Though there are (unfortunately) lots of videos online of people feeding their dogs sour citrus fruits to humorous effect, this is actually a very bad idea. The RSPCA issued a warning about the dangers of these fruits to dogs after these videos surged in popularity. Not only are citrus on the list of fruits not to give your dogs, they are actually quite toxic to canines. Just because your precious doggy shows an interest in the yummy citrus fruits you eat and use in cooking, don't immediately assume they're harmless to him. Assumptions are often a recipe for disaster. If your dog accidentally eats any type of citrus, it's smart to contact your vet.
Apart from the fact that your dog may reject the sour taste, it's very important to keep your pet away from lemons. The ASPCA notes that the fruit is indeed toxic to dogs, and also to horses and cats, for that matter. The poisonous components are the psoralen compounds and the aromatic oils. If your doggie gets his paws on a lemon, he may experience unpleasant side effects including diarrhea, throwing up and even unusual light sensitivity.
When it comes to dogs, the situation is very similar with limes. Just like the lemon, the ASPCA reports this sour green fruit is also toxic to canines. If you have a lime tree growing in your backyard, make sure your curious pooch stays away from it no matter what. Consumption of any part of a lime, especially in excessive amounts, may also lead to diarrhea, throwing up and sensitivity to light. Not a good time for you, and certainly not for your doggie, either.
Although a dog may certainly prefer the taste of a tart orange over a lemon or lime, it's still crucial for you to keep your pet away from any and all orange trees. As with lemons, limes and even grapefruit, ASPCA maintains that citric acid content of oranges may be risky to dogs. The acid is found all over the plant, from the actual fruit and the seeds to the peelings, leaves and stems. The little guys can't avoid the stuff. If your dog gets any of these things into his mouth and eats them, especially in big amounts, issues with the central nervous system may arise.
However, if your dog finds a piece of orange fruit somewhere in your home -- say through digging in the kitchen trash -- and swallows a small piece, he may be OK, apart from diarrhea and a slight bellyache. If you have any concerns regarding his reaction, notify the veterinarian immediately.
Other Dangerous Fruits
Citrus fruits aren't the only possible fruity hazard out there. Other types of fruits may also be dangerous to your pet, which is why it's very important never to allow him to eat a "human food" item if you're anything less than 100 percent sure of its safety. The Humane Society of the United States maintains a detailed list of fruits and fruit parts (stems, pits, stems, seeds, and more) that are toxic including grapes, cherry pits, apple seeds and peach pits. Make sure that all of these things are out of your doggie's reach so they can stay happy and healthy.