Can Dogs Eat Limes

Picture of a box of limes

As humans, we often find citrus such as limes and lemons refreshing, especially in drinks and desserts. You might have wondered if dogs can eat limes and other citrus foods. Most dogs find lime and other citrus unpalatable because of its bitter and sour taste. They tend to avoid eating or drinking anything made from these foods. But, are limes actually toxic to dogs? Find out more below.

Nutrition

As a citrus fruit, limes are loaded with vitamin C and dietary fiber. They are also a good source of calcium, iron, and copper. Limes are approximately 86 percent carbohydrates, 6 percent fats, and 8 percent protein.

One lime (about 67 grams) contains about 20.1 calories, 7.1 grams of carbohydrates, 1.9 grams of dietary fiber, and 1.1 grams of sugars. It has 0.1 gram of sugar and 0.5 grams of protein. It is very high in vitamin C.

Limes are also a good source of antioxidants including flavonoids, limonoids, kaempferol, quercetin, and ascorbic acid. They are believed to help boost immunity because of their high vitamins C. They may also reduce heart disease risk factors, prevent kidney stones, assist in the absorption of iron, and promote healthier skin.

Nutrition of limes, raw

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 126 kJ (30 kcal)
Carbohydrates 10.5 g
Sugars 1.7 g
Dietary fiber 2.8 g
Fat 0.2 g
Protein 0.7 g
Vitamins Quantity

%DV

Thiamine (B1) 3%

0.03 mg

Riboflavin (B2) 2%

0.02 mg

Niacin (B3) 1%

0.2 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5) 4%

0.217 mg

Vitamin B6 4%

0.046 mg

Folate (B9) 2%

8 μg

Vitamin C 35%

29.1 mg

Minerals Quantity

%DV

Calcium 3%

33 mg

Iron 5%

0.6 mg

Magnesium 2%

6 mg

Phosphorus 3%

18 mg

Potassium 2%

102 mg

Sodium 0%

2 mg

Other constituents Quantity
Water 88.3 g

Can Dogs Have Lime?

Most, if not all dogs have some aversion to limes and other citrus such as lemons and grapefruit. Dogs don’t have as many tastebuds as humans but they are well-equipped to taste the bitterness and tartness in citrus fruits. Bitterness often equates to something bad to eat in a dog’s mind even if a particular food is not harmful. Most dogs will not eat limes though they may smell or lick one first.

A lime is not exactly toxic or poisonous to a dog so if your dog should eat one, don’t panic. Just coming in contact with a lime (the peel, fruit, or juice) won’t hurt your dog. However, limes and other citrus fruits contain a lot of citric acid and it’s that acid that can be a problem for your dog. Your dog’s reaction to lime depends on how much he eats, the size of the dog, and how sensitive his digestive system is.

It also makes a difference if your dog eats the lime peel.

Eating a large amount of lime fruit (the inside of the lime) can lead to some serious problems for your dog. Your dog could experience the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Digestive upset
  • Vomiting

The lime peel contains the essential oils limonene and linalool, as well as a phototoxic compound known as psoralens. They can be toxic to dogs though the condition is rated as a mild for most dogs. If your dog eats lots of lime peel, this could be considered lime poisoning. Your dog could experience more serious symptoms such as:

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

If you think your dog has eaten a large amount of the fruit or the lime peels, contact your veterinarian immediately. The prognosis for recovery is good for most dogs especially if you contact the vet quickly.

It’s also possible that a lime could pose a choking hazard to your dog. Or, if he swallows a lime, it could cause an intestinal blockage. Again, most dogs will naturally steer clear of limes and other citrus because of their bitter/sour taste but it’s best to keep them where your dog can’t reach them just in case he decides to try one. I had a dog who really liked oranges (even with the peel on) so it’s always possible that a dog will decide to try some citrus.

You also should not give your dog key lime pie or any other dessert or food that contains limes. The amount of lime in these foods is usually small but your dog doesn’t really need desserts that contain lots of sugar.

In case you are wondering, agricultural lime and lime used on lawns is hazardous to dogs and other pets. Although it has the same name as the citrus fruit, it’s not related.

How Much Lime Can You Give Your Dog?

Don’t give your dog any lime. If your dog manages to eat a slice of lime, it’s not usually a cause for concern. Remember that the peels are more dangerous to dogs than the interior fruit or juice. However, if your dog consumes a lot of the fruit or juice, contact your veterinarian and ask for advice. If your dog eats lime peels, contact your vet right away.

The essential oils limonene and linalool are included in several dog shampoos as a fragrance. The citrus fragrance is very popular in dog shampoos and conditioners. They should not harm your dog. Of course, your dog shouldn’t consume dog shampoo – for many reasons, not just because it contains these essential oils.

Many dog foods use citric acid or vitamin C as preservatives. Vitamin C, an antioxidant, is considered to be a natural preservative. It’s often found in good quality foods. It should not harm your dog.

How Often Can You Give Your Dog Lime?

It’s best not to give your dog any lime so don’t make it part of your dog’s routine.

Conclusion

Many of us enjoy lime in drinks and foods but most dogs find the taste unappealing. Dogs don’t usually like the bitter taste of limes. The citric acid in limes can be difficult for a dog’s digestive system. In addition, the peels contain essential oils and a chemical compound which can be toxic to dogs. These conditions are worse if your dog eats a lot of lime or lime peel. It’s best to keep limes and other citrus where your dog can’t reach them, just to be safe.

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