Vet issues warning over viral dog TikTok

tiktok trend

Dr. Anna Foreman, Everypaw Pet Insurance’s in-house vet, has issued an urgent warning for pet owners as a TikTok trend has gone viral, where pet owners are throwing lemon slices into their dogs’ mouths and filming their reactions.

The hashtag #DogVSLemon has amassed 20.1 million combined views on TikTok. In one recent video, which has had over 16 million views, a pet owner is seen throwing a slice of lemon into their dog’s mouth, with the dog looking visibly shocked and the piece of fruit almost getting stuck in its jaw. Since the release of this video, online searches for ‘dogs eating lemons’ have increased by 65%.

In light of this, Dr Anna has spoken out on the dangers of this trend…

What are your thoughts on this viral TikTok trend and viral video?

The theory behind this video is interesting. 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, a dog will automatically eat it and risk toxic effects, even if an owner tells them to ‘wait’ or ‘stop’.

Many dogs will eat anything thrown at them (or grab any food on the floor etc.) without a second thought, often not even sniffing or tasting it first. This can be good in a few scenarios, for example with giving a dog a tablet, however can be quite dangerous in many others.

What are the potential consequences of following this trend?

The flesh of citrus fruits such as orange and grapefruit are not toxic to dogs, however contain moderate quantities of sugar and can cause vomiting or diarrhoea if consumed in large quantities. Sour citrus fruits such as lemon and lime tend not to be palatable to dogs, however if eaten in anything more than minimal quantities can cause gastrointestinal upsets or more severe clinical signs like collapse.

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. Dogs have an associative memory – although it is unlikely that performing the actions in the video will lead to distrust between a dog and its owner, when smelling or tasting lemon in the future, a dog may negatively associate this with their owner.

Are there any positive aspects to this trend?

This could be a valuable training tool for dogs who are prone to eating things they shouldn’t! If a dog is taught to be more restrained before eating an item, this could save these events from occurring. After catching and tasting the lemon, this dog may do the same thing again if repeated, however after a couple of repeats, the dog will associate the consequences of their actions. They will then sniff the lemon first before trying to eat it, and will be put off from the smell alone.

The dog has essentially been taught to hesitate before eating something. This hesitation may then allow a ‘wait’ or ‘stop’ command to be listened to, as their mind will not be automatically telling them to eat the item.

Do you believe there’s been a rise in the number of people exploiting their pets/potentially putting them in harm’s way in the name of ‘entertainment’ recently?

I believe there has been a rise in the number of animals misused on social media for entertainment. Whether it be animals put in stressful or dangerous situations for entertainment, animals wearing clothes or being dyed, or concerning behaviours or characteristics being normalised, it is concerning the popularity that these videos receive.

Many members of the public do not understand animal behaviour, and are unable to recognise the signs of stress and aggression that they exhibit. This puts not only an animal in a dangerous position, but also those around it.

There is also a lack of education surrounding the health concerns of certain breeds – particularly brachycephalic dogs such as French Bulldogs. These dogs are perceived as ‘cute’ and thus desirable, rather than their very common, potentially life threatening (or at the least, impacting) ailments being highlighted.

This is a guest post by Dr. Anna Foreman. Want to write for us? Visit or email



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