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Fresh Lemon for Dogs – Health Benefits, Uses

 Lemons are amazing – in this article you will find…
  1. The many Health Benefits of adding lemon to your dog’s diet;
  2. How to use Lemon Topically to Treat Skin Conditions;
  3. How to use lemon to Prevent Frostbite;
  4. How to use lemon to Repel Insects such as Mosquitos;
  5. How to use lemon to Treat Urinary Tract Infections (UTI);
  6. How to use lemon to make Shampoo/Cleanser/Rinse for your dog;
  7. How to use lemon to Treat Eye Infections;
  8. What Type of Lemon you should use;
  9. How to Add Lemon to Your Dog’s Diet.

1.0  Many Health Benefits Of Lemon For Your Dog

Allergy Reducer Lemon helps to reduce the symptoms of allergies… 
  • Combine Lemon with Rooibos Tea for an even better allergy reducing aid.
  • Also use lemon alone or in combination with other all-natural ingredients for dog friendly household cleaners – to replace chemical based household cleaners and avoid toxic build-up and allergies in your dog.
Lemons are a very alkaline food when ingested.
Lemons on their own are acidic however when ingested lemons have an alkalizing effect in the body – the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized, instead the lemon has an alkalizing effect that helps the body balance PH levels thereby helping to relieve arthritis pain. Adding lemon to your puppies diet early on can help prevent the development of debilitating arthritis later in your dog’s life.
Anti-Aging Properties
The high levels of antioxidants present in lemons help the body fight against aging.
Juice of a fresh lemon can destroy many forms of bacteria, including those that cause deadly disease.
Brain Health 
Keep your dog’s brain healthy, lemon peel contains the potent phytonutirent tangeretin which has been proven to be effective in treating brain disorders.Cancer Inhibitor.
Cancer Inhibitor 
As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C protects your dog’s cells from free radicals. Free radicals are charged atoms that form when specific molecules interact with oxygen. The free radicals then react with cell membranes and the DNA within cells – the reaction damages the DNA and membranes and thus the cell itself. Damaged cell structure is the first stage in the lead-up to cancer. A diet high in viable high-quality antioxidants plays a significant role in preventing the development of cancer. Lemons contain a grand total of 22 anti-cancer compounds, these include:
Limonene – oil that slows and /or halts the growth of cancer tumours;
Flavonol glycosides – that stop cell division in cancer cells.
Lemon acts as a sedative for nerves and can be used to help induce calm.
De-Toxifier, Protection against Poisoning
The ancient Egyptians ate lemons and drank lemon juice in order to protect themselves from a variety of poisons. Research has confirmed that the ancients where right. For example – lemons are a natural remedy (as are Garlic and apple cider vinegar) for food poisoning – i.e. salmonella and e-colli. The powerful acids present in lemon juice can kill the harmful microorganisms and toxins in the GI Tract that may be absorbed into the body by ingesting food laced with bacteria, fungi, harsh chemicals (i.e. pesticides) and other biological agents. In addition lemons are high in minerals and vitamins that help loosen toxins in the digestive tract.
Diarrhea and Constipation
Lemon aids in the cleansing of the bowels (killing bad bacteria and dislodging toxins) which helps eliminate both constipation and diarrhea.
Digestive Aid 
If you can get your dog to drink a little lemon juice mixed with an equal part of warm water your dog’s digestive tract will be stimulated which helps maintain the movement of food through your dog’s GI Tract. 
Disease Fighting
Lemons are a rich source of limonoids (phytochemicals), that are vital disease-fighting compounds which when present in sufficient concentration are effective in helping to inhibit certain cancers – for example ovarian cancer and oral-cavity tumours.
Eye Disorders
The symptoms of eye disorders, including diabetic retinopathy can be mitigated with the ingestion of lemon due the rutin present in lemons.
Ear Infections
Using a lemon flush is an effective way to keep your dog’s ears clean and free of infection. Ear infections are one of the most common ailments in dogs.
Heart Health
Lemons contain a relatively high level of potassium – potassium is beneficial to heart-health.
Immune System Health
Lemons are rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that supports immune system function.
Intestinal Parasites 
Lemon is a natural de-wormer as is garlic. 
Liver Health
Lemon stimulates the liver, dissolves uric acid and other poisons thereby supporting liver health.
Nutrient Absorption 
Vitamin C helps the body absorb calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, Selenium and Glutathione work in tandem with Vitamin E to avoid liver and gall bladder problems – also a host of other long-term benefits i.e. aids in preventing/alleviating digestive problems, especially mal-absorption of nutrients. When I feed my dogs meat, cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese I sprinkle grated lemon on top to enhance the body’s ability to absorb these important nutrients. The following provides a list of vitamins and Minerals that are found in lemons…lemons are:
  • Very high in vitamin C;
  • Nature’s top source of citric acid;
  • One of nature’s top seven sources of potassium!
Minerals in Lemons
Vitamins in Lemons
Potassium – 116 mg
Vitamin C – 44.5 mg
Calcium – 22 mg
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – 0.034 mg
Phosphorus – 13 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – 0.017 mg
Magnesium – 7 mg
Vitamin A – 18 IU
Sodium – 2 mg
Iron – 0.5 mg
Selenium 0.3 mcg
Manganese – 0.025 mg
Copper – 0.031 mg
Zinc – 0.05 mg

Also contains small amounts of other minerals.
Niacin – 0.084 mg
Folate – 9 mcg
Pantothenic Acid – 0.16 mg
Vitamin B6 – 0.067 mg
Vitamin E – 0.13 mg

Contains some other vitamins in small amounts.


Stimulate Appetite
For most dogs this is not an issue, but a dog that is stressed, grieving etc. or suffering from certain medical conditions may not eat enough. The high potassium content of lemons can help to stimulate appetite.
Strengthen Blood Vessels
Lemon contains bioflavoniods (vitamin P) that strengthen blood vessels and prevent internal hemorrhaging.
Teeth and Bones 
The high vitamin C content of lemons helps the body absorb/metabolize calcium. A diet that is rich in vitamin C creates an environment in which bacteria does not thrive. These foods also increase saliva production which helps to wash away bacteria and plaque. To understand more about the other benefits of vitamin C in dog dental read more here.
Weight Loss
 Lemon are high in pectin fiber which helps to stop huger pains. Additionally a more alkaline diet promotes weight loss. So if your dog is overweight add some lemon to his/her diet. Turmeric is excellent as an aid to weight loss as well. Adding a little fruit and vegetables to your dog’s diet can also help your dog lose weight.


2.0 Treat Skin Conditions

Acne – Puppy Dermititus (Impetigo and Acne), Skin-Fold Pyoderma
Acne, often located on the chin or lips – can occur in puppies 3 months of age or older and is most common in Boxers, Bulldogs, Dobermans and Rottweillers, but can also occur in other breeds of dogs. Skin-Fold Pyoderma occurs when inflammation results from skin constantly rubbing together. To treat these conditions you use a cotton ball to apply:
  • Undiluted lemon juice (do not use undiluted lemon juice if the skin is broken as the undiluted lemon will sting);
  • Green tea and lemon –  steep a bag of green tea, let it cool to warn temperature, add the juice of half a lemon and using a cotton ball apply the resulting lemon-tea to the affected area – do not rinse;
  • You can also mix 1 part lemon juice with an equal portion of rose or manuka honey water – apply with a cotton ball and leave the mixture on the skin for a minimum of half an hour, then rinse with water.
  • You can also bath the puppy in the treatments noted above.
These treatments work best if applied twice a day.

3.0 Avoid Frostbite – Vascular Damage

Lemon juice (like ginger) increases circulation which can help avoid vascular damage leading to frostbite. Dogs with short fur such as my Boxer are prone to frostbite of the ears in cold weather. 

4.0 Repel insects such as Mosquitos;

Lemon when applied topically can be used to repel insects and parasites. Mosquitos do not like the scent of citrus…read here to find out  how to use lemon to repel insects from your dog.

5.0 Treatment for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

If you catch the UTI in its early stages and/or the infection is not extremely severe you can use lemon to treat the infection…
Topical Treatment
Use the cleanser as described in 6.0 below to bath your dog – this will help to flush out bacteria that might otherwise invade your dog’s urinary tract.
Ingested Treatment
Mix the following together in a bowl:
  • Fresh lemon juice – you can also add some minced lemon;
  • Use an equal part of warm water;
  • And some fresh or frozen crushed cranberries to the lemon juice/warm water mixture and pour the resulting mixture into a food bowl.
  • You can also add a few slices of orange (cut it up, don’t use whole uncut sections) and;
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbs of organic unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar.
Give this treatment to your dog twice a day until the infection clears. If the infection does not clear-up in the space of a day or two get your dog to a veterinarian. You can read more about UTI’s here.


6.0 Safe, Effective Shampoo/Cleanser/Rinse

Lemon can be used in combination with greet tea and apple cider vinegar as a highly effective cleansing and disinfecting rinse. An excellent alternative to commercially made pet shampoos which can be full of toxins and carcinogens. Just as you would with commercially made shampoos – make sure you avoid getting the lemon juice cleansing rinse in your dog’s eyes. 
To make the rinse:
  • Steep a bag or two of green tea;
  • Allow the tea to cool to room temperature;
  • Add the juice of a fresh lemon, and;
  • Use the resulting liquid to bath your dog.
  • You can also add a few tbs of organic, unfiltered, apple cider vinegar to the tea and lemon mixture.


7.0 Treatment for Eye Infections

Distilled Water and Fresh Lemon Juice (room temperature)
Not for use with pink-eye
  • Combine;
    • 2 tbs distilled water with;
    • 4 drops of fresh squeezed lemon juice;
    • Stir well;
    • Drop 2 to 3 drops in the eye two to three times a day until the infection clears;

If you would like to understand more about eye infections

  • Typical Causes of an Eye Infection;
  • Typical Signs that Your Dog’s or Cat’s Eye May Be Infected;  
  • Typical Signs of Pink Eye – Conjunctivitis
  • Contagiousness of Eye Infections
  • Treating and Curing Eye Infections
    • Topical Treatments
    • Ingested (Dietary) Remedies 
  • Duration of Treatment
  • When To Get Your Dog or Cat to Your Veterinarian
  • You can read this article.

8.0 What Type of Lemon Should You Use?

Don’t use bottled, processed/pasteurized lemon juice – this type of lemon juice loses its beneficial properties during pasteurization and processing. Use fresh lemons and fresh squeezed lemon juice.
How to Choose a Good Lemon
The heavier and fresher the lemon the better the health properties of the lemon!

9.0 How to Add the Lemon to Your dog’s Diet

Preparing the Lemon

  • Freeze a whole lemon and grate a little over your dog’s food;
  • Add fresh lemon juice to your dog’s water bowl – remember to change the lemon water on a daily basis.
  • Add fresh-finely minced lemon to your dog’s food.
  • Peel the lemon and slice it into 4 to 6 pieces;
  • Remove the seeds;
  • Finely chop/mince the sections of lemon – I use a food processor to do this;
  • Add the finely minced lemon to your dogs’ food once a day;
  • Store any remaining minced lemon in an air tight glass container (in the refrigerator) for several days.  

Adding The Lemon to The Daily Diet

  • Start by using the half the recommended lowest dosage in your dog’s size range – see ‘Daily Dosage’ below;
    • Over the space of a week to 10 days gradually increase the amount of lemon to the lowest recommended dosage for your dog’s size range;
    • You can then increase to the higher dosage in your dog’s range if you would like to do so.

Daily Dosage (non-therapeutic)

  • X-Small dogs – 1/16 to 1/4 tsp/day
  • Small dogs – 1/4 to 1 tsp/day
  • Medium dogs – 1 to 2 tsp/day
  • Large dogs – 2  to 3 tsp/day
  • X-Large dogs 3 to 4 tsp/day

10.0 Lemon and Citrus ‘Not Safe’ says the ASPCA and

‘Really’ says me, well ASPCA and HSUS you are wrong – your condemnation of lemon and citrus as poisonous for dogs is completely out of context. Many foods are poisonous and health threatening in many ways if consumed in unreasonable quantities. Both organizations (but primarily the ASPCA) also condemns other beneficial foods as ‘unsafe’ for dogs. The reason for the condemnation is allopathic  rather than logic based… 

So I will set the record straight here and now…
There are many foods that when provided in moderation (to a dog) have many health benefits…the following provides some examples of such items that can contribute much to your dogs health when used properly and with common sense…
The key is to provide these foods within a threshold where the food retains its healthful contributions – just as we would approach foods in the human diet. All of the above foods are part of my dogs’ daily diet. According to the ASPCA’s guidelines they should all be quite ill. My dogs are all very healthy – how can that be? I mean the ASPCA must right, right? Actually they are wrong. 
When fresh lemon or other fresh citrus is added to the daily diet in reasonable amounts toxicity is not normally an issue. If instead your dog drinks a couple of tablespoons of lemon oil – I would say get your dog to the veterinarian ASAP. 

Dogs have, for 1000’s of years eaten ‘people’ food including dairy products such as kefir and yogurt, hard cheese, cottage cheese. My dogs eat (in reasonable beneficial quantities) yogurt hard cheese and cottage cheese every day, as do many of my client’s dogs. My dogs are very healthy. 

For the most part with some exceptions, the same food that is bad for people is also bad for dogs – highly processed food! Fresh whole foods of many kinds are excellent for dogs as are many herbs and spices.

The ASPCA also lists raw meat as dangerous for dogs – funny that raw meat is a species appropriate/biologically appropriate food for dogs. It is not that raw meat id bad for dogs, it is that when the raw meat is not stored and handled properly it can BECOME a source of e-coli, etc.

Prior to the 1950’s when most dog’s ate ‘people’ food dog’s lived twice the life span that they live now.

I find it ironic that the ASPCA does not include on their list of foods that are bad for dogs  highly toxic, carcinogenic ingredients that are in many commercially made processed dog foods, items such as…

The many ingredients listed in this article, and;
The many ingredients (approved by the FDA and AFCO) listed in this article, and;
The health threatening toxic preservatives discussed in this article
all commonly found in dry and wet processed commercially manufactured dog and cat food.In my opinion a proper list of dangerous foods for dogs should be based on common sense, logic and a proper explanation such as this list.As well the ASPCA fails to mention all of the toxins commonly included in dog care products such as dental chews, toothpaste and dog shampoo.

So is lemon bad for dogs? Only if you feed it to your dog in unreasonable quantities, and why would anyone want to do that?
Does lemon provide great benefits for your dog when provided in reasonable quantities, as evidenced by my own dogs – I would have to conclude yes, lemon when used properly, is beneficial, just as garlic, dairy, specific herbal teas are. The ASPCA’s fear mongering (regarding many wonderful food stuffs that can provide health benefits to our dogs) is ill conceived.

Additional Assistance

If you require additional support and guidance I would be pleased to assist you via my In-Person or On-Line Services…

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About Karen Rosenfeld

My name is Karen Rosenfeld. I am an holistic diet nutrition health and wellness practitioner for dogs and cats. I am an holistic behaviorist for dogs. I offer a wealth of real-time, real-life experience. 30 years working and living with dogs and cats. Companion animals are my life, my work, my passion. Maintenance of Health Health Issues and Conditions Custom designed whole food diets, raw and cooked. Recommendations for commercial whole food diets. Consultations available worldwide via FaceTime, FaceBook video and voice, Skype, Phone and email Recommendation and specification of... Species Appropriate: Whole foods Treats Herbs Alternative medicines Supplemental foods Treatment and Remedy Holistic Behaviorist Services for Dogs Include: Obedience Training Behavior Modification Psychological Rehabilitation In-person Sessions Sessions available worldwide via FaceTime, FaceBook video and voice, Skype, Phone Affiliations to Companies None. I don’t sell food or supplements. I am NOT aligned with any companies. I prefer to select best solutions for my individual clients’ situation. My client services are available around the world. 🇺🇸USA 🇨🇦Canada 🇬🇧UK 🇦🇺Australia 🇪🇺Europe 🇨🇷Costa Rica and other Central American Countries 🇦🇪United Arab Emirates 🇸🇪Sweden and other Scandinavian Countries 🇸🇬Singapore and other Countries in Asia etc. Consultations and Sessions 📧Email: karen@ottawavalleydogwhispererer.ca 📞Phone: 1-613-293-3707 📱FaceTime 📱FaceBook video or voice 💻Skype 📖Holistic Wellness eBooks custom designed to suit 🚶In-person Sessions only available in Ontario, Canada.

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  1. Can you please confirm for me how much lemon I should give my dogs? Above you wrote “•1/4 tsp/day of minced lemon for small dogs;
    •1/2 tbs/day for medium size dogs, and;
    •3/4 to 1 tsp/day for large dogs”- I’m guessing the tbs under medium dogs is a typo…. but then in your other article about lemons you list the dosages as “•Lemon – fresh, finely chopped
    ◦Small size dogs – 1 tsp
    ◦Medium size dogs – 1 tbs
    ◦Large dogs – 1.5 to 2 tbs”. I just want to make sure I am giving them the right amount. Also…. concerning garlic…. in one article you wrote you can use ground garlic but in another you said only use fresh. Can I use ground garlic? Thank you so much for your awesome blog, I reference it regularly and I know my dogs are healthier because of it 🙂

    • Hi Heather – yes the ‘tbs’ is a typo – thank you, has been changed to tsp. While you can use powdered garlic it does not have the some healthful benefits of fresh garlic. If your dogs don;t like fresh garlic try to find a mild garlic (as opposed to the hotter garlic types). You can also put some natural honey on the garlic to make the garlic appeal to your dogs.

    • Okay, thank you for the clarification about the garlic, I will switch them to fresh garlic and see if they’ll eat it. So for my medium sized dogs should I give them 1/2 teaspoon of lemon or 1 tablespoon of lemon- the two articles state different amounts- sorry to be annoying 🙁

    • Hi Heather – the dosage in the article above, I have provided a more detailed breakdown of dosage. I will copy it below for you…
      Adding The Lemon to The Daily Diet

      Start by using the half the recommended lowest dosage in your dog’s size range – see ‘Daily Dosage’ below;
      Over the space of a week to 10 days gradually increase the amount of lemon to the lowest recommended dosage for your dog’s size range;
      You can then increase to the higher dosage in your dog’s range if you would like to do so.

      Daily Dosage (non-therapeutic)

      X-Small dogs – 1/16 to 1/4 tsp/day
      Small dogs – 1/4 to 1 tsp/day
      Medium dogs – 1 to 2 tsp/day
      Large dogs – 2 to 3 tsp/day
      X-Large dogs 3 to 4 tsp/day

      Cheers, Karen

    • Thank you so much! I appreciate it! And thank you again for putting so much work into this blog!

  2. I love how people add things when they really dont know or dont read, yes lemons are very acidic but once inside the body they are not. Just like Karen said 🙂 its a great way to make your body less acidic. I like to drink warm water with lemon in the morning.

  3. Lemons are a very alkaline food?!?!?! No, lemon is very acidic! As in Citric ACID… Eating too many straight will dissolve the enamel off off your teeth! You need to remove that paragraph.

    • Yes lemons on their own are acidic however when ingested lemons have an alkalizing effect in the body – the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized. Yes lemon when consumed on its own can destroy teeth enamel which is why the article above notes to dilute the juice with equal parts water and the pulp with food.

  4. Hi,
    I found you when I was searching about dogs and lemons because I live in Arizona and we have a lemon tree out back and my cairn terrier LOVES them – he plays with them, he drinks the lemon juice, he eats the lemon fruit… He LOVES lemons! He seem fine (active, engaged, happy, Good weight, coat, good etc) He consumes about 1 lemon every couple of days or so -is he at risk? Thank you for your consideration, Sherry

  5. Hi Karen. I found your web is interesting and will try on the lemon, green tea, garlic recipes.
    I think my pug got skin infections but not severe. It is like yeast infection.
    I found medication tablets are not too useful (additionally, I think chemicals are bad to their health), so I clean her everyday by wiping the affected areas with alcohol (looks better) after given up the tablets.

    Also, I agree on your ideas about ASPCA. Everything eaten too much are bad, small amount I believe will help.
    Lots of abandoned dogs in our country are eating dead rats, chickens (not from hunting), eating human leftovers and I found them healthy, wildly breed and have long lives. It is weird.
    Anyway, thanks for your article…..I prefer natural and I hope its working.

    • Hi Hardy,

      Your Golden’s womb infection was probably pyometra. Dogs are prone to pyometra when their diet is not very supportive of a strong immune system. She and the Pug do have food allergies which are causing chronic candida (yeast infection) hence the smell and skin issues. The raw diet did not clear the issue up as you likely did not supplement the diet.

      I don’t know what is in the food that you are feeding them but if there are any grains – that would be issue #1. Then you have to look at all the toxins that are included in most dog food – many of which are endocrine disruptors (hormone, thyroid disruptors). You can read my articles on dry and wet commercially made dog food.

      If you can, I would recommend that you make their food – grain free recipe here http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/home-made-diy-dog-food-recipes-grain.html

      In addition you should add coconut oil, omega 3 fatty acids, organic apple cider vinegar, garlic, fresh lemon, kefir, rooibos tea, turmeric, yogurt – kefir – or – fresh pickled vegetables to their daily diets. You can go to the index page of my blog site to find articles on each of these foods.

      Bath them in one of the ‘paw foot soak recipes’ from my blog site and after bath spray them with organic apple cider vinegar. A course of Colloidal Silver would be good for them as well http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/08/colloidal-silver-diy-treatment-for-dogs.html

  6. My dog likes to get lemons straight off the tree and eat then. she’s a weird one

  7. Hi can you tell us can dogs eat pitted dates and nuts eg walnuts or brazil almonds etc

  8. Hi there 🙂 Could I replace lemon with lime instead? Thanks for your advice. Regards, Florence

  9. Hello 🙂 According to ASPCA, lemons are toxic to dogs (specifically the psoralens found in lemons). However, they also say that garlic is toxic and I give my dogs a clove a day. I’m interested in adding lemon to their diets, but am curious as to what your thoughts are on the toxic warnings….


  10. I feel a little silly asking this, but when you freeze and grate or mince them, do you use the peel?


  11. It’s really a good resource of important benefits of using Lemons. Thanks

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