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Can Dogs Eat Limes And How Do They React To The Sourness?

Dogs should not eat limes or their peels and leaves. The sourness is likely to put dogs off because it irritates their mouths and throats. 

Are you considering sharing your fresh limes with your dog?

This is not a good idea. Limes are not good for dogs and can seriously harm them.

But why is lime bad for dogs?

In this article, we discuss all the reasons why you should not give your dogs lime.

Can Dogs Eat Limes?

Dogs can eat a small piece of lime and not be affected. Too much lime can cause gastrointestinal upset or skin irritation for dogs. It’s safe to assume your dog does not have a desire for limes because they find the sourness unpleasant. 

If a dog happens to like lime, it is not a good idea to give it to them. The symptoms dogs experience when they eat limes can be life-threatening if not treated immediately.

What Happens When Dogs Eat Limes?

When dogs eat limes they are not harmed immediately but experience levels of discomfort. 

Large and small dogs react the same way to limes:

  • Eye irritation
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Decreased coordination
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Vomiting
sick dog

Are Limes Toxic For Dogs?

Yes, a large amount of lime is toxic for dogs. Limes are a citrus fruit that contains citric oils and other compounds that are toxic to dogs and can potentially kill them.

Lime plants are part of the group of plants that must be kept away from most pets[2]. Dogs can be affected by the essential oils in limes when they ingest limes or when their coats come into contact with lime peels and leaves.

Dogs can also choke from lime leaves and key limes.

Can Dogs Drink Lime Juice?

Dogs should not drink lime juice. It contains too much citric acid because it is squeezed from tens of limes. Dogs should not be allowed a single drop of lime juice. Lime juice can cause choking or coughing because of the sourness, and it upsets their stomachs.

Are There Any Nutritional Benefits In Limes For Dogs?

Limes have Vitamin C which dogs need for their immune system. It helps fight allergies, keeps their coat healthy, and prevents joint issues like hip dysplasia.

Are There Any Nutritional Benefits In Limes For Dogs

Dogs should not get their Vitamin C from limes. There are safe alternatives like:

  • Kiwi
  • Pineapple
  • Asparagus
  • Apples
  • Kelp
  • Parsley
  • Alfalfa

For humans, limes boost the immune system. Alongside other nutrients, they also have small amounts of magnesium, niacin, phosphorous, riboflavin, and folate.

Nutrients A medium whole lime (67 grams)
Calories 20
Carbohydrates 7g
Protein 0.5g
Fiber 1.9g
Vitamin C 22% of the Daily Value (DV)
Iron 2% of the DV
Calcium 2% of the DV
Vitamin B6 2% of the DV
Thiamin 2% of the DV
Potassium 1% of the RDI

Are Limes Poisonous To Dogs?

Yes, limes are poisonous to dogs. Limes have three main compounds called linalool, limonene, and psoralen and all three are toxic to dogs. All parts of limes contain these compounds and are poisonous to dogs.

Dogs can be poisoned by limes[3] by touching them. If you have a lime tree in your backyard and your dog rolls around in the leaves, you should look for skin irritation like a rash or red spots.

If you notice these symptoms, bath your dog immediately with water and soap. Scrub your dog’s coat to remove all traces of lime essential oils.

Are Limes Poisonous To Dogs

Are Citrus Oils Safe For Dogs?

No, citrus oils are not safe for dogs. Citrus oils metabolize in a dog’s liver and cause toxicity if they are ingested. Puppies and young dogs that have liver diseases can experience severe gastrointestinal upset from citric oils.

Dogs can be poisoned if exposed to citric oils. The severity of the poisoning depends on their size and the amount of citric oil they are exposed to. 

You may need to go to your vet for gastric lavage and activated charcoal to purge your dog’s stomach.

1. Linalool

Limes and their leaves are poisonous for dogs because they contain linalool. Linalool is one of the main ingredients that create the citrus scent of limes. It is used alternatively as an insecticide. It is found in high concentrations in the peels of limes as well as in their flesh.

2. Limonene

Limonene is also responsible for the citrus smell in limes and is used to infuse the citrus fragrance into human creams and soaps.

3. Psoralen

This is a phototoxic compound found in all citrus plants. It’s not an essential citric oil but it is toxic for dogs. For humans, psoralen can heal skin conditions but for dogs, it causes phototoxicity and other harmful side effects.

Dogs Can’t Have Limes But Can They Have Lemons?

Dogs should stay away from lemons as they contain the same poisonous compounds that are found in limes. Lemons also have limonene, linalool and psoralen.

If your dog eats a lemon they can experience mild symptoms of a gastrointestinal upset:

  • Drooling
  • Lack of appetite
  • Inability to stand
  • Dermatitis
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
Is Lemon Juice Concentrate Safe for Dogs

Are All Citrus Fruits Poisonous To Dogs?

Not all citrus fruit is poisonous to dogs. While all types of aromatic citrus oils are poisonous to dogs, some citrus fruits contain them in smaller amounts. If your dog has some of those citrus fruits they will not be harmed.

Oranges are a safer citrus fruit for dogs than limes and lemons. They are high in vitamin C and fiber. You should not let your dog eat orange peels because they are difficult to digest and can cause intestinal blockage. 

A big dog can have one whole small orange but keep it to one or two slices for smaller breeds.

Can Dogs Drink Orange Juice?

Dogs should not drink orange juice because it has no health benefits for them. It is made with many oranges which means it has a higher acid content and it has added sugar. If you give your dog orange juice it will be impossible to control how many oranges they eat.

Can Dogs Drink Orange Juice

What To Do If Your Dog Eats A Lime

If your dog eats a lime, try to find out how much lime it ate. Larger dogs can experience mild symptoms of poisoning if they eat a little piece of lime but that same amount can be more harmful to a smaller dog.

Do the following if your dog ingests a big piece of lime:

  1. Give your dog water to flush the lime out of their system. 
  2. Feed the dog less food in the following 24 hours to see how they react.
  3. Consult your vet immediately if your dog experiences visible gastrointestinal discomfort.
  4. Induce vomiting if your vet instructs you to do so.
  5. Fence off the area where the lime or lemon tree is to keep your dog from touching it again.


Keep your dog away from limes and lime trees. Check for items with citric oils in your house and make sure your dog cannot reach them. You can also train your dog to stay away from limes by giving your dog a firm “no” or “stay” when they are going after a lime or lemon. To give your dog vitamin C, look for safe alternatives that do not contain limes.


Can Dogs Eat Key Lime Pie?

Dogs should not eat key lime pie because they should avoid limes. Sweet desserts are generally not good for dogs because of their high-calorie content. It leads to unhealthy weight gain in dogs. 

A key lime pie can also contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol which is highly toxic for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Lime Ice Cream?

Dogs should not eat lime ice cream because it is infused with citric oils. A small amount of any ice cream will not harm your dog but it is a human sweet food that contains artificial sweeteners so it is not recommendable. If it has natural sugars, the amount of added sugar is too much for a dog.

Is Dolomite Lime Poisonous To Dogs?

Dolomite lime is powdered limestone used for agricultural purposes. It is used to increase the pH level of soil and decrease acidity. If you spread too much of it on your lawn it can burn your dog’s nose, throat, lungs, and esophagus.

About Dennis Stapleton

Dennis Stapleton has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and their relatives. He’s intrigued by their social structure and loves to write and teach about the world's most popular pet animal.