Can Dogs Have Lemon? What to Know About This Citrus Fruit

Lemons are common in many households and are used for everything from marinating meats to garnishing your water glass. They’re one of the most popular citrus fruits, but can dogs have lemons?

The answer is no. Dogs should not eat lemon because the fruit offers little nutritional value and may be harmful in large amounts. If your dog sneaks a small amount of lemon off the kitchen table, they’ll probably be fine — but large quantities can be dangerous, and you definitely don’t want to give your dog lemon on purpose.

Here’s the good news: Most dogs will be turned off by the sour smell and bitter taste of lemon, so they’re not likely to eat this fruit. Still, plenty of dogs will eat just about anything, so it’s best to be vigilant.

Keep reading to learn more about why lemons aren’t good for dogs, what kind of symptoms lemons can cause, and what fruits are a better option for your pooch.

Why Shouldn’t Dogs Eat Lemon?

Can dogs have lemon: white dog running outside

Lemons are good for humans because they contain nutrients like potassium, antioxidants, and Vitamin C, all of which offer health benefits. So, wouldn’t it stand to reason that dogs can have lemons and gain nutritional value from them, too?

No. Lemons pose too much risk, and our canine friends don’t get much nutritional value from this fruit anyway.

Why exactly are lemons bad for dogs? It’s because they contain the following:

  • Citric acid: The lemon’s citric acid can cause an upset stomach when your pet eats too much of it. If a significant amount is ingested, it can even result in central nervous system depression.
  • Psoralens: A chemical compound that occurs naturally in lemons, psoralen can be toxic to dogs in large amounts and is likely to cause diarrhea or vomiting.

Note that all parts of the lemon can prove dangerous for dogs. That includes the flesh of the fruit, the lemon peel or rind, the pith (the white fibrous segment beneath the peel), and even the leaves and bark of the lemon plant. And dog owners should use caution if lemon trees grow in a yard or garden where dogs could reach them.

What Could Happen if My Dog Eats Lemon?

Can dogs have lemon: dog sniffing a lemon rind

So, can dogs have lemons? No, it’s not safe. While a tiny bit of a lemon fruit probably won’t cause any adverse side effects, a dog who manages to chow down on a whole lemon or, worse, a lot of lemons at once could experience health problems like:


Drooling is often one of the first signs that a dog has ingested something toxic. Even a small amount of lemon, lemon juice, or lemon essential oils could cause drooling.



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