What Are the Benefits of Lemon Juice for Dogs?

By Karen S. Johnson

Lemon juice is likely not your dog’s drink of choice, but he can look cleaner, feel healthier and may even behave better with help from this tart tonic. One word of caution: All parts of the lemon tree are toxic to dogs, so if you grow your own lemons, erect a barrier that prevents your dog from chewing on any part of the plant.

Flea Repellent

In just a few minutes you can harness the power of the d-limonene present in lemons and use it to protect your dog from fleas instead of harsh chemicals. Bring a pint of water close to its boiling point, then add one sliced lemon, including the peel. After steeping for several hours or overnight, rub it into your dog’s skin with a sponge daily for a few days. It will also help relieve any existing flea bite irritation.

Refreshing Rinse and Coat Whitener

Make a paste with equal parts lemon juice and baking soda, and rub it onto any stains on your dog’s coat or skin. Leave it on for at least 10 minutes and then rinse. If you suspect allergies or some other skin condition, consult your veterinarian before treating these stains yourself, and be sure you keep this mixture far away from your dog’s eyes. You can also use this solution as a refreshing after-shampoo rinse over your dog’s entire body; it may lighten his coat, particularly if he spends a great deal of time in the sun.

First Aid

Get your dog to the veterinarian as quickly as possible if he ingests a toxic substance, but while you’re waiting, lemon juice is handy to have on hand if you know he has swallowed an alkaline substance. Do not induce vomiting; rinse his mouth, then mix a tablespoon of lemon juice with a teaspoon of sugar to neutralize it and reduce any burning. Place the lemon mixture in the back of his mouth with a syringe or eyedropper.

Vitamin C Source

Consult your veterinarian if you are contemplating supplementing your dog’s diet with lemon juice as a source of vitamin C; most healthy dogs can produce their own vitamin C, and any excess may cause bladder stones. Extra vitamin C may be warranted for older dogs or if your dog has kidney disease. Check your dog food to see if extra vitamin C has already been added before supplementing.


If your dog is like many of his canine peers, he’ll hate the smell of lemon juice. Because of this aversion, dog owners may use the pungent juice to discourage unwanted behaviors, such as by pouring it on his stools to stop him from eating his feces. You can purchase spray dog collars that spray lemon juice in your dog’s face when he barks, but since this can also discourage helpful barking, such as during a home invasion, work with a professional trainer to try other methods first.