What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Lemon? Your 2021 Guide!

Most likely, lemons are one of those citrusy fruits that may not be included in your list as good treats for your dog. Generally, lemons may cause toxicity to your dog especially if consumed in high amounts. But, we know that they are dogs and that they have this behavior of eating out everything they can find. So, it is also crucial to know what to do if your dog eats a lemon.

In this post, we will share to you helpful information about lemons and its effect on the dog’s health. This includes the symptoms that you may have to look for to identify if your loveable pooch eats that citrus fruit. Aside from that, we have here some helpful treatments that you can immediately apply to them.

Lemon – Is it bad for Dogs?

The most four-legged creature even insects avoid smelling the lemons. Naturally, the strong odor and high acidity of the lemons can deter them away. In fact, most repellant products and stain eliminators primarily contain lemon to keep those creatures away. Sadly, there’s more behind the unpleasant taste of the fruit for your dog.

Basically, to be able to determine what to do if your dog eats a lemon, you must first need to learn the human foods that are not suitable for dog’s consumption. Keep in mind that we’re two different creatures. Meaning, there is food that we eat that may not be fed to the dog. Aside from lemon, here are other human foods that may be toxic for dog consumption:

  • Chocolate
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Leeks
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions
  • Raisins

Reasons why lemon is bad for dogs

Like any other food, the lemons primarily contain chemical substances that are generally toxic for dogs and other creatures. These chemicals may be a factor for lemon fruit or citrus plants toxicity. So, it is better to understand those before knowing what to do if your dog eats a lemon.

what to do if your dog eats a lemon

Basically, this is terpene oil in the lemon fruit which is basically found within the peel. Limonene is generally the major substance responsible for the refreshing aroma of the citrus fruits. Often, this component is present in many products like cosmetics, cleaning products, and flavorings. In fact, you can find d-limonene in most dog fragrances and shampoos.

However, keep in mind that lemons and other citrus fruits have a higher concentration of limonene. Meaning to say, a little amount can greatly contribute to the food toxicity for dogs and other animals.


Another terpene oil present in citrus fruits is the linalool. It is generally responsible for the floral scent within the citrus aroma of the lemon. It is used mostly in soaps and lotions as fragrance and insecticide. Aside from lemon, here are the plants that also have linalool content:

  • Rosewood
  • Beech trees
  • Mint plants
  • Laurels
  • Cinnamon

Psoralen is an organic compound that is abundant on the pith, seed, and peel. This is actually a phytotoxic chemical in the citrus plants that generally treats skin disorders. It blocks the DNA synthesis which induces mutations.

Aside from that, psoralen has the ability to elevate the human’s sensitivity to light. Due to that, the psoralen can be used for the light therapy treatment of psoriasis. Generally, psoralens are also present in other plants like the following:

  • Celery
  • Fig
  • West Indian Satinwood
  • Parsley
  • Root parsley
  • Anise seeds
  • Parsnips
  • Caraway seeds
  • Oranges
  • Carrots
  • Cumin seeds
  • Mustard seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Lovage
  • Grapefruit

How about lemonade?

what to do if your dog eats a lemon

Lemonade is the diluted form of lemons meaning to say that it is still or there are still lemons in it. Keep in mind that if the dog gets thirsty, they can even keep a large amount of water away. And because of that, they will generally drink more to elicit any reaction especially if they like its taste. Since available in liquid form, the lemonade is highly absorbable within the dog’s body.

Moreover, another thing for concern is the sweetener being used on this kind of beverage. Generally, the sugar content on the lemonade is present in high quantities. Keep in mind that it can lead to an extreme shoot up of dog’s sugar level in the blood. This sugar level on lemonade may be harmful to diabetic dogs which goes the same as xylitol, the artificial sweetener.

Going back, it is highly recommended that the dog should not be allowed to lick or drink even a drop of lemonade. In case you do not have any idea on what to do if your dogs eat a lemon, then you may consider to give them ice cubes which are an easy and inexpensive dog treat option.

Does Lemon Essential Oil have an effect?

There are lots of online references that show the natural benefits of lemon essential oils in dogs and animals. However, it is still essential to ask the assistance of the veterinarian regarding this matter. This way, you may able to properly execute the things regarding what to do if your dog eats a lemon or ingest some lemon essential oils.

Yet, most essential oils that are highly beneficial for homeopathic applications of humans are not considered safe for homeopathic use of dogs and other pets. For examples, essential oils are not highly suitable to cats even if it is in diffused form. Moreover, the use of essential oils is not well regulated.

Lemon Poisoning in Canines – What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Lemon?

Although lemons are beneficial to humans, dogs and other animals find it to be dangerous. Like what we have discussed earlier, it contains substances that are toxic to animals. Yet, small quantities of lemon can only result in gastrointestinal upset, knowing what to do if your dogs eat a lemon is highly crucial.

What more if your loveable pooch ingests large quantities of this fruit? For sure, it can cause more serious health problems. And at that time, it will require more complex ways as part of the things to do if your dog eats a lemon.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Lemon: Know Its Symptoms

Generally, lemon poisoning is caused by the compounds present in it. Moreover, to determine what to do if your dog eats a lemon it is also important to know the symptoms associated with it. At the onset of lemon poisoning in dogs, you may notice that they may vomit and experience diarrhea. These symptoms become more severe if the dog eats more.

Additionally, when the dog eats more lemon, sensitivity to light, tremors, dizziness, excessive drooling, and inability to walk may start to occur. This is generally due to the presence of psoralen in lemon. What to do if your dog eats a lemon is to immediately rush them to the vet most likely if they consumed a large quantity of the fruit. If ignored, keep in mind that the symptoms may not only get severe but will even lead to death.

Other symptoms of lemon poisoning in dogs to look for that may be of great help in determining the ways on what to do if your dogs eat a lemon:

  • Rash
  • Skin irritation
  • Lethargy
  • Cold limbs
  • Loss of coordination
  • Low blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Liver failure
  • Collapse

How to Diagnose Lemon Poisoning in Dogs

What to do if your dog eats a lemon? Basically, make an initial diagnosis by checking the signs and symptoms elicited by your dog. The vet may generally ask you about some factors that will help in choosing the effective treatment approach. Factors that may be asked by the vet include the amount being consumed, length of time from ingestion, and the part being ingested.

Basic laboratory testing such as a urinalysis, blood chemistry, and CBC are the required analysis in case there is an unknown cause of poisoning. This applies true and the most important thing on what to do if your dog eats a lemon especially when the eating was not seen. Moreover, also take note of the skin reactions, vomit or stools. Samples from those will also be checked and analyzed for any presence of toxins.

Additionally, during the diagnosis on what to do if your dog eats a lemon includes neurological testing. This is a method that generally measures the reflexes and coordination of the dog most likely during the vets visit. The veterinarian will have to perform the testing to point out the particular body areas of the dog’s nervous system that are primarily affected.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Lemon: Treatment for Lemon Poisoning in Canines

In the event that the dog accidentally eats this citrus fruit, here are some helpful ways on what to do if your dog eats a lemon:

*Washed immediately

If the parts of the dog’s skin are exposed to the oil of the lemon, it is better to wash it out right away. Use a mild soap and clean water in washing the affected area. In case the lemon oil is being licked by the dog, wash their mouth by clean water.

*Avoid using dog shampoos

Generally, the limonene and linalool that are present in lemon can also be seen on some dog shampoos. Providing fragrance is the main function of these substances over dog shampoos. That’s the reason why dog shampoos should not be used in removing the lemon oil.

*Do not induce vomiting

Inducing vomiting is not generally recommended because the oil may get into the dog’s lung which is very harmful to dogs. With this, what to do if your dog eats a lemon is to perform gastric irrigation. This method will generally remove the toxins from the digestive system of the dog.

Moreover, through gastric irrigation, activated charcoal is being administered to prevent the absorption of the toxin into their bloodstream. Aside from that, activated charcoal will also reduce or lessen the possible occurrence of the symptoms in dogs.

Keep in mind that emptying the dog’s stomach through gastric lavage is the quickest way possible. And that is also the same thing that the veterinarian wants to do and consider doing. However, gastric lavage approach may also be unpleasant for the dogs as same with humans.

Other treatment for canine’s lemon poisoning

Since there is no specific treatment for psoralen toxicity or lemon essential oils poisoning, what to do if your dogs eat a lemon basically includes supportive treatment in conjunction with the decontamination. The following are some helpful approaches for lemon poisoning:

  1. IV Fluids – prevent dehydration
  2. Electrolytes and sugar mixtures – adjust any possible imbalances on the dog’s internal system
  3. Oxygen – treat difficulty of breathing
  4. Antiseizure medications – helpful when tremors are already acute

Dogs Recovery from Lemon Poisoning

In terms of lemon poisoning, it is very important to make some prognosis. But, eating lemons may generally lead to a more direct result in dogs. Canines that underwent gastric lavage and given some anesthesia may encounter some difficulties in their coordination. Moreover, confusion in dogs may also occur until the sedatives are completely clear out from the dog’s body.

Moreover, if your dog developed phototoxicity after eating a lemon, the best thing to do is to provide shelter from sunlight. The dog must be sheltered for about 48 hours after the treatment. This is generally for the prevention of any skin reactions in dogs.

Aside from that, regular monitoring of the blood chemistry level of the dog is highly recommended after the dog’s lemon poisoning. This is more likely true in case there is an impairment of the kidney or liver.

Also, part of the recovery process is feeding the dog with foods including white rice. Additionally, a prescription diet is also helpful in a few days to heal the GI tract. Making the dog quiet is also a good suggestion to let him feel better.

Final Thoughts

Generally, dogs are dogs and they may eat everything they want and everything they found. Because of that innate behavior it is really crucial to get familiar with human foods that may be harmful for a dog’s consumption. One of them is citrus fruits like the lemons. Knowing what to do if your dog eats a lemon is also important in order to address any possible toxicity that may arise once they accidentally consume it.

The best thing to do is to actually be on the safe side. Only feed them with foods highly designated just for dogs. These include treats and dog snacks that are basically good for their overall health and wellness. As a matter of fact, feeding them the appropriate kind of food for them will result in a happier and healthier furry buddy.

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