Baking soda is one of the most widely used household products. It’s versatile, it’s cheap, and it can achieve a lot of things, especially for cleaning. But can it be dangerous for pets, in general, and for dogs, in particular?
That’s precisely the question that we are going to answer in today’s article, so keep on reading!
External vs. internal use
First of all, baking soda isn’t dangerous if you use it externally. If your dog ingests a very small amount of it by accident, there is no need to be concerned. However, if you suspect that he or she has ingested a larger amount, it is definitely time to go to the vet as soon as possible.
Sodium bicarbonate can be utilized for anything from cooking to cleaning, and many house owners use it for cleaning and deodorizing their carpets, upholstery, and bathrooms. It has mild abrasive capabilities, so it is excellent for scrubbing surfaces such as your sink or bathtub.
There is no danger if you use baking soda for any of these tasks, and then you remove it from the surface. For example, you can sprinkle it on your carpets, leave it to do its job for 15-20 minutes, but you should then vacuum it so that your canine friend doesn’t accidentally ingest it or, worse, breathe it in.
Baking soda toxicity
You might use sodium bicarbonate for baking, and you can even make homemade treats for dogs containing this ingredient. However, you should know that the amount where it starts to get dangerous and poses a threat to your pet’s health is 20 grams per pound of body weight.
So, your pet’s weight has a lot to do in terms of whether he or she is going to end up suffering from a case of baking soda intoxication.
If your dog weighs in at just 8 pounds, it’s not going to take a lot of sodium bicarbonate to cause serious health problems — anything between 200 to 300 grams can do this.
The reason we mentioned baked goods at the beginning of the section is that fortunately, home bakers use very little baking soda, so if you give your dog half a muffin that you have baked at home, chances are you aren’t going to do any harm. There are other ingredients that can cause digestive distress and other health complications, such as fat, though, so try to feed your dog limited amounts of ‘human’ food.
Some of the clinical signs that a dog that’s suffering from baking soda toxicity can show are the following:
Did your dog eat baking soda? What should you do?
If your dog was curious or just unlucky enough to eat plain baking soda and you have no way of knowing just how much your pet ingested, the safest way of going about things would be to go to the vet clinic as soon as possible. Don’t induce vomiting if your veterinarian didn’t specifically ask you to.
If your vet says that the amount that your dog ingested (if you are aware of it) isn’t dangerous, you should still expect minimal digestive distress such as diarrhea and vomiting. Make sure that your dog gets plenty of fresh water and monitor him or her for at least 24 hours.
If your dog develops any other symptoms during that time, you should seek out veterinary assistance. Time can be of the essence in intoxication cases, whether with sodium bicarbonate or some other substance.
What can you use baking soda for?
We’ve already noted that sodium bicarbonate has excellent deodorizing properties, but you don’t have to solely use it for your carpets or upholstery. You can also use it on your dog’s bedding. Moreover, when you wash your dog’s bed, for instance, you can simply add half a cup of baking soda to the washer so as to get rid of the bed smell.
If you tend to travel with your pooch in the car rather often, whether to go hiking or to go to the vet, you might want to use baking soda for deodorizing the floor mats, as well as your seats. The more time the sodium bicarbonate powder spends on those surfaces, the more odor will it absorb. Of course, you should get rid of it after 20-30 minutes or more by vacuuming your car so that there’s no risk of your pet coming in contact with it the next time you travel with him/her by car.
If Fido had a bit of an accident on your carpet or furniture, you could create a paste by mixing baking soda with white vinegar and a little water and spread it on the surface that was stained. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes and then clean it with a sponge.
Baking soda can also be used as a dry shampoo for dogs, although we wouldn’t recommend using it all on its own — just to be on the safe side of things. You can mix it with a bit of cornstarch so as to minimize the amount of sodium bicarbonate your dog is exposed to. The cornstarch will get rid of the debris and sebum in your dog’s coat while the sodium bicarbonate will get rid of the odor.
If you decide to use it for this purpose, we strongly advise you to thoroughly brush your dog’s coat several minutes after you’ve completed the procedure so that a very small amount of baking soda remains on your pet’s body. Some dogs can be allergic to baking soda, so you should ask your vet before you decide to use this homemade dry shampoo option.
While it’s paramount for your dog not to eat any baking soda (if at all possible), it’s also important for him or her not to get it into their eyes or nose. It can be quite irritant, so you should use small amounts for cleaning your home and even smaller amounts for dry or wet shampooing tasks.