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Can Dogs Eat Citrus? A Complete Guide on Citrus Poisoning

If you're growing citrus plants or trees, you may find yourself wondering, "can dogs eat citrus?" We have the answer you need to know if you're a pet owner.

There’s a laundry list of “people foods” that dogs should never eat. This list includes everything from chocolate and coconut to nuts and onion.

A food that many people don’t realize dogs can’t have is citrus. If you have been wondering, can dogs eat citrus, you can find the answer here. It’s important to understand, as citrus can cause serious and dangerous effects.

Learn more about the danger of citrus fruits for your dog below.

The Dangers of Lemons and Limes

Not all citrus fruits are toxic, but two that can cause serious issues for pups are lemons and limes. While there are some limes with amazing healing powers for people, this isn’t the case for dogs.

Lemons and limes contain several essential oils, including linalool and limonene. They also contain a phototoxic compound that’s called psoralens.

While small amounts of this may not pose a serious threat, it may result in gastrointestinal upset. If a dog happens to ingest a larger quantity of these fruits or the trees they grow on, it can cause even more issues.

Both lime and lemon trees produce the phototoxic compounds mentioned above, and dogs should avoid ingesting them to prevent health problems.

Symptoms of Citrus Poisoning in Dogs

The symptoms of poisoning from lemon and limes, along with other citrus foods are caused by the combination of the compounds they include. Some of the symptoms of citrus poisoning in dogs include:

  • Weakness
  • Cold limbs
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Collapse
  • Tremors
  • Depression
  • Sudden death
  • Skin irritation and rash
  • Excessive drooling
  • Photosensitivity
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of coordination
  • Low blood pressure
  • Liver failure

If you notice any of these symptoms, or your dog is diagnosed by a vet with them, it is essential to think about future prevention and get care right away.

Contributing Compounds to Citrus Poisoning in Dogs

The toxicity of citrus plants is found in the essential oils’ linalool and limonene, along with psoralen. Learn more about these here:

Limonene

This is a terpene produced in every citrus fruit, which is the primary component in the aroma of various citrus fruits. It’s often used in cleaning products, flavoring compounds, and cosmetic products. The d-limonene substance is commonly found in shampoos and fragrances for dogs.

It’s important to note that while the high amount of this substance in shampoos is typically safe for the majority of dogs, it may be lethal to cats.

Linalool

Another terpene found in citrus fruits that contributes to the floral scent in citrus fruit, linalool, is typically used as an insecticide in lotions and soaps.

Psoralen

This is a compound that’s found in many plants, which include citrus plants, such as lemons and limes. While it’s effective as a treatment for skin disorders, it may also induce phototoxicity in dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Citrus: Now You Know

If you are wondering, “can dogs eat citrus,” the safest answer is no. It’s best to avoid these foods for your canine companions.

While this is true, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this tasty treat. Check out our blog to learn all about citrus fruit and citrus trees you can grow indoors or in your backyard!

If you want to have delicious, seasonal citrus fruit right away, join the Craft Citrus Club!

Get a curated box of fresh-harvested citrus fruit from South Texas sent to your door every month!

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