There are literally hundreds of household uses for baking soda. Not to be confused with baking powder, which has added acidifying and drying agents (typically cream of tartar and starch, respectively), it is pure bicarbonate of soda. Its beneficial qualities are the result of its ability to act as a buffer, neutralizing both acidic and alkaline substances to regulate pH. This is the secret behind its effectiveness in so many pet-related applications.
Baking soda is inexpensive, nontoxic, environmentally friendly, fragrance-free, and safe for use around pets. Unlike many commercial cleaners and deodorizers, it won’t leave behind harsh chemical residues that may irritate your pet’s sensitive skin or respiratory system.
Cage, Crate, and Litter Box
- When changing shavings in a small-animal cage, make sure the cage bottom is as clean as it can be by scrubbing with a solution of 0.25 cup (60 g) baking soda dissolved in 1 quart (1 liter) of warm water. Rinse well and dry thoroughly before filling with clean bedding material.
- There’s no need to purchase chemically scented cat litter; baking soda does a fine job of deodorizing a cat box. Before adding fresh litter to the cat box, just sprinkle the bottom of the box with it. For added odor control, mix 0.25 to 0.5 cup (60 to 120 g) with the fresh litter when you add it to the litter box.
- To clean and deodorize a travel crate, wash with a solution of baking soda and water. Rinse thoroughly and towel dry. To remove any stains from the plastic, make a paste of three parts soda to one part water and scrub. If the stain is stubborn, let the paste dry, then wipe clean and rinse well.
- Keep your dog’s teeth tartar-free and his breath sweet by brushing his teeth with baking soda. Ask your vet to recommend a suitable toothbrush for your dog. Moisten the toothbrush with water, then dip the tips of the bristles into the soda to coat it. Gently brush his teeth with a circular motion, then rinse with tepid water.
- Baking soda is a wonderful dry shampoo for dogs. Rub into into the dog’s coat, then brush thoroughly to remove.
- When bathing a long-haired breed of dog, try adding a couple of tablespoons (about 30 g) of it to her bath. The bicarbonate of soda will leave her coat shiny and tangle-free.
- If your pet is unlucky enough to be sprayed by a skunk, you can mix the following to use as a deodorizing shampoo: 1 quart (1 liter) 3% hydrogen peroxide, 0.25 cup (60 g) baking soda, 1 teaspoon mild dishwashing liquid. Massage this into your pet’s fur, taking care to avoid the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. The areas around the eyes and nose can be coated with a thin layer of petroleum jelly to prevent the mixture from running into them and irritating the mucus membranes. Rinse well with clear lukewarm water. Repeat process as needed. Note: Although effective, this solution may have a bleaching effect on the dog’s fur.
- If your dog is stung by a bee, remove the stinger and apply a thick paste of baking soda and water.
- To eradicate lingering pet odors from carpets and upholstery, sprinkle the soda liberally over pre-cleaned, dry areas. Let stand for 15 minutes, then vacuum. Repeat if needed.
- Periodically wash pet toys and dishes in a solution of 0.25 cup (60 g) dissolved in 1 quart (1 liter) warm water. Rinse well and dry.
- When washing soiled pet blankets and towels, add 0.5 cup (120 g) of soda to the wash along with the detergent to increase its effectiveness. To get rid of especially tough odors, add 0.5 to 1 cup (120 to 240 g) during the rinse cycle.