Can Dogs Drink Lemonade? Risks, Benefits, and Alternatives

As the summer sun blazes and temperatures soar, it’s natural to want to keep our furry friends cool and hydrated. But wait, can dogs drink lemonade? 

Dogs should not consume lemonade due to its high acidity and sugar content. These can upset their stomach and lead to potential health issues. Luckily, there are some great alternatives to freshen up your pup.

What are the primary ingredients in lemonade and their effects on dogs?

Lemonade is primarily made of lemons and water. The lemons are freshly squeezed into a glass, and then the water is added to make the drink less concentrated. Besides these, sugar is also often added to make the drink taste sweeter. In the end, ice can be added to keep the lemonade cold and fresh.

What are the risks of dogs drinking lemonade?

Lemonade is not safe for dogs because it contains a few key ingredients that can be very bad for its organism

Sugar overload

Dogs can not eat too much sugar as their blood levels quickly spike. Long-term high blood glucose levels can lead to diabetes. Besides that, sugar is very caloric and causes weight gain, which can lead to obesity. Both of these chronic diseases can cause additional problems for dogs.

Acidic pitfalls

Lemons contain a lot of acidic substances like citric acid that can damage the dog’s intestines. This causes a range of digestive problems for dogs. Besides the acid, psoralen and limonene are additional key ingredients of lemons that cause skin irritation and neurological symptoms.

Kidney problems

High levels of acidity can strain the dog’s kidneys, which leads to kidney issues. The acidity causes stone formation which is a very painful experience. Kidneys play a crucial role in filtering toxins from the body, so if their function is diminished, additional health issues will appear.

Dental dilemmas

Using lemonade for dogs can erode tooth enamel. In time, this will cause tooth decay, which can be a very painful experience for dogs. Usually, tooth pain will cause dogs to have their mouths slightly open. It will also prevent dogs to chew food, which is why they will try avoiding it and lose weight in the process.

Additional ingredients

Sometimes, to avoid adding sugar and decrease the calories, manufacturers will add artificial sweeteners to their lemonade. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of this ingredient can cause hypoglycemia in dogs and lead to seizures and death.

What are safe lemonade alternatives for dogs?

Because this delicious drink is not healthy for our pets, there are other options to try out and help out to keep it fresh.

Water as hydration for dogs

Water is the essential ingredient every living being uses to stay alive. It’s essential for bodily functions and helps maintain overall health. Giving water to dogs is perfectly fine at any time, although there are cases when people give way too much of it. The Halifax Humane Society explains what happens if dogs drink too much water:

Symptoms of over-hydration (water intoxication) include staggering/loss of coordination, lethargy, nausea, bloating, vomiting, dilated pupils, glazed eyes, light gum color, and excessive salivation. In severe cases, there can also be difficulty breathing, collapse, loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, and death.

Rejuvenating broths

Vegetable broth is a great meal that will rehydrate dogs while providing proper nutrition. If you want something more caloric, making chicken or beef broth is a great option. Bone broth is another great dish. “Bone broth is naturally high in unprocessed collagen, which helps to promote healthy joints and improve skin health and elasticity.”, according to the Swan Center for Plastic Surgery.

Tail-wagging smoothies

Whipping up a nutritious and delicious smoothie for your pup is easier than you might think. Get some fruits that are safe for dogs like bananas and apples and add them to a blender. Then mix them with yogurt and you will have refreshing homemade dog-friendly drinks for your furry friend to enjoy.

Balancing with apple cider vinegar

Instead of using lemonade as a dog drink, consider mixing a small amount of apple cider vinegar with water. This drink might not be the tastiest, but it does promote a balanced pH and a healthy gut. Due to this, the dog’s digestion gets better.

Coconut water cool-down

This is another tasty drink that can be given to dogs, but only in moderation. It is a great source of electrolytes and can be perfect after a tiring exercise. That said, it also contains sugar, so it can’t be given too much or it will cause problems for the dog.

Milk is a possible option

For little puppies, milk is the perfect drink that will help nurture them and grow. This milk is received usually from the mother. There is also the option to buy evaporated milk for your puppy. That said, most dogs become lactose intolerant once they grow up and can not drink it anymore.

What to do if your dog drinks some lemonade?

If you see your dog sipping lemonade, you need to take it away and observe the situation. Try to figure out how much the dog managed to drink. Then, look for any additional symptoms. If you catch your dog vomiting or experiencing bad diarrhea, it might be time to call the vet.

Tell the veterinarian everything about the situation you are in. They will also require the breed, size, and age of the dog. Then, they will either give you advice or call you to the emergency room for a checkup. If the dog seems sick, it might need to be hospitalized to prevent further complications.

Can you prevent this from happening again?

If your dog doesn’t listen to you and keeps doing naughty things like drinking lemonade, you need to commit to training. Obedience training should be started from an early age so your dog has time to learn all the needed commands. Make sure you also implement positive reinforcement as it works on most dogs.

You can also split up your dogs and the lemonade as far away as possible. Larger amounts of the drinks should be put away safely in a fridge. Glasses full of the stuff should be on high counters or in your hand and unreachable to your dog. Monitoring your dog is also an important thing in these situations.

Conclusion – Can dogs drink lemonade?

Even though dogs can have some lemonade, larger amounts are not recommended for them. The fact that acidic drinks like this are known to cause problems already makes it a bad option for dogs. Instead, opt for safe alternatives like water, broths, and smoothies to keep your four-legged friend refreshed and healthy. 

When your dog does get its hands on this delicious drink, make sure to keep an eye out for any signs of intoxication and call a vet. In the future, take all needed measures to prevent the same from happening again. When life gives you lemons, perhaps it’s best to enjoy them yourself and keep your pup’s refreshments canine-friendly and safe.


Can dogs have lemon-flavored drinks?

It is recommended to avoid anything that has a lemon flavor for dogs. If the taste is from lemons, it might cause lemonade toxicity in dogs. If the taste is artificial, it still might cause problems.

Is it safe to add ice cubes to a dog’s water bowl on hot days?

Yes, adding ice cubes to your dog’s water can help keep it cool and encourage them to drink more. Just make sure the water is at room temperature or slightly cool to prevent discomfort.

Can dogs have other citrus fruits besides lemons?

Besides the fact that dogs can not drink lemonade, they should also avoid most citrus fruits due to their acidity. Small amounts of some citrus fruits should be fine for any dog, but larger amounts will certainly cause problems. It is better to avoid feeding them altogether.

Are there any fruits that dogs can safely enjoy as treats?

Yes, some safe fruits for dogs to consume include blueberries, strawberries, watermelons, and apples. They can be very beneficial and tasty if served right. Just make sure to remove the seeds and rinds before serving. You can also use them as summer treats for pets if you freeze them.

More dog nutrition resources

Here are a few other resources talking about giving certain foods to dogs and the effect they have on their health.

You can find a lot more information on the types of food you can feed your dog on our site Dogisa!

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