Can Baking Soda Hurt Cats?

by Elle Di Jensen, Demand Media
    It's unlikely your cat would eat a toxic amount of baking soda.

    It's unlikely your cat would eat a toxic amount of baking soda.

    Baking soda is used in human and pet products, from toothpastes to kitty litters. It's a useful item to keep on hand in an industrial-size box, but keep it out of reach of your cat and your kids. With baking soda, too much of a good thing can be dangerous.

    Too Much Is Toxic

    Baking soda in small amounts is OK for your feline to ingest, either accidentally or if your curious kitty decides to have a nibble on purpose. In large amounts, though, baking soda can throw your cat's chemical balance out of whack. This can result in low levels of potassium, low or high sodium or other electrolyte irregularity, muscle spasms and possibly heart failure.

    How Much Is Too Much

    It's no cause for alarm if your cat accidentally swallows some baking soda while you're brushing her teeth, or if she licks her paws after using litter that contains baking soda.
    It would take a much more baking soda -- about a full measuring cup -- to cause a medical emergency. Baking soda doesn't taste good enough for a human to want to eat that much at once, so it's unlikely that your kitty would eat dangerous amounts.

    Safe Feline Uses of Baking Soda

    In addition to deodorizing your cat's litter and keeping her teeth healthy and clean, you can use baking soda to soothe her skin if she gets bitten or stung by a bug. The alkalinity of the soda will relieve the itch of a bug bite or ease the pain of a sting. Just mix some baking soda with enough water to make a paste, and put a dab of it onto the irritated area.

    If You Suspect an Overdose

    If you find your kitty with her nose in the baking soda box and you think she might have eaten a dangerous amount, contact your vet immediately. He should see her right away to test her potassium, calcium and sodium levels, and if necessary he can give her an IV to keep her hydrated.
    If you're not sure whether your cat has eaten a toxic amount of baking soda, watch for sunken eyes, dry mouth, exhaustion, loss of skin elasticity, muscle spasms and disorientation.

    About the Author

    Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.

    Photo Credits

    • Michael Blann/Lifesize/Getty Images