When Fun Goes Fatal — The Dark Side of Dog Vs Lemon Challenge

A new trend has emerged on TikTok that sees pet owners engaging in a seemingly harmless game with their dogs. The trend involves throwing slices of lemon to dogs and capturing their reactions to the fruit’s sour taste.

Videos under the hashtag #DogVsLemon have garnered over 20 million views, enchanting viewers with the humorous facial expressions of dogs. However, veterinarians have raised serious concerns about the potential dangers this trend poses to canine health.

Lemons can cause severe gastrointestinal upset in dogs.

Photo: Adobe Stock / Yuri Kravchenko
Lemons can cause severe gastrointestinal upset in dogs.

Risks of Citrus Fruits to Canine Health

While the sight of a dog’s bewildered reaction to the sour taste of a lemon slice might bring a moment of amusement, the implications could be far from funny.

Dr. Anna Foreman, an in-house vet at Everypaw Pet Insurance, has voiced concerns over the trend.

“This dog will clearly try and eat anything that is thrown in its direction, and implies that it would do the same to anything found on the floor. This can be dangerous – for example, if a human drops something toxic to dogs, such as a raisin, chocolate, or onion,” she told Indy 100.

Choking hazards are a significant concern with the #DogVsLemon challenge.

Photo: Pexels
Choking hazards are a significant concern with the #DogVsLemon challenge.

Citrus fruits like lemons and limes can cause gastrointestinal upsets in dogs and, in more severe cases, symptoms such as collapse if consumed in significant quantities, Wales Online reports.

The playful act of tossing food for dogs to catch is fraught with risks, particularly the danger of choking.

“Throwing food at a dog for them to catch is a choking hazard, particularly if the piece of food is too large to swallow whole,” warns Dr. Foreman

Beyond the immediate physical risks, there’s the concern of dogs forming negative associations with their owners, linking the discomfort or distress caused by such activities to the people they trust, the Hindustan Times reports.

Citrus fruits like lemons contain compounds that are toxic to dogs in large quantities.

Photo: Adobe Stock / pirotehnik
Citrus fruits like lemons contain compounds that are toxic to dogs in large quantities.

The Role of Social Media in Animal Misuse

The rise of social media platforms like TikTok has facilitated the spread of trends that often put animals in uncomfortable or harmful situations for the sake of entertainment.

Dr. Foreman says, while there may be disregard for misuse of animals on these platforms, many people also fail to recognize signs of stress and aggression in animals, potentially endangering both the animals and those around them.

Large lemon slices can get stuck in a dog's throat, posing a life-threatening risk.

Photo: Adobe Stock / jonicartoon
Large lemon slices can get stuck in a dog’s throat, posing a life-threatening risk.

A Call For Responsible Pet Ownership

While social media trends come and go, the well-being of our pets should remain a constant priority. Veterinarians like Dr. Foreman play a crucial role in educating pet owners about the potential risks associated with seemingly harmless trends.

As responsible pet owners, it’s essential to prioritize the health and safety of our furry friends over fleeting online amusement.

Click below and call on TikTok to crack down on dangerous and potentially fatal content that puts animals and people in danger.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, spending time with his daughters, and coffee.
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