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Can Dogs Drink Lemonade? Vet Approved Safety Facts & FAQ

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Can dogs drink lemonade

Vet approved

Dr. Maja Platisa Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Maja Platisa

In-House Veterinarian, DVM MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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There are very few things that can quench your thirst like lemonade, especially on a hot summer’s day. It offers one of the most perfect balances in the world — part sweet, part sour, and 100% refreshing. But is it safe for dogs?

Unfortunately, the answer is no, dogs cannot drink lemonade.

Even the most naturally made lemonade contains elements that are unsafe for your dog to consume. So, what is it that makes lemonade an unhealthy choice for dogs? And what should your pooch be drinking instead?

Divider 1Can Dogs Eat Lemons?

Although some dogs will eat just about anything, that doesn’t mean they should. But when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? After all, lemons are the primary ingredient in a freshly squeezed glass.

However, they’re also the number one reason why your dogs should avoid lemonade. Lemons contain citric acid, which is a primary offender for your dog’s digestive tract.1 In higher amounts, it may lead to depression of the nervous system, although reports of this are rare. Lemon is considered to be toxic to dogs, causing signs of an upset stomach, with vomiting, reduced appetite, diarrhea, and sometimes even skin irritation.2

lemonade and lemons
Image credit: lannisK, Pixabay

Other than citric acid, lemon contains two major compounds, psoralen and limonene. Psoralen, in combination with ultraviolet light or sunlight, may lead to skin irritation and redness, but this seems fairly rare, and we failed to find any actual reports of it happening in dogs due to eating lemons. Part of the reason may be the sour taste of lemons, which makes dogs avoid this fruit, and the fact that they need to ingest enough to cause this unusual sign, which they wouldn’t do willingly.

Limonene is a major component of the essential oil and is toxic for dogs, cats, and horses. In cats, the application of pure citrus oil on the skin leads to severe neurological signs such as weakness, incoordination, trembling, drooling, sometimes even coma and death. Dogs may experience similar signs, but information on these effects are scarce.

Other Harmful Ingredients in Lemonade

It’s not just the acid in the lemonade you need to be careful of — it’s the sugar as well.

Lemonade, on its own, is not safe for dogs. But if they have a lick, they will probably be just fine. But lemonade can also contain other ingredients, like added sugar and sweeteners, such as xylitol. This is very toxic for dogs, and should be avoided. If your dog has drunk a lot of lemonade, and especially if it contains any xylitol at all, get on the phone with your vet immediately, as your dog will need treatment.

If there is no xylitol, you still shouldn’t offer it to your dog, as in the long term, sugary foods, snacks or drinks can lead to obesity, which carries a lot of health issues.

Sick Husky
Image credit: Pressmaster, Shutterstock

What Should I Do If My Dog Drinks Lemonade?

While we don’t recommend giving lemonade to your dog, that doesn’t mean they won’t find a way to drink yours. For some dogs, all you need to do is turn your back for one second and whatever is yours quickly becomes theirs.

A small amount of lemonade isn’t going to have detrimental effects in most dogs. However, depending on the amount consumed, your pup may experience some mild digestive  issues afterwards. Make sure to monitor them closely and offer fresh water.

If your pooch is not feeling well, is experiencing signs of skin irritation, depression or vomiting, or is refusing to eat, get on the phone with your vet, as they may need a check up.

And as we said before, if there is xylitol in your lemonade, this warrants a trip to the vet.

Image credit: Avadesign69, Pixabay

Divider 3Dogs and Lemonade

So, while lemonade may seem like an ideal treat for us, it can be a big risk for your pup.  Compounds such as citric acid, psoralen and limonene, when ingested in excess, and added sugar, especially xylitol which is directly toxic, can all immediately affect your dog’s health.

The best way to quench your dog’s thirst is simply water or a few ice cubes on a hot day. If you are looking to give your pup a liquid treat, check out Liquid Treats for Dogs. They’re made with ingredients that are dog-friendly and they’re sure to love the unique rollerball delivery design.

Featured Image Credit: JillWellington, Pixabay

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