Is Baking Soda Safe for Cats?

Is Baking Soda Safe for Cats

Baking soda is generally safe for cats. However, ingesting it in large quantities may be toxic and very dangerous for a cat or other pets. 

What is baking soda?

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a salt-based and non-toxic chemical compound. It is generally safe to use in your home but it can be dangerous if your cat ingests it in large amounts.

As a leavening agent, baking soda is mixed with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or honey and typically water. It should not be confused with baking powder, which already contains sodium bicarbonate and acid and only needs liquid to be activated or used. 

Uses of baking soda for your cat

This versatile household item and baking ingredient have many uses for your pet cat when used in the right quantities.  Here are some of the common uses of baking soda for your pets:

For your cat’s dental health

Keep your kitty’s teeth and gums strong and healthy by using baking soda as toothpaste. Simply dip the brush into some baking soda and gently brush your kitty’s teeth. To use as a mouthwash for your cat, add half a teaspoon of baking soda to a cup of lukewarm water. However, be very careful in using it, and make sure your kitty doesn’t ingest or swallow the water with baking soda. For persistent dental issues, it’s best to consult your vet at once. 

To freshen the litter box 

Because it’s a potent deodorizer, baking soda is widely used to control odor in a kitty litter box. Simply mix a few tablespoons of baking soda to the litter. You may put it in the bottom of the litter box before adding litter or you can intersperse it with litter so it will eventually mix once your cat uses the litter box. Most commercial litter brands typically use baking soda as one of the ingredients of their product.

To clean pet accidents

If your pet cat is still learning to use the litter box, there may be accidents and she may tend to urinate or poop on the floor or on your carpet. To clean it up you can mix equal amounts of white vinegar and baking soda to create a paste, then apply it to the soiled carpet or furniture. Let it sit for a few minutes and clean with a sponge. 

For toenail accidents 

If you accidentally nipped the quick part of your cat’s nails while trimming her nails, baking soda can be used to stop the blood. Just dip the affected nail with some baking soda and apply pressure. 

To deodorize and remove fleas 

Baking soda is commonly used to remove fleas, especially larvae and eggs. Just sprinkle some amount on your pet kitty and salt may also be added to the mixture. You can also deodorize and freshen your furry baby by using it as a dry or wet shampoo

To remove the skunk smell 

Pet cats can be adventurous at times. They may wander outside your home and this may result in encounters with skunks. Should your pet be unfortunate enough to be sprayed by a skunk, you can easily remove the pungent and stinky smell from your cat by following this instruction by Dr. Thomas Pickard, a Philadelphia-based veterinarian. Mix one teaspoon of liquid soap, ¼ cup of baking soda, and one quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide apply to your pet cat and rinse well after a few minutes. Be sure not to get some of the mixtures in your pet’s eyes. Follow up with cat shampoo and rinse again. 

For bee stings 

It is an unusual occurrence but your kitty could get bitten by a bee especially during springtime. To treat it, remove the stinger and cover the affected area with baking soda paste. This helps to heal the swollen area.

To deodorize your cat’s beddings

Baking soda can also be used to deodorize and freshen up your pet’s bedding. Just add a cup of baking soda along with laundry detergent every time you wash her bedding.

To deodorize your cat’s beddings
Image: / Helin Loik-Tomson

Do cats eat baking soda?

Since baking soda is salt, it has a slightly salty and bitter taste but it’s less salty than table salt. Its taste isn’t attractive to most cats and some don’t like it at all. However, some cats don’t mind the taste while there are those who may even drink water mixed with baking soda.

What happens if your cat ingests baking soda?

While baking soda is generally safe for your pet cat it can pose great risks if ingested in large amounts. It can be highly toxic if your pet ingested 10 to 20 grams per kilogram of body weight or approximately two to four teaspoons per kilogram of body weight. Baking soda overdose may result in electrolyte abnormalities such as a decrease in potassium and calcium levels and/or an increase of sodium levels, muscle spasms, and congestive heart failure. 

Watch out for these signs in your cat if you suspect that she has ingested a large amount of baking soda:

  • lethargy 
  • diarrhea 
  • vomiting
  • shortness of breath 
  • disorientation 
  • muscle paralysis 
  • changes in urine color 
  • anemia 
  • seizures and tremors 
  • depression 
  • increased thirst
  • drooling 
  • signs of dehydration like sunken eyes and skin tenting, a delay in the return of pinched skin to a normal flat position

Should your pet kitty experience the above symptoms, bring her immediately to the veterinarian so he can assess the severity of the situation and give the necessary medication.  Other possible treatment options include special dietary adjustments, treatment to decrease the blood sugar level, dialysis, and medication administration to treat and regulate blood pressure. 

Baking soda has many beneficial uses in maintaining good hygiene for our pets. It’s generally safe for cats and helps our pets become well-groomed, clean, and flea-free. Nevertheless, it pays to use it with caution and care to keep our pets away from the danger zone.