Lemon meringue is a popular dessert, particularly in the warmer months. The pie is a signature spring and summer dish. It can seem healthy, since it does include lemon. This might lead you to wonder if it’s healthy for your dog as well. Can you share this cool treat with your canine companion?
Can dogs have lemon meringue pie?
It’s perfectly normal, and even healthy, to share some of your favorite foods with your pooch. However, some foods can be toxic to dogs, even if they are healthy for humans.
Before you feed your dog what’s on your plate, it’s important to know if they can eat it. When it comes to lemon meringue, it’s not a great idea to share with your dog.
Is Lemon Meringue Toxic to Dogs?
The good news is that lemon meringue is not technically toxic to dogs. However, it’s not a good thing to feed them. It can cause some short term side effects, including serious stomach upset.
The Problem With Lemon Meringue
When you take a look at the nutritional content of a lemon meringue pie, it’s easy to see why it’s not good for your pooch. It’s high in sugar. It also contains more salt than your pooch needs.
One serving of lemon meringue pie contains:
- 8 grams of fat
- 50g carbs
- 33g sugar
- 320 mg sodium
- 2g protein
Sugar is the biggest issue with feeding your dog lemon meringue pie. Just like humans, dogs need carbs in their diet. Sugar from healthy fruits is ok for them in moderation. However, the sugar found in lemon meringue pie is not good for your pooch.
The initial symptom of too much sugar is typically an upset stomach. However, the effects can be more serious. Consuming too much sugar long term can lead to diabetes and obesity.
Diabetes isn’t a common problem for dogs, it only affects 1 in 300 pooches. However, obesity is a massive epidemic for canines. Over half of all dogs in America are overweight or obese.
Another concern with excess sugar consumption is pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can be either acute or chronic. When a dog develops pancreatitis, the pancreatic enzymes are released into the body. This causes inflammation of the pancreas. It can also damage the pancreas and nearby organs.
Signs of pancreatitis include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, pain, lethargy, and reduced appetite. Severe cases of pancreatitis require prompt veterinary treatment.
Salt is probably the last ingredient you are concerned about in a lemon meringue pie. However, it’s important to know, because dogs have a much lower need for sodium than humans do.
A 33 pound dog should have no more than 200 mg of salt a day. This means one slice of lemon meringue pie has more salt than even a large size dog needs for an entire day. Remember that dog food also contains salt, as do any treats you may give them.
It’s unlikely that one slice of pie will cause salt toxicity, but an entire pie could certainly be problematic. Too much salt can be dangerous, or even fatal, for your dog.
Too much salt can cause dehydration, because salt pulls water out of the cells. Your dog will drink more water, in an attempt to flush the salt from their system. Regularly consuming too much salt can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity, just as it can in humans.
Severe salt poisoning can cause severe dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and death.
Sure, some fruits are healthy for your dog. However, lemons are not one of them. Technically, lemons are toxic, but only in high amounts. In most cases, the toxic components of lemon aren’t the problem.
It’s actually the citric acid, which can irritate your dog’s stomach. Consuming lemons or lemon juice can cause them to have some major tummy troubles.
What happens if a dog has lemon meringue pie?
Perhaps you just couldn’t resist the puppy dog eyes, and gave your dog a small serving of pie. Perhaps you turned your head for a moment, and they helped themselves. You leave for a moment, and come back to find half the pie gone.
You feel a little bit of panic and concern. Will they be ok? What will happen to them? The good news is that none of the ingredients in lemon meringue pie are technically toxic, so your pooch is unlikely to experience any permanent harm.
However, depending on how much your dog ate and their size, you may be in for a rough ride.
In most cases, your dog will experience stomach upset after eating lemon meringue pie. If they only consumed a small amount, they may be fine. If they consumed a larger amount, or have a sensitive digestive system, you’ll need to be prepared for some tummy troubles.
This includes vomiting and diarrhea. They may feel unwell and experience some stomach pain as well.
What to do if my dog has lemon meringue pie?
If your dog has lemon meringue pie, you’ll need to consider how much they ate. In most cases, you’ll simply need to manage any symptoms that occur. However, if your pooch ate a large amount of pie, it’s best to call your vet.
Over the Counter Medications
The sugar and lemon juice in lemon meringue pie can combine to cause some major stomach upset for your pooch. Acid reflux, vomiting, and diarrhea are all common consequences of consuming the pie.
The good news is that you can do some things to ease your pooch’s tummy. One option is to give them over-the-counter medication.
Famotide or prilosec can be given as an acid reducer. Give 5 mg, or 1/2 a 10 mg tablet for each 20 pounds of body weight. Dosage can be repeated every 12 hours until symptoms subside.
Pepto is another option. Give 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight. Repeat every 4-8 hours as needed. Do not give more than 4 tablespoons.
These medications can be given for vomiting, diarrhea, or both. It’s also safe to combine the two.
Vets generally recommend withholding food for 12-24 hours if your pooch is having tummy troubles. Once you begin feeding them again, it’s best to give them a bland, easily digestible diet until their system recovers.
The best diet is boiled chicken combined with brown rice. This gives them the nutrition they need, while allowing their digestive system to recover. You’ll need to boil the chicken, removing all the skin before boiling. If the chicken has bones, be sure to remove them before serving.
Cook the rice. You’ll combine the rice and chicken in a 2 to 1 ratio. If you feed 1/3 cup chicken, you’ll feed 2/3 a cup of rice.
Feed this for 1 to 2 days, and then slowly begin adding their regular food back into their diet. Begin with 1/4 dog food to 3/4 chicken and rice. Each day, increase the amount of dog food, and reduce the chicken and rice.
If your dog begins having stomach upset, go back a step, or feed only chicken and rice for a few meals.
When to Consult a Vet
If you are concerned about your pooch, don’t hesitate to give your vet a call. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. While most cases of a dog eating lemon meringue pie can be handled at home, it is possible for it to cause more serious issues.
If your dog is experiencing severe vomiting or diarrhea, or they have bloody stools, it’s best to call your vet. If they develop a fever, lethargy, or a rash along with stomach symptoms, this also warrants a call or a check-up.
Lastly, trust your instincts. If something seems wrong, beyond simple upset, it’s best to give your vet a call.
How much meringue pie is too much for a dog?
There is no amount of lemon meringue pie that is good for dogs. That being said, a small slice isn’t likely to cause any serious health issues.
If your dog eats a large amount of pie, you can expect them to have an upset stomach. They may even require a bland diet for a few days, while their digestive system settles back to normal.
It is possible for a dog to develop pancreatitis due to the high amount of sugar and fat in the pie, particularly if they eat a large portion. It’s also unlikely, but possible, for them to get sugar or salt poisoning from eating a large portion.
The other concern is that if your dog is eating lemon meringue pie, they may be eating other foods that aren’t great for them. If you frequently feed your pooch unhealthy treats, they are at a higher risk for pancreatitis, diabetes, and obesity.
Is lemon toxic to dogs?
Technically, yes, lemon is toxic to dogs. They contain limonene and linalool, which are essential oils from the lemon. They also contain the phototoxic compound known as psoralens.
These compounds are only toxic to dogs in high amounts, and it’s rare for a dog to ingest enough for it to be a problem. Typically, they don’t like foods like lemon, because they taste bitter.
They instinctively avoid the taste, because these foods are not good for them. However, when paired with tasty sugar and other ingredients, your dog won’t think twice about consuming some lemon.
Symptoms of Lemon Poisoning
Although it’s rare, lemon poisoning is possible. Signs of lemon poisoning include:
- Excessive drooling
- Sensitivity to light
- Rash or skin irritation
- Loss of coordination
Unfortunately, lemon poisoning can cause more severe problems as well. These include liver failure and sudden death.