Can Dogs Eat Limes? Is It Safe?

There are many uses for limes and other citrus fruits, which allows them to be eaten in various ways. All are home to many vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants, proven to be safe for moderate human consumption.

Unfortunately, these health benefits do not carry over to our beloved furry companions. Lime, an acidic fruit with various compounds and substances, is not able to be digested properly by your dog, and will end up doing much more harm than good.

Why Your Dog Should Steer Clear

The biggest culprits of your dog’s inability to properly digest limes are the essential oils and phototoxic compounds contained, such as the psoralens and linalool. These compounds are safe for humans but toxic to dogs, and can lead to Lemon and Lime Poisoning if too much is eaten. Characteristics of extreme Lemon and Lime Poisoning can include;

  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Loss of Coordination
  • Rash / Skin Irritation
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Liver Failure

As a tiny bit of lime consumption may not hurt them in the long run, short term and uncomfortable problems from even a small consumption may arise for them, such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Drooling
  • Excessive Thirst

The psoralens in limes can produce other side effects, such as rashes and itchiness in their groin area, blisters, and nausea. These problems can be experienced by humans, as well, if an abundance of psoralens are consumed.

Psoralens are a phototoxic compound, making your dog more susceptible to UV damage and skin issues after consumption.

The citrus oil derivative linalool is an essential oil that is included in many flea shampoos and pet sprays, although it is not proven to necessarily be the safest substance for them to be exposed to, especially not to consume. An abundant consumption of linalool by your dog can lead to drastic issues such as coma, seizures, and even death.

Limes are a very acidic fruit, with many acidic properties, including citric acid. In a dogs diet, acidic properties are not common at all. Any bit of new acid introduction can throw off your dogs gastrointestinal functioning, leading to possible indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea and change in appetite. The acidic properties, in combination with the essential oils and compounds, make it nearly impossible for your dog to digest properly, making the lime a wasted and unhealthy snack at best.

The acidic properties, over time, will cause wear-and-tear on your dog’s teeth and dental structure. For this reason, and the others mentioned, acidic foods, in general, should be left off the menu for your dog.

There is always the chance that your dog is allergic to limes and other citrus fruits, if you were not previously aware. If they happen to be allergic, lime consumption can exacerbate the potential issues and cause others to arise, making it even more risky for your dog to eat limes.

Health Benefits Of Limes Found In Other Foods

Evidently, it is not safe for your dog to consume limes and citrus fruits, and other alternatives should be considered. Limes are packed with nutrients, such as carbs, fibers, Iron, Calcium, Potassium, and Vitamins A, B and C! Luckily, these nutrients can be found in other foods, fruits and veggies that are safe for your dog’s consumption. These include, but are certainly not limited to;

  • Watermelon
  • Blueberries
  • Sweet Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Apples
  • Green Beans
  • Cantaloupe

Safe, moderate consumption of some of these foods from time to time will prove to be an excellent nutritional supplement that can help your dog reach their recommended daily value of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients!

Limes .. Just Leave Them Out!

As limes have proven to be a beneficial nutritional supplement to humans, these effects are unfortunately not realized by our dogs, due to their inability to properly digest the substances and acidic compounds limes contain. Fortunately, there are tons of other options out there for your dog, so really, there is no need to worry about crossing limes off the menu. In the end, limes will only hurt them, so take the time to seek out other safe human foods that your dog can eat to help them achieve a well-rounded diet!

Sources

“What Are the Side Effects of Psoralen?” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/qa/what-are-the-side-effects-of-psoralen.

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