Although citrus trees are usually grown outdoors, they can also be grown as indoor trees. Citrus trees like lemons, limes, and oranges have beautiful scents and edible fruits. However, these trees may not be safe for your pets. In this article, I’ll examine whether citrus trees are pet friendly.
Are Citrus Trees Pet Friendly?
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Protection of Animals), many citrus trees are toxic to pets. These include lemon trees, lime trees, and orange trees. Citrus tree leaves, and the rinds of the fruits contain essential oils and organic chemicals called psoralens. These components can cause gastronomic distress for cats and dogs.
Citrus fruits also contain citric acid, which many cats and dogs don’t like. Many citrus trees also contain compounds like limonene, which occurs in the peel of citrus fruits. Limonene can be toxic to cats and dogs.
What Effects Do Citrus Trees Have on Pets?
Due to being moderately toxic, citrus plants can cause gastronomic discomfort for cats and dogs. The most common adverse effects are diarrhea and vomiting. Pets may also suffer from excessive drooling if they eat part of a citrus tree.
The essential oils in citrus trees could also cause dermatological problems for pets. These oils can irritate the skin, causing rashes and excessive scratching or licking. According to the ASPCA, ingesting citrus plants may also cause depression in cats and dogs.
What to Do If Your Pet Eats Part of a Citrus Tree
If your pet consumes part of a citrus tree, monitor them and call your veterinarian immediately. The symptoms may be minor and can pass within a few hours. Keep your pet well hydrated by making sure it drinks lots of water.
If your veterinarian advises, bring your pet in for an emergency appointment as soon as possible. The vet may also advise you to induce vomiting in your pet. This allows your pet to eliminate any citrus material they may have ingested. For dermatological problems, gently wash the area with warm, soapy water.
How to Keep Pets Away From Citrus Trees
In many cases, dogs and cats will usually avoid citrus trees because the scent is off-putting to their sensitive noses. However, if your pet is curious about your citrus trees, keep your plants somewhere that your pet can’t access. You may also be able to train your pet to leave your citrus trees alone.
If you’re growing citrus trees outside, erect a fence or other barrier to keep curious pets away. You can also surround your citrus tree with companion plants that deter your pet. Companion plants work by either producing an off-putting scent or forming a spiky barrier.
About Citrus Trees
Citrus trees are evergreen shrubs and trees that belong to the Citrus genus in the Rue family (Rutaceae). Citrus trees are originally native to Australia and eastern and southern parts of Asia. Some of the more common types of citrus trees include lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits.
Many citrus trees have medium to dark green elliptical leaves and small white flowers. Citrus fruits are usually oblong or spherical and can be covered with fine hairs. A thick, aromatic rind protects the soft inner flesh. Citrus fruits can also be juiced or squeezed for their pulp.
Primarily, citrus trees come from tropical and subtropical climates, so cultivating can be tricky. Citrus trees can be grown outdoors in USDA Zones 8 to 11. In colder areas, citrus trees can be grown indoors or in greenhouses.
Are Citrus Trees Pet Friendly FAQs
Are Orange Trees Toxic to Dogs?
Orange trees are toxic to dogs and typically cause gastronomic discomfort if ingested. The essential oils contained in orange tree leaves and fruits can also cause dermatological problems.
Are Citrus Leaves Toxic to Dogs?
Citrus leaves are toxic to dogs because they contain essential oils and organic chemicals. Some of these chemicals include limonene and psoralens. Citrus leaves can cause diarrhea and vomiting.
What Citrus is Toxic to Pets?
All citrus plants are toxic to pets like cats and dogs. Thankfully, pets tend to avoid citrus trees because they don’t like the smell. If your pet ingests part of a citrus tree, it will experience diarrhea and vomiting.
Citrus trees are toxic to cats and dogs due to the essential oils and organic compounds in their leaves and fruits. If your pet ingests citrus leaves, it will suffer from diarrhea and vomiting. Contact your veterinarian immediately and follow their advice.
For more, see our in-depth guide to the meaning and symbolism of citrus trees.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.