Can dogs eat limes? Are citrus fruits bad for your dogs?
There are many videos on the Internet showing the hilarious, albeit slightly distorted, reactions of dogs eating and tasting various strongly flavored foods.
A few years ago, one such video trend was to capture your dog eating a lime or a lemon. It got so popular that video compilations of dogs reacting to limes and lemons garnered millions of views.
Can dogs eat limes?
With so many people exposing their dogs to this super acidic citrus fruit, and many others laughing at these videos, you have to wonder if any of them stop every time and ask two simple questions: can dogs eat limes? And should you give it to them?
The short answer is no. At the very least, eating lime will cause gastrointestinal disorders in your pet. In fact, limes are among those fruits that should never be given to dogs. While limes and lemons might be good for you, they’re toxic for your furry friends.
Here’s a more detailed explanation. First of all, lime juice is a rich source of citric acid, and this substance, to put it mildly, isn’t good for your pet. It’s what might cause digestive disorders, diarrhea, weakness, and vomiting when taken in large doses. Other natural compounds worth mentioning are psoralenes. They are toxic to dogs and might cause muscle contractions and hypersalivation. In severe cases, dogs are unable to move. In mild cases, you can expect things like dermatitis and numerous skin rashes. And yes, psoralenes are found in abundance in limes. They are in the juice, zest, and even leaves.
Normally, dogs dislike the strong smell and taste of limes and other citrus fruit. But strangely enough, some dogs find them appealing and might eat quite a bit. If this happens, you should seek veterinary help immediately, as there is a high risk of liver failure, which can be fatal.
While numerous videos with dogs eating limes might be funny, it’s better to steer clear of such experiments. Limes are just not something you can safely give to dogs.
Citrus fruits and dogs
All citrus fruits contain psoralenes mentioned above. They can cause a number of symptoms in dogs depending on their exposure. However, psoralenes are not only found in citrus fruits. They can be in other plants such as celery, parsley, and figs.
“But that concerns only large quantities of the stuff. What if I just let my dog lick a lime?”, you might ask. Well, even though licking may not be medically harmful, it has its consequences. No one likes to be the object of a joke and no one likes to feel betrayed by someone they trust. Dogs are no different.
Undermining your dog’s trust in this way creates tension in the human-animal bond that is shared between you and your dog.
Some dogs may be more confident than others and may be less affected by a single incident. But other pets who are a little more hesitant and timid around new people and new situations may not be as resilient.
And what about something like lemonade, where the acidity of the limes is reduced by sugar and water?
While water will certainly reduce the concentration of psoralen, you still shouldn’t let your pup drink it. If you want to give your puppers a refreshing summer treat, ice cubes are an easy and inexpensive way to keep them cool.
What about lime essential oil?
Various online sources may claim that lime essential oil can be holistic, but you should always consult a veterinarian first. Many essential oils that are safe and beneficial for homeopathic use by humans are not safe for homeopathic use by pets.
The world of essential oils is also poorly controlled. You may not get exactly what you pay for, as the purity and potency may be different from one vial to the next.
A veterinarian will be able to recommend a good essential oil brand that is suitable for pets if you want to use it in your home.
Even if the essential oils are for your personal homeopathic use, you always need to have a pet-appropriate oil in the diffuser, as they will also be inhaling it.
So while limes are great for pies, cookies, and in refreshing drinks, keep them out of your dog’s feeder. A ten-second attempt to watch their reaction just isn’t worth it, and they’ll thank you for not tricking them into eating one.