Can Dogs Eat Limes? Is Citrus Toxic to Dogs?

Dog lime safe cover

While we humans love to squeeze a freshly cut lime on top of our favorite dishes and not to mention beer and tequila are served with a wedge of lime as well, so it being such a huge part of our diet, it is natural to wonder if our pooch can indulge in some. Not the liquor, but the lime, of course. The answer to that question is a big NO. Now you might be even more confused because you must have seen countless videos over the internet, where owners feed limes to their dogs, naturally, they spit it out but you wouldn’t take it for health risks. However, your pooch can get poisoned by lime and lemon alike.

What is Lime Poisoning?

The peel and the white fleshy part of lime are not dangerous to hounds, they might not like the taste of it, but they wouldn’t get ill by chewing on it. The real danger lies within the juicy part of the lime, which we humans adore, citrus fruits contain two essential oils known as Limonene and Linalool, along with psoralens, which is a phototoxic compound (makes one’s eyes and skin extremely sensitive to sunlight). Your pooch might experience an upset tummy when ingested lime in small amounts, but large quantities can pose a serious threat. When ingested in high doses, dogs can get poisoned, and this can induce diarrhea, photosensitivity, vomiting, and tremors. In extreme cases, it will result in depression, failure of the liver, and even sudden death. Therefore, it is crucial that you must never feed your dog limes. Now thankfully, nature has thought of this, and dogs just don’t find limes palatable, but nature didn’t know that we humans would be terrorizing dogs just for some internet likes. ((Wag Walking))

Causes of Poisoning

As we know now that this is caused by three compounds, but what are they exactly?

Limonene structure

Molecular structure of Limonene

  • Limonene: This essential oil is responsible for the distinct aroma of citrus fruits. If you’ve ever used or consumed something that says lime or lemon flavor, it is this substance that gives it that familiar smell. Interestingly, D-limonene is often used in shampoos for dogs, but how it is processed, makes it safe for dogs, but it can be lethal for cats.
  • Linalool: Similar to Limonene, it is one of the aromatic substances as well. However, this is often used as insecticides.
  • Psoralen: While it is used for treating skin disorders and similar conditions, it can induce phototoxicity in dogs.

These three compounds combined react with dogs and results in poisoning.

What to do if your Dog did end up Eating limes?

Now dogs don’t find limes tasty, and will simply make a mad face even if you try to feed them. However, let’s assume that you are a health nut and throwing a party for your yoga buddies, now naturally you’d be making guacamole, and lots of it. You squeezed a good amount of limes into the bowl and you’re aware that Fido loves him some avocados, and as soon as you turn around to get your phone to look for the recipe, the guacamole is gone, and all of it is in the Fido’s tummy. Well, heck, now what?

Dog ate lime now lime

Poor sick dog

First and foremost, look for early signs of poisoning, if they are shaking, vomiting, and if they have a lack of appetite. If you happen to have a smaller dog, they are at a higher risk because even a small amount of these compounds can cause serious issues. At this point, you’d want to avoid any food for at least 24 hours, and make sure they are drinking water because food can cause further gastrointestinal issues. If you are absolutely certain that your pup only had a trace amount of lime and are not developing serious symptoms, only then it is fine to wait for some time. However, if you are uncertain about the dose, simply rush to the vet.

What if their Skin got Exposed to Lime?

Dogs just don’t go out looking for limes. They can only come into contact with one if you either have a lime tree in your backyard or you left some sliced limes on the countertop. While it is not as severe as ingesting the lime, but their skin can still absorb the toxins that will lead to rashes and irritation. Make sure you wash your dog’s coat thoroughly with soap and water, avoid using shampoos that contain limonene. Following this, they will feel much better, but if you see the condition persistent, visit a vet.

Other Sources of Citrus

While limes are easy to avoid, there are other plants that contain those three compounds and must be avoided for dogs.

  • Beech trees
  • Cinnamon
  • Laurels
  • Mint plants
  • Rosewood

But What of Vitamin C?

In the last years’ pandemic, you might have heard pretty much every doctor stating that you need to boost immunity, and one of the easiest ways to do so was getting plenty of Vitamin C. Therefore, it is only natural you’d want to give it to your pup. In fact, it is good for your dog as it provides them with important antioxidants, that keep your dog’s coat in optimal condition. Additionally, similar to us, it enhances their immunity; ability to fight off harmful bacteria, viruses, and infections. Lastly, Vitamin C helps in the production of collagen which helps your dog avoid any joint issues.

Vitamin C lime

A shiny boy

One positive thing is that dogs can naturally synthesize Vitamin C in their liver, however, some supplements can be beneficial to them.

Natural Sources of Vitamin C

While it is essential that you give them Vitamin C, it is also important to know what sources to use.

  • Asparagus, you can start adding this into their diet in small amounts, as it is easily one of the superfoods. Include this into your own diet as well.
  • Kiwi, another fruit that is advised to recovering patients.
  • Mango. A yummy snack and it can also work as a treat reward.
  • Sweet potatoes. Another amazing vegetable that must be used like carbohydrates.
  • Parsley. A tasty herb and it is used in pizza sauces as well, so it is a must.

Now you know that lime is truly an enemy of the dogs, and they must be avoided at all cost. Next time if you come across a video of someone feeding lime to your dog, just dislike it and report it for animal abuse, because it truly is.

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