Can Dogs Eat Lime? Everything You Need To Know

No, dogs cannot eat lime as it is not safe for canine consumption. Lime and all parts of the citrus fruit, the peel, or plant material are toxic to dogs and lead to illness when consumed. The citrusy nature of the fruit, with its bitter and sour taste, keeps the dog away from the fruit. Lime contains high amounts of citric acid and essential oils, irritating a dog’s digestive system. Lime peels consist of oils that cause illnesses in dogs like diarrhea, vomiting, digestive upset, and even poisoning when consumed. Notably, Lime seeds can lead to choking in dogs.

What is Lime? 

Lime is a round-shaped, green-colored citrus fruit containing acidic juice vesicles. Limes are sour and help enhance the flavor of food and beverages. They are high in vitamin C and grown throughout the year. There are many species of citrus trees with fruits called limes, including fruits like Key lime, Persian Lime, Makrut Lime, and Desert Lime. And all the fruits called limes have a diverse genetic origin. Many other fruits are called limes, like Spanish lime, Wild lime, etc.. are not citrus fruit.

Lime Nutritional Value

Raw lime contains 88% water, 10% carbs, and less than 1% of fat and proteins. In addition, they are rich in vitamin C and are as high as 35% present in limes. Furthermore, lime juice contains citric acid. Additionally, lime pulp and peel contain phytochemicals which include polyphenols and terpenes. A 3.5 oz of lime consists of:

Energy30 Kcal
Carbohydrates10.5 g
Sugars1.7 g
Dietary Fiber2.8 g
Fat0.2 g
Protein0.7 g
Thiamine (B1)0.03 mg
Riboflavin (B2)0.02 mg
Niacin (B3)0.2 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)0.217 mg
Vitamin B60.046 mg
Folate (B9)8 μg 
Vitamin C29.1 mg
Calcium33 mg
Iron0.6 mg
Magnesium6 mg
Phosphorus18 mg
Potassium102 mg

Other constituents

  • Water 88.3 g

Ideally,  one raw lime contains more than 80 % water, vitamins, and a certain amount of fat.

History of Lime

Most of the varieties of limes belong to Southeast Asia and South Asia. However, later they were cultivated around the world due to migration and trade. One of the earliest citrus fruits is Makrut lime, which humans introduced to the world. Later, they were cultivated worldwide during the Austronesian expansion between 3000 – 1500 BC. They were also grown in the Middle East and the Mediterranean region through the spice trade as early as 1200 BC. During the 19th-century, the British soldiers used lime to prevent scurvy. Interestingly, British soldiers were nicknamed “Limey” due to their usage of limes.

Is Lime Safe for Dogs?

No, lime is not safe for dogs and is toxic when consumed. When consumed in large quantities can lead to stomach upset, acute poisoning, and phototoxicity. All parts of the lime plant are toxic to dogs and lead to serious illness. Lime peels cause digestive upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. In addition, lime contains essential oils, which may lead to poisoning. Consumption of essential oils leads to lethargy, sensitivity to light, low blood pressure, loss of coordination, and liver failure. Also, the lime peels and seeds lead to choking in dogs and internal blockage. Even a lime tree in the backyard and its dried leaves may cause adverse effects like skin irritation, rashes, and red spots if the dog comes in contact with it. The compounds in lime can be toxic enough to the dog that a slight touch with any part of the plant can make the dog sick.

Why is Lime Bad for Dogs?

The component and essential oils present in the lime is toxic to dogs.

Limonene – limonene is an essential oil present in the lime peels and gives the fruit its scent. It is used to add flavor and fragrance to many products. However, this component is toxic in dogs and can even cause acute poisoning when consumed.

Linalool – Linalool too is an essential oil and contributes to the scent of the fruit. The component is present in peels, the flesh of the fruit, and the leaves of the lime plant. They cause sickness in dogs when consumed or even touched. 

Psoralen: The ingestion of psoralen can be harmful to dogs. The seeds, pith, and skin are most densely concentrated with psoralen. Even the flesh of the lime has psoralen. The ingestion of psoralen can lead to: 

  • Dizziness 
  • Skin rashes 
  • Scabs 
  • Sunburn 
  • Light sensitivity 
  • Weakness 
  • Collapse 
  • Obstruction in Gastrointestinal Tract 
  • Choking 

Essential Oils: Because essential oils such as limonene are concentrated mainly in limes, even licking them a bit may cause health issues in dogs. The most common symptoms are: 

  • Skin irritation 
  • Nausea 
  • Tremor 

Citric acid: Consuming limes can also lead to toxicity in dogs due to the citric acid. The consequences of consuming citric acid are: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Gastrointestinal issue 
  • Abdominal pain 

Sugar: Limes are rich in sugar content which can be highly unsafe for your dog’s health. The sweetness present in the fruit juice can negatively impact a dog’s metabolism. It may also cause high blood sugar, diabetes, heart problems, and obesity.

What if the Dog Eats Lime?

The risks of consuming lime include:

  • Acute poisoning: the lime and its sour taste can cause severe poisoning, and the symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, excess drooling, diarrhea, loss of coordination, low blood pressure, and tremors. Poisoning due to lime consumption can lead to liver failure in dogs.
  • Stomach Upset: Consumption of lime immediately causes stomach upset. The compounds present in lime, like citric acid, lead to heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion, etc.
  • Phototoxicity: Psoralen present in the lime leaves and peels causes red spots and skin irritation in dogs. If the dog suffers from Psoralen, exposure to UV rays from the sunlight causes pain and skin irritation.

The various other symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Diarrhea
  • Poor appetite
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Loss of coordination
  • Increased thirst
  • Yellow gums or skin
  • Cold limbs
  • Collapse
  • Depression
  • Excessive drooling
  • Liver failure
  • Photosensitivity
  • Lethargy
  • Rash or skin irritation
  • Sudden death
  • Tremors
  • Weakness

Visit the veterinarian to rule out the issues at the root. Then follow the diet as prescribed by the vet. Finally, offer your dog enough water to make him feel comfortable. If one has a lime tree in their backyard, it is always best to fence the area surrounding the tree. If the dog consumes the lime leaves, it may cause skin irritation. Wash your dog’s fur thoroughly with dog shampoo and soap. There are no home remedies for lime poisoning in dogs, and the treatment includes IV fluids for dehydration. If breathing is difficult, oxygen can be administered. If the dog suffers from tremors, antiseizure medications can be issued when the dog suffers from stomach issues after consuming lime. A procedure called Gastric irrigation may be performed, which helps remove the toxins from the digestive systems. Alternatively, charcoal can be administered to remove any toxins in the bloodstream. 

Alternatives To Lime

The healthy alternatives to lime that can be fed to your dog as a treat include 

  • Kiwi 
  • Raspberries 
  • Figs 
  • Apples (without seeds)
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas 
  • Sweet potato 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs eat lime?

No, dogs cannot eat lime as they are toxic.

Can dogs eat lime peels and seeds?

Lime peels have essential oils that may cause poisoning in dogs. Seeds lead to choking and eventually death in dogs.

Can dogs be fed lime as a treat?

No, lime is highly toxic. All parts of the lime plant including fruits are toxic to dogs.

How much lime can be fed to dogs?

Dogs should never be fed with lime as they are toxic to dogs.

Final Thoughts

After understanding the effects of lime on dogs, it is better to keep dogs away from limes. Any food other than dog foods should be first consulted with the vet before providing them to dogs. Better to be safe than to be sorry.

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