Can dogs eat lemons? This question has developed from the many videos that trend online of dogs making hilarious faces after licking lemons. This has made people curious to know if in a real sense dogs can eat lemons. I know it is funny but giving your dog lemons is not good for its health.
Lemons just like any other fruit are not toxic but psoralens which is the main compound of lemons are toxic to a dog. Psoralens is a chemical compound that is mainly found in citrus fruits. However, there are some non-citrus fruits that also contain psoralens for example parsley and fig fruit.
Symptoms of a Dog Eating Lemons
The psoralens in lemon can cause many symptoms to your dog depending on the quantity it has consumed. The common symptoms are; vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and abnormal sensitivity to light. The more the consumption the severe the symptoms like it starts drooling, inability to walk and tremors. At this point, you should seek immediate veterinary assistance or this might lead to death.
What about oranges? Yes, you can feed your dog oranges, but in a moderate amount. This is because oranges contain citrus, but it also contains high quantities of sugar which can cause obesity in dogs. Another thing with oranges is to ensure the dog eats the inside fruit and not the peel.
Resistivity to Bitterness in Dogs
Dogs can taste the bitterness in lemons just like human beings. In dog language, something bitter means it is bad, dangerous or poisonous. So even just tricking your dog to lick a lemon for fun can mean something negative to it. This can break the trust between you and your dog and it might start avoiding you.
What of Lemon Drinks?
Lemon drinks like lemonade should also be avoided. Lemonade can be seen to be safe for dog consumption because it contains sugar and water, but the psoralens compound is still present. If you want to make your dog some refreshing drink just give it some ice cubes which are readily available and also cheap.
Other parts of a lemon-like the seeds and its peel are also dangerous to dogs. This is because the seeds can cause choking. The peel when consumed by the small dogs can cause blockage in the digestive system. This can lead to unplanned expenses at the veterinary.
Another danger of lemons to dogs is the sour smell mainly on the peel and the bitter taste. The sour smell and the bitter taste always make the dog unable to hunt for food. A dog depends on its tongue and nose during hunting, but the sour smell throws off scent hence a dog becomes unable to catch its hunt.
Any Nutritional Benefits of Lemons to Dogs?
What are the nutritional benefits of lemons to dogs? This is a common question. Scientists and professional veterinary officers have proven that there are NO nutritional benefits. However, lemon has many other nutrients that are beneficial to dogs but their quantity is low. For example, proteins and fiber are only three grams in a lemon.
Lemons are known for having many essential oils that are good for killing parasites and curing skin problems. But trust me the lemon oils are very dangerous to dog skin. When a dog consumes some of these lemon essential oils it will be weak, unable to walk, have low body temperature and drool. If these symptoms develop see a vet to pump its stomach or to give it a neutralizing compound.
What type of fruits can dogs eat? Always try to avoid citrus fruits. Mangos, apples, and bananas are healthy for a dog. But you are advised to feed a dog fruit in moderation. Try to balance your dog’s diet. You should also avoid cookies and pies that contain lemons.
How to Stop a Dog from Eating Lemons
The “leave it” command
“Leave it” is a direct command that tells a dog that it is not given permission to take something specific. When you see your dog approaching a lemon, give it a direct command to leave it. Dogs are very intelligent animals; it will master the command in a few days and they will never eat or play with lemons.
But you should keep in mind that it is a hard command for a dog to master because once a dog smells something it will pick it up.
Avoid walking areas that have temptations
Avoid walking with your dog in areas that might have lemons for example the fruit cabinet, the kitchen or in the fruit gardens.
During walks, a dog gets a good opportunity to scavenge and eat things. Totally avoid areas that have lemons because a dog can eat them when you are not looking.
Always walk on open roads where a dog cannot hide in bushes or hedges and eat a lemon.
Make eating a routine
If you see your dog inhaling everything, just know it is looking for food. Dogs are intelligent and if you provide a specific time for eating every day, they will only look for food at that time. This will help your dog not to eat dangerous things like lemons whenever it is free.
Always make sure the dog is paying attention
Dogs always eat dangerous items such as lemons during routine walks. Therefore, you should ensure it is paying attention to you full time. This can be done by giving it something amazing at frequent intervals.
For example, after a few steps, you give it a piece of chicken. This will make it pay attention to you full time.
Use slow eating bowls
These are special bowls designed to slow down the eating speed of dogs. This bowl has a small opening at the top that makes a dog work very hard before it gets food. This teaches dog patience.
In context, this will help the dog not to eat harmful substances like lemons. Because once it licks for the first time it will stop due to the bitter taste.
Use an electric collar
This is a special device that alerts you as a dog owner that your dog has crossed the designated perimeter into dangerous zones such as the lemon gardens. This will help you to quickly react and remove your dog from these dangerous zones before something bad happens.
Lemons are bad for dogs. Even if it is just a little lemon it can still cause bad side effects to your dog. When the vomiting starts please give your dog a base that will neutralize the acid in the ingested lemon. But when it reaches the point of not walking and drooling, contact a vet immediately. Other lemon-based drinks or juices should also be avoided.