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What does baking soda do to your dog?

9 Baking Soda Uses for Pet Owners

Baking soda is a natural cleaner and deodorizer that every pet owner likely has on hand. It’s a good option if you wish to avoid cleaning products that contain potentially toxic chemicals or perfumes. Baking soda contains no harmful chemicals and poses no danger to children or pets unless it is ingested in large amounts.

Always consult your veterinarian before using baking soda on your pet and spot test before using baking soda to clean carpets and furniture.

How Does Baking Soda Work?

Pet urine is usually acidic, which plays a role in its ability to produce a foul-smelling odor. “Baking soda is a base and pet urine is acidic. When you put them together, baking soda chemically has the ability to neutralize acidic substances and make them more alkaline, eliminating the odors,” says Donna Dougherty, owner of Go Green Cleaning Experts in West Chester, Pa.

Here are nine uses of baking soda for pet owners.

Image: Tr1sha / Shutterstock

Deodorize Your Home

Dougherty recommends sprinkling baking soda on carpets and furniture to get rid of pet odors in the home. Leave it on for about 20 mins then vacuum it up.

Dougherty suggests testing a spot first to make sure the baking soda doesn’t discolor your carpet or upholstery.

Image: Anna Hoychuk / Shutterstock

Deodorize Bedding

“Put pet bedding in your washing machine. Use a mild (no dyes or fragrance) laundry detergent and 1 cup of baking soda,” says Dougherty. Place the bed in the dryer for 15 minutes with a pet-safe dryer sheet, and if it’s still wet, let it air dry to avoid shrinking. “The dryer sheet is important to use when drying because it will help to remove excess hair from the bedding,” says Dougherty.

If your pet spends time rolling around in your bed, when you wash your sheets, add 1/2 cup baking soda into the washing machine to neutralize the odors.

Image: Petrenko Andriy / Shutterstock

Deodorize Your Car

Baking soda will also eliminate doggy odors in your car. Dougherty suggests sprinkling it on the seats and floor mats. The longer the powder sits, the more odor it will absorb. Vacuum all surfaces and throw out the disposable vacuum bag immediately, just in case it contains any fleas, ticks or mites. Another trick to keep your vehicle smelling fresh is put a tablespoon of baking soda in the ashtrays.

Clean Up Pet Accidents

Baking soda can help you clean up your dog or cat’s “accidents”. “Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and baking soda to create a runny paste. Apply the paste to the soiled carpet or furniture, let it sit for a few minutes, then sponge it up,” said Dougherty. When it’s dried, vacuum the area.

Before using the paste or applying baking powder on its own, Dougherty suggests blotting up as much of the liquid as possible. “It helps to place a book on the cloth and stand on it to ensure you get it all out,” she says.

Freshen the Litter Box

Many brands of kitty litter contain baking soda for its ability to neutralize odors. “If your current kitty litter doesn’t contain baking soda, you can sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda on the bottom of the box before adding the litter,” says Dr. Thomas Pickard, VMD of Philadelphia.

Dry Shampoo Your Cat or Dog

Baking soda also works as an odor eliminator for pets between baths. “In between wet shampoos, baking soda may be used for dry shampooing dogs and cats,” says Pickard. “Start by brushing your pet to remove any dirt or loose hair. You may want to do the next step outside. Rub baking soda into your pet’s fur and massage it into their skin, making sure not to set it into their eyes.

Let the baking soda sit on your animal’s fur for five minutes and then brush out the fur. To remove any remaining baking soda, rub your pet down with a dry towel, otherwise your dog or cat might lick its fur and ingest the baking soda. While baking soda is harmless for your pet to ingest in small quantities, it’s best to remove as much as possible. Pickard recommends consulting with your vet before using baking soda as a dry shampoo to make sure your pet is not allergic to it.

Wet Shampoo Your Dog

“Unless your dog has rolled around in dirt or sand, you only need to use a wet shampoo every two or three months,” says Pickard. “Many pet shampoos contain baking soda which helps eliminate odors. However, you can make your own shampoo by mixing three tablespoons baking soda with one quart warm water.”

Wash your dog with the solution and massage it into his coat. Give the baking soda a few minutes to neutralize odors. Next, apply your regular, vet-approved dog shampoo and massage it into your dog’s skin. Rinse your dog in clear water and make sure you do not leave any shampoo residue, which can make your pet itch.

Help Toenail Accidents

If you trim your pet’s nails too close, you may accidentally draw blood. To stop bleeding, Pickard suggests dipping the nail in baking soda and applying pressure.

Get Rid of Skunk Smell

“If your pet is sprayed by a skunk, baking soda alone will not remove the foul odor,” says Picard. But a mixture of ¼ cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon of liquid soap and 1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide is a recommended solution. It’s best to use this mixture outdoors or in a basement sink to avoid bringing the odor into your home.

“Do not get the solution in your pet’s eyes and do not leave the mixture on too long or the peroxide will bleach your pet’s fur,” says Picard. Rinse your pet well, then follow with a vet-approved pet shampoo and rinse again. Towel dry your pet before bringing him into the house.

How to Induce Vomiting in Dogs

If you’re reading this article because you’re currently having an emergency with your dog, please call your vet immediately . If it’s after hours, try calling Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 or your local emergency veterinary facility .

No dog owner wants to be put in the situation of having to make their pet vomit ― but sometimes our adventurous best friends get themselves into something they shouldn’t. During these emergencies, knowing when and how to safely induce vomiting in your dog may just be the key to saving their life.

When NOT to induce vomiting

If your dog ingests a harmful substance or object, whether it be a toxic food or plant, household chemical, medication or a foreign object ― getting it out of their stomach as quickly as possible may seem like the right thing to do.

However, this isn’t always the case. Never induce vomiting at home:

  • If your dog has swallowed a sharp object or a corrosive substance (battery, bleach & other cleaners) ― these may end up doing more harm on the way back up.
  • If your dog is experiencing seizures or trouble breathing, acts lethargic or unresponsive or has other serious medical conditions.
  • If you have a flat-faced breed ( brachycephalic breed ), like a pug or boxer. These breeds are prone to respiratory issues ― inducing vomiting can lead to concerns of asphyxiation or lung infection.
  • If it’s been hours since the suspect ingestion.
  • Without first consulting a medical professional.

Call your vet first

If your dog consumes something potentially dangerous, the first thing to do is call a veterinarian.

Your vet will assess the type of swallowed hazard, associated risks and your dog’s current health status ― then recommend what to do.

If it’s after hours, look for a local 24/7 veterinarian emergency hospital in your area or call a pet poison helpline ― like the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435.

Going to the vet

In many cases your vet may recommend an immediate visit.

Under veterinary care, vomiting can be safely induced and other medical procedures can be safely undertaken to rehabilitate your dog.

If making your dog throw up is the correct course of action, your vet will likely select a highly effective drug known as apomorphine to do the job ― which they’ll administer via eye drops or injection.

Inducing vomiting at home

In certain scenarios, you may not be able to make it to the vet in time, or an in-home solution may be more appropriate. Either way, the vet will instruct your next steps. Here are some common options.

3% Hydrogen Peroxide

Vets will often recommend you use hydrogen peroxide (H 2 O 2 ) to make your dog vomit at home.

It’s cheap, efficient, and accessible ― most people already have it in their medicine cabinet. Just be sure not to mix it up with other antiseptics in your first aid kit, and double-check that it’s 3% hydrogen peroxide . Stronger concentrations could leave your dog feeling even worse.

What Dose?
The commonly advised dose is 1 — 2 teaspoons per every 10 lbs of 3% hydrogen peroxide given orally ― but no more than 9 teaspoons (or 3 tablespoons). However, if your vet suggests an alternate dose, follow their guidance.

Spoon-feeding your dog hydrogen peroxide may not be the easiest task. If you’ve got a food-grade syringe or pipette, that should make it easier, but go slow. You don’t want them to inhale it. Your vet may also recommend mixing it into a bland meal, or soaking it into a piece of bread for ease of administration (if your dog still feels like snacking).

Then what?
Your dog should vomit within about 15 minutes. Walking them around (if safe) may help get the hydrogen peroxide bubbling in their tummy. If they don’t vomit right away, your vet may permit a repeated dose.

Sodium Carbonate

(Not widely used in the United States)

Vets may also recommend sodium carbonate ( CHNaO 3 ), also known as washing soda or soda crystals, to induce vomiting in your dog. This is more common in other countries. Not to be confused with sodium bicarbonate (Na 2 CO 3 — baking soda), or sodium hydroxide (NaOH — caustic soda).

This is cheap and easy to find, but mainly in Australia and the UK. So if you have a well-traveled dog, you may have encountered it there. It’s available in the States but we’re not suggesting every dog owner go cause a rush on this product, as many vets may be unfamiliar. . If you are instructed to use it, just be sure to use only pure sodium carbonate and avoid the powdered detergents and cleaners that simply contain it.

What Dose?
It doesn’t take much. A few crystals, or the smallest pinch, is likely to do the trick. Be sure to follow the recommendation of your vet extra closely.

Sodium carbonate will dissolve in your dog’s mouth, so just get it on their tongue and hold their snout closed for a minute.

Then what?
If your dog doesn’t vomit in 10-15 minutes, it’s probably best you find a way to bring them into your vet. Most vets won’t often recommend a second dose.

Side Effects

All methods of inducing vomiting come with discomfort and a few safety risks, but remember in these emergency situations, the importance of getting your dog to vomit outweighs the most of those risks.

Possible side effects could include ulcers or damaged stomach lining, respiratory stress, bloating and gas, confusion and weakness, diarrhea, or continued nausea and vomiting (lasting more than 45 minutes). The reason many vets have turned to drugs like apomorphine is because they are thought to do less damage to the stomach and be more reliable although studies of peroxide and apomorphine have shown similar rates of vomiting and side effects.

Keep a close eye on your dog for any adverse reactions, and once they do vomit, make sure they don’t eat it . We all know dogs aren’t that choosy and you don’t want to undo all the work you did to get them to vomit.

After all is said and done, be sure to schedule a follow-up visit to your vet for the near future, and give your pup some extra love. You both deserve it.

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