Crisis! My Dog Ate Baking Soda! [Do This]

What would happen if your dog ate baking soda?
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The TLDR. Answer

In short, if you’re wondering whether anything bad will happen if your dog ate baking soda, the answer is: Maybe.

Sorry for being vague.

It all really depends on how much baking soda your dog ingested. If a dog eats a large amount of baking powder or soda then it can have toxic effects. Symptoms of toxicity include loss of coordination, muscle spasms, difficulty breathing, and depression.

On the other hand, a miniscule amount won’t do any harm and is nothing to be overly concerned about.

Many ‘home remedies for dogs’ call for the use of sodium bicarbonate, for example as toothpaste or for stomach troubles.

However, this can have negative consequences as people directly introduce baking soda to a dog’s system- which may not be able to handle it.

What Is Baking Soda?

Baking soda is a chemical compound made up of sodium bicarbonate. It’s used in baking as one of the most vital leavening agents, but people also use it as a cleaning product, antacid, or a way to soak up smells in refrigerators and freezers.

Baking powder and soda is not inherently toxic to dogs, and some dog owners use it to clean their dog’s teeth and fur.

However, if your dog ate baking soda in large amounts, there is cause for concern.

Baking soda on its own (not cooked/baked) can cause a host of problems in your dog, including electrolyte imbalance, muscle spasms, congestive heart failure, coma, and even death.

What Happens When a Dog Eats Baking Soda?

What happens when a dog eats baking soda depends on how much the dog ingests.

If your dog ate baking powder or soda in a small amount, either on its own or incorporated into something (like a baked good), it is unlikely that your dog will have any problems. On the other hand, if your dog eats a large amount relative to its size, you will see signs of toxicity.

In either situation, your dog may look uncomfortable after ingesting baking soda and take on the “downwards-facing dog” pose.

In this position, the dog will keep its elbows and chest on the floor, but put its butt in the air. The down dog pose is a classic symptom of stomach ache.

If your dog ate baking soda, it might also experience diarrhea, lethargy, depression, seizures, disorientation, or shortness of breath.

If you notice any of these problems, or if your dog is continuously vomiting or foaming at the mouth, call your vet immediately.

Is Baking Soda Poisonous To Dogs?

Baking soda is poisonous to dogs when they ingest too much for their body weight. Sodium bicarbonate can cause problems if a dog eats 22-44 grams per pound of their body weight.

If you consider the fact that one teaspoon of baking soda is equal to about four grams, and a small box of baking soda is 227 grams, then a ten-pound dog can experience poisonous effects after eating about three-quarters of the box of baking soda.

Realistically, that’s quite a large amount of baking soda- but as you know with dogs, they can eat the wackiest things for no good reason at all.

Is Baking Soda Safe for Dogs’ Teeth?

Dog jaw open, white teeth

While not inherently bad for your dog’s teeth, baking powder or soda for dog teeth brushing is not recommended.

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Not only is it abrasive and therefore able to cause tooth problems, but there is also a chance that your dog will ingest too much baking soda during the cleaning process.

Toothpaste specifically designed for pets is formulated in a way that allows them to ingest it safely.

If you try and clean your dog’s teeth with baking soda, he or she may swallow too much, which can then lead to toxicity.

If your dog recently ate something nasty and you want to clean out its mouth, click HERE to see our post on how to do exactly that!

Baking Soda For Dog’s Stomach Problems

Some informational sites will tell you that you can cure a dog’s upset stomach, acid indigestion, or bad breath with a little baking soda mixed in water.

As you have learned, a small amount is not dangerous for your dog to ingest, but there are no real benefits to using sodium bicarbonate for a dog’s stomach problems.

There is no reason to worry about baking soda in dog biscuits and baked treats. The amount is so small that it cannot harm your pets.

Benefits of Using Baking Soda For Dogs

Baking soda in jar

There are several safe ways to use baking soda that can benefit both you and your four-legged friend.

Shampoo

The ASPCA recommends bathing your dog at least once every three months.

Dogs that spend a majority of time outdoors or those that have skin problems may need more frequent water baths, but generally, you can get away with regular brushing and dry baths with baking soda to keep your dog’s coat healthy.

To use baking soda as a dry dog shampoo:

  1. Use ½ cup of baking soda for a small dog or 1 cup for a large dog.
  2. Sprinkle onto your dog’s coat and at the base of the ears. Avoid getting baking soda onto the head and face.
  3. Massage the baking soda into the skin, working up from the fur and down to the skin.
  4. Let it sit for a few minutes so that it can absorb oil and odors.
  5. End by brushing your dog’s hair – no rinse is required.

To use baking soda as a wet dog shampoo:

  1. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with 1 ½ cups of warm water.
  2. Work the mixture into your dog’s fur (avoiding the face) and into the skin.
  3. Let it sit for a few minutes so that it can soak up odors and oil.
  4. Rinse the mixture out with water.

You can also try using baking soda shampoo if your dog has itchy or irritated skin.

Bathing your dog with baking soda may temporarily ease irritation. If you notice your dog continues to scratch or bite at its skin, there may be an underlying problem that needs professional attention.

Bee Stings

If your furry friend is suffering from a bee sting, remove the stinger (if possible), then apply a baking soda and water paste to the affected area. Monitor your dog to make sure she or he does not lick or bite at the wound.

De-Skunker

If your dog gets skunked, you can use a simple baking soda recipe to lessen the smell:

● 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide (find it in the first aid section)

● ¼ cup baking soda

● 1-2 drops of liquid dish soap

Once everything is mixed, immediately apply it to your dog’s dry coat and work it through. Let it sit for about five minutes, then thoroughly rinse with water.

Stop Nail Bleeding

As a dog owner, you are probably aware of the dangers of clipping your dog’s nails, especially if your clippers are blunt.

Clip too close to the nail inside the nerve (the quick) or directly through the quick, and the nail will bleed. Whether there is a little blood or a lot of blood, your dog will experience pain, and your carpet may stain.

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If you cut into the quick, take immediate action to stop the bleeding:

  1. Compress the wound with a piece of cloth or paper towel for at least two minutes. Wrap ice inside the towel if blood flow is steady.
  2. Dip the dog’s toe into styptic powder or baking soda mixed with cornstarch.
  3. Continue dipping the nail into the powder until bleeding stops.
  4. Do not wipe away any blood, as it will help with coagulation.
  5. Once blood flow ceases, gently compress the wound with a cloth or paper towel.

Try to keep your dog off his or her feet for at least 30 minutes to give the wound time to continue healing and keep your pet from causing more damage.

What are the Other Potential Benefits of Baking Soda for Dogs?

Using baking soda mixture off spoon

Baking soda is an easy and affordable way to clean your dog and your home. You can use baking soda to deodorize heavily-used pet areas, bedding, carpet, and the like.

The great thing about using baking soda to remove stains, deodorize, and keep your home clean is that baking soda is not as dangerous to your dog’s health as typical cleaners, which often contain hazardous chemicals and irritating perfumes.

Odor Remover

Sprinkle a light coating of baking soda on the carpet, pet bedding, or upholstery and allow it to sit for up to 30 minutes, then vacuum.

Surface Cleaner

A mix of baking soda and water acts as an abrasive, helping remove stuck food and debris from your dog bowls.

Stain Remover

Treat pet urine stains by adding one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to equal parts water and vinegar (distilled white or apple cider vinegar). Put the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake to blend.

Spray the mixture directly on the stain and let sit for a few minutes before dabbing with an old cloth or paper towel. You can also use this recipe to clean up other mild stains on carpets and upholstery.

Dog Toy Cleaner

If your dog plays with plush toys, then you know how dirty they can get. Slobber, dirt, and who-knows-what-else can easily find its way onto your pal’s plushies. That means any bacteria picked up during playtime goes straight to your dog’s gut.

While a dog’s immune system is much hardier than a human’s, it is still better to be safe than sorry and give those toys a good rinsing.

To clean dog toys with baking soda, toss them into the washing machine, along with a couple of capfuls of white vinegar (you can use your detergent bottle cap) and a sprinkle of baking soda.

Let them clean for one cycle, then pop in the dryer or hang them up to air dry.

How to Keep a Dog Safe from Baking Soda

Baking soda with carton

Most people have a box of baking powder or soda somewhere in their home, so it is not unheard of for a dog to get its paws on this potentially toxic substance.

Whether you are using it as a cleaning product, a toothpaste, a natural remedy, or as one of your leavening agents for baking, you will want to make sure your dog stays safe from baking soda’s toxic effects.

So how do you keep your dog from ingesting baking soda?

In this case, the simple and most obvious answer is the best answer – do not give baking soda to your dog. If it is in the form of a baked good or dog biscuit, then there are no worries, but play it safe when it comes to your dog’s health and wellbeing.

That means keeping boxes of baking soda out of your dog’s reach and using pet-safe toothpaste and proper medication instead of trying to cure your dog’s ailments with baking soda.

If you are using baking soda as a home cleaner or to bathe your dog, make sure the baking soda is thoroughly cleaned up and that you do not leave piles of it lying around.

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What Other Foods Should My Dog Avoid?

Onions and garlic

There are many foods that are questionable or downright unsafe for your dog’s health. Some of these, like chocolate and grapes, are well-known food hazards for dogs, but there are plenty of other foods that dogs should avoid ingesting.

Some of the top toxic people food to resist giving your dog include:

● Apple seeds

● Apricot pits

● Avocado

● Cherry pits

● Candy (Swedish Fish, Sour Patch Kids)

Chocolate

● Coconut and coconut oil

● Coffee

● Garlic

● Grapes

● Macadamia nuts, walnuts, and acorns

Milk/Dairy

● Nuts

● Onions and onion powder

Raw meat/eggs/bones

Salty snack foods and takeaways

● Yeast dough

As with baking soda, many of these foods will not harm your dog if taken in small amounts, but it is always better to be safe than sorry and forego “treating” your pet to these items (no matter how many times your dog gives you the sad eyes).

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Dangerous Items?

Sick-looking dog

Whether it is half a box of baking soda or a small bit of chocolate, you will want to keep an eye on your dog.

Depending on what your dog ate and how much of it, you may need to call the veterinarian for emergency assistance or rush your pet to the vet hospital.

Activated charcoal can be suitable as a first-line defense against the toxins that your dog might have ingested. It has the unique ability to bind to the harmful chemicals and prevent them from being absorbed.

However, it only works with some toxins and chemicals, so a visit to the vet will still be necessary. Read our breakdown on how activated charcoal can save dogs’ lives here.

NEVER induce vomiting in your dog without guidance from your vet. The chemicals that it ingested might cause more damage on the way back up, and it could also be at risk of aspiration pneumonia if done improperly.

Notice how your dog is acting, and monitor to see if it is presenting any signs and symptoms of poisoning. Common signs include vomiting, diarrhea, and convulsions. Keep your dog calm and quickly take him to a professional.

In Summary

In situations where your dog ate baking soda, the potential toxicity is directly correlated with the total amount of agent that was eaten. In small quantities, the negative side effects will be negligible.

However, if a very large amount of baking soda was consumed- to the tune of 22-44 grams per pound of body weight– then your dog may begin to exhibit signs of poisoning. These can include lethargy, disorientation, tremors, and seizures.

If left untreated, it can progressively lead to coma, congestive heart failure, and death.

Therefore, though it would be difficult for a dog to overdose on baking soda, it would still be wise to minimize its opportunities and access to the substance. If it does ingest baking soda, keep a close eye for the signs mentioned above and take it to the vet for examination.

Otherwise, it would be a good idea to store baking soda away safely just like you do with any other household cleaner or product. Remember: dogs don’t know the difference between what they should and shouldn’t eat, so it’s up to you to prevent any unfortunate accidents!

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