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My Dog Ate Baking Soda! Here’s What to Do (Vet Answer)

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By Dr. Joanna Woodnutt

Baking Soda

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Dr. Joanna Woodnutt

BVM BVS (Veterinarian)

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Some dogs are incredibly fussy and won’t eat anything except their chosen biscuit brand. Others will eat everything from garbage to roadkill. Some are a weird combination of the two; they turn their nose up at kibble but steal bread rolls when you aren’t looking.

Either way, it’s not uncommon for a dog to get hold of things they shouldn’t, and it’s important to know what to do if they do.

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My Dog Ate Baking Soda – What Should I Do?

First, make sure you prevent your dog from eating any more baking soda. This usually means putting your dog elsewhere whilst you clean up any spills. Next, work out how much baking soda your dog has eaten. If your dog has eaten a large amount relative to their size, you should call your veterinarian or animal poison control for advice. For smaller amounts, you can monitor your pet for signs of illness.

You may notice that your dog looks a bit uncomfortable. They may adopt the “prayer” or “downwards-facing dog” position, with their elbows and chest on the floor and their bottom in the air. If they foam at the mouth or vomit more than once, even if the amount they’ve eaten was small, it’s a good idea to call your vet for advice.

You should never induce your dog to vomit unless told to do so by a vet or poison center, as this can cause severe problems if done incorrectly, or when the ingested substance is caustic. Your vet will explain how to do this safely if they think it’s necessary.

You should allow your dog to have ready access to fresh water, and keep them calm. Since all that gas being produced can cause bloat, it’s a good idea to watch them for signs of unproductive vomiting and dry retching, which can indicate an emergency case of bloat.

What is Baking Soda?

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a common kitchen cupboard ingredient. It’s used to help cakes and cookies rise—when the powder meets acid, it forms bubbles of carbon dioxide. In fact, it’s this process that’s harnessed when kids make a volcano in science class—vinegar is added to the baking soda and it foams and bubbles, increasing in size.

Baking soda shouldn’t be confused with baking powder. Baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate mixed in with other ingredients.

Black puppy
Image Credit: ChristianeAguiar, Pixabay

Is Baking Soda Toxic to Dogs?

Although not strictly poisonous, baking soda can definitely cause problems for dogs that eat too much. Your dog’s stomach is filled with acid, so it reacts with the baking soda your dog eats. A small amount is unlikely to do any harm, but a large amount can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, and even bloat.

There’s Baking Soda in My Dog’s Food, Should I Be Worried?

The small amount of baking soda used in homemade dog biscuits or cakes isn’t anything to worry about. In addition to being a small amount, the baking soda will have already reacted and created all the bubbles it’s going to. In other words, the cooking process makes the baking soda safe.

My Dog Shampoo Contains Baking Soda – Is It Safe?

Baking soda is known to reduce odors, so it is commonly used in dog shampoos to control odors on your dog. If your dog licks himself with the shampoo on, the baking soda shouldn’t do any harm—but you should check the rest of the ingredients to make sure there’s nothing else that’s potentially harmful if ingested.

Baking Soda
Image By: Monfocus, Pixabay

I Use Baking Soda in Cleaning, Is It Safe for My Dog?

Baking soda is sometimes used as a natural cleaning agent, sometimes in combination with white vinegar. It’s sensible to keep your dog away from areas that you are cleaning to avoid them coming into contact with these chemicals. However, if you do notice that your dog licks something you recently cleaned with soda, it’s usually nothing to worry about.

If you’re using baking soda on your carpets to control odor, it’s a good idea to keep your dog out of the room until you’ve hoovered it all up—you’ll likely be using enough that your dog could ingest a large amount if they take a liking to licking the carpets.

Should I Use Baking Soda to Brush My Dog’s Teeth?

Although the small amount of baking soda you’d need to brush your dog’s teeth is unlikely to do them any harm, it’s a good idea to avoid using baking soda for dog tooth brushing. It’s abrasive and can cause problems for the teeth, as well as not tasting that nice for your dog. Dog toothpaste is far safer—and tastier—for your canine pal.

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Final Thoughts

Although baking soda is safe for dogs in small amounts, you should keep a close eye on your dog if they eat any, and call their veterinarian if they appear ill or if they’ve eaten a large amount.

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Featured Image Credit: evita-ochel, Pixabay

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