Can Dogs Eat Limes? Here’s All You Should Know

Can Dogs Eat Limes? Photo of a dog and limes.

Want to offer your dog a squirt of lime juice or a wedge of this tangy fruit on a hot day? But, can dogs eat limes? Here’s what you need to know about it.

Limes aren’t toxic for dogs, technically, but they are not a safe snack for them, either. The amount of citric acid in them can easily cause an upset stomach, creating severe dehydration, amongst other problems. Sometimes the aftereffects of that digestive problem can become fatal if it isn’t treated.

Is citrus fruit toxic to dogs?

You’ll be happy to know that citrus fruit isn’t toxic to dogs, but it is very dangerous. The citric acid in the fruit can cause a severe stomach issue in your dogs, leading to digestive issues leading to dehydration issues.

Citric fruit can set off a digestive chain reaction in your dog, which can be severe and potentially life-threatening if untreated.

What happens if dogs eat a lime?

If your dog eats a lime, it will depend mostly on how your dog’s stomach actually reacts to it. However, here’s the general process you can expect if this happens.

The juice will end up in your dog’s stomach, whether it’s licking the lime or eating the lime. This is a very acidic juice which is why it tastes sour to us. The citric acid will cause inflammation and upset your dog’s stomach since your dog’s natural digestive juices will heighten it.

Your dog’s system will digest the lime and its juice, and it will leave an acidic trail as it pushes through the body. This can cause vomiting and diarrhea as the body struggles with this acidity. 

This vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration, which will worsen the more that your dog does it. Dehydration can quickly escalate to severe dehydration, which will require immediate vet care to save your dog’s life.

What to do if my dog ate limes?

If your dog happens to get a wedge of lime, or an entire lime, you’ll want to focus on the following things:

  • Stay calm
  • Feed your dog a bland diet
  • Give your dog access to fresh, cold water
  • Put your vet on standby

The bland diet would consist of lean, plain chicken, boiled white rice, plain white bread, or mashed pumpkin. These bulky foods will help absorb the acid and digest it easier and faster than without. You should never force your dog to eat anything if they don’t want it, but it is a good idea to try to encourage your dog to eat these foods. 

This also will help with indigestion and dehydration since your dog will be able to keep something down.

Symptoms to look for if my dog ate limes

Danger signs if your dog’s eaten limes will focus on those for indigestion. These can include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach rumbling
  • Excessive panting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Thirst
  • Signs of distress

The more of these you see, the worse the indigestion is. The longer they go, the more severe indigestion and dehydration get. After a certain point, you will need to contact our vet for emergency care. If left untreated, dehydration will continue to escalate and cause a fatal reaction in your dog.

Every dog will react differently. Some might even be fine, much to your surprise—more on that in a bit.

Can dogs lick limes?

Dogs can lick limes without the worry of a toxic reaction! Sometimes a lick is all it takes for a dog to realize that limes are gross, and you’ll never have to worry about your dog accidentally scarfing a lime down again. 

Are limes poisonous?

So, let’s get this straight: limes are not poisonous for dogs. They just cause an acidic reaction that may irritate your dog’s stomach to the point where they will get severely dehydrated and need help. The lime itself is safe!

Can limes kill dogs?

Sadly, yes! Limes can cause such a bad case of dehydration that your dog may not survive it. That’s why watching for those symptoms above will be so important! Some dogs will react stronger than others, and some of the considerations include:

  • The size of your dog
  • Your dog’s health
  • Your dog’s stomach sensitivity
  • The ratio of lime to dog

The smaller your dog is, the less it will take for your dog to react. So, size, as well as the ratio between lime and dog, are essential. For instance, a single wedge would cause a stronger reaction in a chihuahua than in a Great Dane, which makes sense.

If your dog is sick or has a sensitive stomach, they’ll react easier and faster than otherwise strong and healthy dogs. Some dogs will have weak stomachs that a wedge would cause indigestion and dehydration. Dogs with stronger stomachs may find that wedge would give them an upset stomach and some mild diarrhea, but they’d otherwise be fine.

If you’re curious about how your dog will do, your vet would be the best and most experienced person to ask. They will know how to assess what is safe or unsafe for your dog, in particular.

Why are limes bad for dogs?

The problem ingredient in lime is citric acid. If the lime were free of that acid and just the tangy fruit itself, it would be harmless for your dog! That’s why lime juice (such as that from concentrate) is worse for your dog since it’s concentrated!

Why don’t dogs like lime?

This is a really neat survival instinct that they learned generations ago! Rancid of poisonous food often tastes sour or bitter. So, they learned to dislike anything sour or bitter to ensure that they didn’t eat anything rancid. While obviously not rancid, Limes will mimic that same taste, and dogs won’t eat them!

Dogs will often want to try lime, but they don’t like it. Even if they do like it, however, don’t let them eat it! Don’t use this as a reason to feed your dog’s limes!

Is lime flavoring okay?

There’s a difference between something like limes and their fruit and then lime flavored things like lemonade or lime-aide. Neither of these is a good idea because even though they don’t contain the same acidity, they do contain a lot of sugar. This can cause diabetes, obesity, and other health problems in your dog. 

Also, lime flavoring is often artificial, which means that you are introducing your dog to dyes and chemical flavorings that can be toxic in some cases. Never feed your dog chemical products without explicit permission from your vet!

When should I take my dog to the vet?

When it comes to your vet itself, you’ll want to bring them in the loop whenever you think that something is wrong. One of the biggest mistakes pet owners make is assuming that it’ll pass on its own. While indigestion and dehydration can pass on their own, it can severely impact your dog’s health and be fatal. Vet treatment is required whenever your dog is vomiting and unable to keep food down.

You are your best choice for understanding when you need to take your dog to the vet. You know when your dog is well or unwell. If you are ever unsure, you’ll want to trust that’s a reason to bring him in!

In general

Limes are not a good snack for your dog and can be dangerous if they overeat limes on an empty stomach.

The citric acid in limes can cause a dog to have severe indigestion, leading to severe and possibly fatal dehydration if your dog struggles with the acid. You shouldn’t deliberately feed your dog limes and should know the symptoms to watch for if your dog eats lime.

The more you know, the better that you will be prepared for taking the best care of your dog in the event of a medical emergency.

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Sara Santos

Writer, Editor and member of the Council, I am a dog person and I thrive to get the answers that will help you provide the best care a dog can have. You can also find me on my personal blog here.