Q:

Can dogs eat lemons?

A:

Quick Answer

Lemons are toxic to dogs. Like other citrus plants such as limes and oranges, they contain oils and compounds that are toxic to dogs. All parts of the plant, not just the fruit, can cause harm when eaten.

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Full Answer

The oil that gives lemons their distinct scent and flavor is actually an insecticide. Limonene causes twitching and convulsions in insects. In mammals such as dogs, it mainly causes irritation. Eating high concentrations of limonene can also affect a dog's central nervous system. This is most likely to occur if the dog consumes lemon oil extract or gets the extract on its skin, which can cause trembling, muscle weakness, liver damage and even death. Ingesting lemons or lemon roots is unlikely to cause such dramatic symptoms, as the concentrations of limonene are much lower in living plants. However, consuming the fruit can give a dog diarrhea when the limonene upsets his digestive system.

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