at home, best to give the lemon-scented air fresheners and cleaners a miss.

But there are many fruits and vegetables that do form a healthy and tasty part of your dog’s diet. Apples, berries, cantaloupe, and bananas, these all contain lots of dietary fiber, antioxidants, and many of the vitamins and minerals that your dog needs to thrive.

So, it is worth doing a little research to identify the fruits that are good for your dog. They can be a source of safe, healthy, and natural treats.

Do you feed your pup fruits and veggies?

Which are their favorites?

Share your experience with the community in the comments section below.

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Can Dogs Eat Lemons? The Best Fruits For Your Dog. - Little dog down in the grass staring at a lemon - Should your dog be eating lemons? No, and they probably won’t want to. But what are the best fruits and vegetables to include in your dog’s diet?

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Can Dogs Eat Lemons? The Best Fruits For Your Dog was last modified: June 27th, 2021 by LTHQ



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