Lemons - Good for Dogs, Many Health Benefits and Uses

fresh lemon for dogs, health benefits and uses
8 min read
In this article:
  1. Health Benefits of Lemon for Dogs
  2. How to Use Lemon to Support Your Dog's Health
    1. Skin Conditions
    2. Vascular Damage, Frostbite
    3. Repel Insects, Mosquitoes
    4. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
    1. Shampoo, Cleanser, Rinse
    1. Eye Infections
  3. What Type of Lemon Should You Use?
  4. How to Add Lemon to Your Dog’s Diet.
  5. Serving Recommendations

1.0  Health Benefits Of Lemon For Your Dog

Antibacterial, Anti-fungal, Antiviral, Antimicrobial
Lemon helps protect against bacterial, fungal, viral and microbial infections and parasites.
Allergy Symptom Relief
Lemon can help reduce the symptoms of environmental allergies.
Offer lemon with Rooibos tea to your dog. For serving recommendations, and more on health benefits:
Replace synthetic-chemical household cleaners. Use lemon alone or in combination with other all-natural ingredients. Recipes for dog friendly household cleaners:
    Arthritic Pain Relief
    Fresh lemon can help relieve arthritic pain. Lemons are antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory and help remove toxins that contribute to inflammation in the joints. The antioxidant and enzymes in lemon also help support collagen and tendon health.

    Anti-Aging Support
    The high levels of antioxidants present in lemons help the body fight against aging.

    Fight Harmful Bacteria
    Fresh lemon juice kills many types of bad bacteria, including those that cause deadly disease.

    Inhibit Cancer
    The vitamin C in lemon helps protect cells from free radical damage. 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. 
    Fresh lemon has 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.
    Calming Affect
    Lemon acts as a sedative for nerves and can be used to help calm your dog's nerves.

    Detoxification and Protection From Poisoning
    The ancient Egyptians ate lemons and drank lemon juice in order to protect themselves from a variety of poisons
    Lemons are a natural remedy for food poisoning (salmonella and e-coli). 
    The powerful acids present in lemon juice can kill harmful microorganisms and toxins present in the digestive tract. These bad pathogens can enter a dog's body from exposure to:
    • Food contaminated with bacteria, fungi.
    • Harsh chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers).
    • Other biological agents. 
    Lemons are rich-in minerals and vitamins that help remove toxins from 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.

    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 (bacterial)
    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 worming aid.

    Liver Health
    Lemon stimulates the liver, dissolves uric acid and other poisons thereby supporting liver health.

    Metabolic Health
    Lemon contains a significant amount of pectin fibre 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 appropriate fruit and vegetables to your dog’s diet can also help your dog lose weight.
    Nutrient Absorption 
    Vitamin C helps the body absorb calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, selenium and glutathione work in tandem with Vitamin E to help prevent liver and gall bladder problems. As well lemon offers other long-term benefits, e.g., lemon can help prevent and alleviate digestive problems, especially malabsorption of nutrients. Just below, a list of vitamins and minerals in lemons.
    1. Very high in vitamin C
    2. Nature’s top source of citric acid
    3. 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.

    Appetite Stimulant
    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 bioflavonoids (vitamin P) that strengthen blood vessels and prevent internal hemorrhaging.

    Kidney and Bladder Stones
    Fresh lemon juice helps balance blood pH and urinary pH. 
    Dogs with bladder and kidney stones  have  an unbalanced pH.

    Fresh lemon juice is more effective than potassium citrate for reducing urinary calcium levels and increasing urinary output. 

    To learn more go to this article.
    Support for 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.

    2.0 How To Use Lemon To Support Your Dog's Health

    2.1 Skin Conditions

    Acne – Puppy Dermatitis (Impetigo and Acne), Skin-Fold Pyoderma
    Acne, often located on the chin or lips,  can occur in puppies 3 months of age or older. 
    Acne is common in Boxers, Bulldogs, Dobermans and Rottweilers, 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:
    1. Undiluted lemon juice (do not use undiluted lemon juice if the skin is broken as the undiluted lemon will sting)
    2. Green tea and lemon:
      1. 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
    3. Lemon and Manuka Honey:
      1. 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
    4. You can also bath the puppy in the treatments noted above.
    These treatments work best if applied twice a day.

    2.2 Vascular Damage, Frostbite

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

    2.3 Insect, Mosquito Repellent Aid

    Lemon when applied topically can be used to repel insects and parasites. Mosquitoes do not like the scent of citrus.
    Lemon Repellent Recipe:
    2.4 Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)        

    If you treat a UTI in its early stages 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).
    • 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 its time to get some professional help. You can read more about UTI's here.

    2.5 Shampoo, Cleanser, Rinse Recipe

    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:
    1. Steep a bag or two of green tea. 
    2. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature.
    3. Add the juice of a fresh lemon.
    4. Use the resulting liquid to bath your dog.
    5. You can also add a few tbs of organic, unfiltered, apple cider vinegar to the tea and lemon mixture.

    2.6 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
    More about eye infections -  cause, and natural treatments:

    3.0 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.

    The heavier and fresher the lemon the better the health properties of the lemon!

    4.0 How to Add the Lemon to Your Dog’s Diet

    Preparing the Lemon
    1. Freeze a whole lemon and grate a little over your dog’s food.
    2. Add fresh lemon juice to a water bowl. 
      1. Place the lemon water bowl next to your dog's regular bowl of water. 
      2. Remember to change the lemon water on a daily basis. Make sure your dog always has a bowl of pure water next to the lemon water bowl.
    3. Add fresh-finely minced lemon to your dog’s food.
      1. Peel the lemon and slice it into 4 to 6 pieces.
      2. Remove the seeds.
      3. Puree the flesh of the lemon.
      4. Add the pureed lemon to your dog's food once a day.
      5. Store any remaining pureed lemon in an air tight glass container (in the refrigerator) for up to two days. 
    Adding The Lemon to The Daily Diet
    Start with half the recommended lowest dosage in your dog's size range - see 'Daily Dosage' below;

    Over 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.
    5.0 Daily Serving Recommendations
    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.

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    Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld.

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