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Food & Diet

Can Dogs Eat Lime? Let’s Put The Zest to The Test

At A Glance

Have you ever been eating key lime pie in front of your dog and wondered, 'are limes and lemons good for dogs?'. Before you share lime & lemon flavored food with your pet, remember:

  • Dogs cannot eat limes or lemons
  • Even brushing past a lime tree or skin contact with a lime is a no-no
  • Lime toxicity in dogs requires veterinary care

Last Updated on: January 9, 2023




You might be tempted to give your dog a lick of lime to observe their reaction, and you might have wondered, ‘can dogs eat lime?’ to jazz up their meals. But the truth is no, limes and dogs don’t mix.

Limes contain citric acid, which in large amounts can cause gastrointestinal upsets and central nervous depression.

When it comes to giving your dog any questionable food you’re unsure of, it’s best not to. After all, humans and dogs are physiologically different, and foods such as limes that are harmless to us can be potentially deadly to dogs.

If your dog is unlucky enough to encounter it, lime toxicity or lime poisoning can be a serious condition. One that warrants immediate medical attention and considerable aftercare. But don’t let ‘lime paranoia’ settle in, and don’t go bonkers lime-proofing your pooch.

This handy guide has all the information you need to know about dogs and their exposure to limes.

two cute dogs sitting

Are Limes Good For Dogs?

No, they are not!

All parts of these citrus fruits are toxic to dogs and can cause lime poisoning. Fortunately, limes’ astringent taste keeps canines from consuming copious amounts. Still, it’s best for dog owners to keep limes away from pets. So next time someone asks, ‘are limes good for dogs?’, the answer should always be a resounding ‘NO.’

Also, not all the food we eat can be safely consumed by dogs. Feed your dog its regular diet and watch it grow and thrive.

Despite your curiosity you’d never try your dog’s canned food, right? Well, it is the same the other way around. Don’t feed your dog limes or lemons, and if they’re curious about the lime-flavored treat you’re eating, don’t be tempted to give in and let them have a taste.

Why Are Limes Toxic To Dogs?

If you’re wondering ‘why are limes bad for dogs?’. The answer lies just beneath the surface. Lime peels contain two aromatic oils, limonene, and linalool. Both of these are responsible for that fresh, zesty, almost piney aroma humans love. However, dogs dislike the aroma, and for a good reason.

Limonene causes liver and kidney damage in dogs, and linalool causes abnormally low blood pressure and hypothermia. Also, the high citric acid in limes can cause bloating, gut and throat irritation, and strain on their organs.

How Much Lime Is Toxic To Dogs?

If the answer to ‘can dogs eat lime?’ is no, even a tiny amount of lime can be toxic to dogs. As Stacy Painter, an animal lover who has worked in the pet industry for over a decade, puts it, “In addition to toxicity, lime peels and seeds pose a choking hazard as well as the threat of an internal blockage.”

Is Lime Flavoring Okay?

Limonene and linalool are key components of any lime flavor. Therefore, the answer to the question ‘can dogs eat limes?’ and ‘can dogs lick limes?’ is a hard ‘no.’ Even lime flavoring isn’t okay to feed your dog.

Besides, bottled flavorings and syrups are high in sugar and preservatives, both of which aren’t the best things for dogs to consume. Sugar can contribute to a host of canine illnesses and disorders, while preservatives can cause fur and kidney problems in dogs.

Lime Essential Oils And Dogs

When ingested by a dog, the essential oils in lime, limonene, and linalool, metabolize in a dog’s liver. They accumulate there causing toxicity, lime poisoning, liver failure, and permanent liver damage.

So if you’re wondering, ‘can dogs eat lime chips?’, forget about it. Skip the limes and stick to other dog-safe fruits such as apples, bananas, mangoes, and blackberries.

Are Dogs Allergic To Limes?

No, dogs aren’t allergic to limes, but are limes toxic to dogs? Yes! As mentioned earlier, limes are toxic to dogs and cause lime poisoning. The high amounts of citric acid and the essential oils in limes can irritate your dog’s throat and digestive system.

Besides, dogs dislike lime’s sour, astringent taste, so it’s best to keep both apart.

Lime Poisoning

By now, we’ve established that dogs and limes don’t mix. But what happens if a dog eats limes? The answer is lime poisoning. Limes are very sour. It is, therefore, doubtful that your dog would ingest enough to trigger poisoning, but if this happens, contact a veterinarian immediately.

Symptoms Of Lime Poisoning

You should familiarize yourself with the symptoms of lime poisoning in the event of an emergency. Virgil Pittman, a dog lover, says, “Limes are toxic to dogs because they contain three essential oils including limonene, linalool, and psoralen. Signs of lime poisoning in dogs include excessive drooling, vomiting, tremors, weakness, loss of coordination, low blood pressure, and photosensitivity.”

Here’s a comprehensive list of symptoms of lime poisoning in dogs:

  • Cold limbs
  • Collapse
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Liver failure
  • Loss of coordination
  • Low blood pressure
  • Photosensitivity
  • Rashes or skin irritation
  • Sudden death
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Lime Poisoning Through Contact

Is citrus toxic to dogs? Definitely. Can dogs eat limes and lemons? No. And is consumption the only way dogs can suffer from lime poisoning? Definitely not. Psoralen, a compound found in lime peels and leaves, causes severe rashes and skin discoloration in dogs.

Treating Lime Exposure In Dogs

Are limes poisonous to dogs? Yes. But is exposure invariably fatal? Not necessarily. If you’re wondering what to do if your dog eats lime juice? Don’t try to make them throw up, and contact a vet immediately. While there is no antidote for either the psoralens or the essential oils, supportive treatments include fluid therapy, diuretics, and glucocorticoids.

For skin contact, wash the area with water and pet shampoo to help the psoralens dissipate. Several dog shampoos contain limonene and linalool as a fragrance and, therefore, should be avoided.

Can My Dog Eat Any Other Citrus?

By now, you know the answer to the question, ‘is lime toxic to dogs?’. But does that mean all citrus fruits are? Nope. Oranges, tangerines, and clementines are not toxic to dogs.

However, too much citric acid can be harmful to dogs, and all that sugar isn’t beneficial either. So while your dogs can eat other citrus fruits, moderation is key.

lime slices

Frequently Asked Questions

By now, we’ve firmly established that the answer to the question ‘Are limes safe for dogs?’, ‘Can dogs lick limes?’, ‘Can dogs eat lime juice?’ and ‘Is lemon or lime OK for dogs?’ is a big NO.

But here are the answers to some other frequently asked questions pet owners may have about their dogs consuming lime in different forms.

Can Dogs Eat Finger Limes?

Finger limes, key limes, Kaffir limes, Meyer lemons, Amalfi limes, Buddha’s hand citron, and any other relative of limes and lemons are best kept away from dogs.

They all contain varying amounts of limonene, linalool, and psoralen and have the same toxic effects. It’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid exposure to any sort of limes.

Can Dogs Have Lime Juice?

No. Dogs cannot have lime juice or lick limes. If you want to share a sip of lemonade with your dog on a hot summer’s day, don’t. And if you want to give them a dose of healthy vitamin C, treat them to a frozen orange or tangerine segment. You could also try vitamin C-enriched treats or chews.

Can Dogs Eat Key Lime Pie?

Who doesn’t love a slice of key lime pie? But dogs are naturally averse to the smells and taste of limes and lemons, so they might not favor key lime pie.

But even if your pet doesn’t, desserts have too many calories and could cause an unhealthy amount of weight gain. Plus, some types of key lime pie contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol which is highly toxic to dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Lime Ice Cream?

Both limes and dairy aren’t your dog’s best friend. And even though a teensy amount won’t hurt, the only thing worse than lime toxicity is lactose intolerance to boot.

Some human treats are best reserved only for humans and should not be fed to dogs. You might consider switching to doggie ice creams or frozen treats.

 

Paul Andrews
https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-andrews-172490189/

A digital marketing expert by profession, Andrews is a gifted writer and animal lover at heart. A self-confessed "pawrent", Andrews is well-versed in all things dogs. He uses his years of experience of raising puppies into show-quality dogs to help guide first-time pet parents. He believes in spreading the joy that comes with being a dog dad and advocates more families to adopt pets.