Pet owners encounter many unexpected problems with their dogs, but some of them have very easy solutions.
If you’ve ever heard about the multiple uses of baking soda around the house, you’ll be amazed to learn in how many ways this basic and cheap ingredient can help you with your dogs. No need to go to the vet, no need to buy expensive products at the pet stores- as long as you use it properly.
In a previous article, I looked at how worried you should be if your dog licks or drinks baking soda and in this article, I explore 8 ways in which dog owners think that baking soda can be used with their dogs, but only 7 ways are safe.
Let’s start off with a situation in which you should never use baking soda as a cure- when your dog has bloat…
Can I use baking soda for dog bloat?
Most dogs have gas from time to time, caused by certain foods or by eating too fast and ingesting air in the process. Baking soda is a common gas remedy for humans, and you can try giving him some water with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed in it.
Never confuse gas and flatulence with dog bloat, which can be a very serious condition. This is called Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) and can be easily recognized by symptoms such as:
- Distended hard stomach
- Dog pacing around trying to retch unsuccessfully comes up only with a little saliva
- Dog is anxious, showing obvious signs of distress
The buildup of gas and liquid causes the dog’s stomach to expand like a balloon and can cause severe breathing problems and affect the heart.
If this is the case with your dog, don’t even think about baking soda or any other home remedy. Go to the vet immediately as the dog is in serious danger.
Can I give my dog baking soda for upset stomach
A dog with an upset stomach (vomiting and diarrhoea) is just as miserable as a human, with the added trouble that the poor animal in distress might make a mess all over the house.
Many people use baking soda, sodium bicarbonate by its chemical name, to calm down an upset stomach and you can give your dog the same treatment. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda to half a cup of water and have your dog drink a few sips of this mixture every two hours. If the dog refuses, you can use a plastic syringe to give him a little bit of this inexpensive remedy.
Experts warn that baking soda can be dangerous for your pet, but this only refers to large quantities, which means one teaspoon per pound of body weight or more.
If you suspect your dog managed to consume a large quantity of baking soda, you should call a vet.
Will baking soda induce vomiting in dogs?
When a dog swallows something toxic, making him vomit might save his life. However, this is not an easy feat, particularly if the dog is in distress and you’re panicked.
Baking soda is one of the substances you can use to make the dog vomit. You can use the same solution mentioned above, only try to force the whole quantity down its throat to induce vomiting. However, if the dog does not vomit immediately, do not try to make him drink another cup as this might lead to salt poisoning which is dangerous for dogs.
Other home remedies to make a dog vomit are putting a teaspoon of salt on the back of its tongue or have him drink a cup of water mixed with one teaspoon of mustard.
Keep in mind that making a dog vomit is not recommended if he has ingested a poison that causes difficulty breathing, convulsions, or lethargy. Likewise, if the dog has ingested a caustic substance, such as drain cleaner, battery acid, or detergent, making him vomit might cause more damage to the esophagus. In these cases, you’d better call a vet before trying to make the dog vomit.
Can I use baking soda to clean the dog’s eyes?
If your dog has an eye irritation you can use a saline solution to get rid of the problem. This saline solution can be made with one cup of filtered or distilled water and ¼ of a teaspoon of salt or baking soda. Dip a clean piece of cloth into this solution and gently clean the eye from the nose towards the ears. This also works if your pet’s eyes appear crusty.
If the problem is more serious and the eyes are swollen or you notice puss, it’s best to consult with a vet, as your dog might need an ointment to treat the infection.
Will baking soda paste help dog wounds?
Baking soda can be used to treat small wounds in a dog. For instance, when you’re trimming your dog’s nails and you accidentally draw a little blood it is safe to dip the paw in a water and baking soda solution to disinfect the cut.
At the same time, you can safely use a baking soda paste to treat a bee sting. Locate the bite site, extract the sting with tweezers, then apply the baking soda paste. Keep applying over the next few hours, until the pain is gone. However, if your dog shows signs of an allergic reaction to the bee sting you should call the vet as soon as possible, as this can be very dangerous.
For bigger wounds, you should use disinfectants, such as hydrogen peroxide, and apply an antibiotic ointment.
Is baking soda safe for dog’s teeth?
Now, this is a very controversial issue among dog experts and dog owners. Some swear by it, while others say it’s dangerous.
For instance, there are those who recommend using a baking soda paste to gently brush your dog’s teeth. Baking soda can clean up plaque and bacteria while making your dog’s teeth whiter. The only problem is you don’t want to use too much baking soda as the dog might swallow it and this could cause an upset stomach and vomiting. If you just dip the toothbrush or your finger in a little baking soda, chances are it won’t be enough to cause problems.
Yet, there are other experts who say baking soda should not be used to clean a dog’s teeth.
One valid point though is that the dog might find the taste of baking soda quite unappealing, which it actually is! If your dog will hate the taste, he might refuse to let you clean his teeth even with other products, and then you will have a real problem!
Human toothpaste is not recommended for dogs, as it contains too many chemicals that might be toxic if swallowed.
Can I put baking soda on my dog for fleas?
The answer is yes, baking soda can be used against fleas, but for it to be effective you have to use it correctly.
Baking soda is a good cleaning agent and it is safe to use it to give your pet a dry shampoo rub down that will do more than just freshen up his coat. Getting the powder down into his fur will leave a residue that will coat fleas enough to dehydrate and kill them. So you’ll want to massage it deeply into his fur. Make sure to avoid the dog’s face, but don’t forget to rub it into those spots fleas seem to prefer- behind the ears, the back of the neck and the base of the tail. When you’re done, take a small towel and rub off any excess baking soda so that the dog doesn’t lick himself and ingest too much baking soda.
Another way you can use this substance is by making a baking soda bath for dog fleas. Use this recipe:
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 5 drops of peppermint oil, which is a natural flea repellent
- 2 cups of warm water.
Rub this mixture into the dog’s fur, avoiding his face. Use a brush or comb through your pet’s fur, so you can get the mixture down to his skin. Leave it on for at least five minutes, then rinse his fur thoroughly with lots of warm water.
Taking care of your dog’s fur won’t be of much help if you do not get rid of the fleas that have invaded your house. You can do this by sprinkling baking soda directly onto your carpet. Rub it in, or use a brush to make sure it penetrates deep into the fibers to dehydrate the fleas and their eggs. Leave the baking soda on your carpet overnight, then you can simply vacuum up the baking soda and the fleas in the morning.
Can I put baking soda in dog’s water for bad breath?
In many cases, bad breath is caused by an accumulation of bacteria in the mouth as well as by tooth decay. As mentioned above, you can try to brush your dog’s teeth with baking soda to get rid of bacteria. Used in small quantities it won’t create any problem.
Bad breath could also be caused by an upset stomach and again having your dog drink a cup of water with just a bit of baking soda in it is a good remedy.
When it comes to putting sodium bicarbonate in your dog’s water, it stands to reason you should not do this over a long period of time as it could lead to salt poisoning.
If your pet’s bad breath problem is not cured by regular dental hygiene or by taking care of the upset stomach, it might be that the dog has an underlying health problem, which should be discussed with your vet.
Baking soda can be used in many ways to help you take care of your dog. It’s safe to use as a dog shampoo and to get rid of fleas. For internal use, always keep in mind that too much sodium bicarbonate can be dangerous in large quantities.
¹ Photo by Autri Taheri on Unsplash
² Photo by U.S. Army on Flickr
³ Photo by Donnie Ray Jones on Flickr
⁴ Photo by d.taverner on Flickr
⁵ Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash