So it’s that time of the year. You’re considering engaging in a strict cleaning spree to eliminate odors. Maybe you’ve learned how to bake, and you’ve been spilling around a lot.
Baking soda is the one key ingredient that somehow finds its way everywhere. However, here’s the problem.
You have a hamster in the house, and considering the history of this animal’s eating habits, the chances are that it will eat whatever comes it’s way. So, is baking soda safe for hamsters? Let’s find out.
Why Do You Need Baking Soda?
Before we get into whether baking soda is safe for hamsters, let’s find out why we need it in the first place. Baking practices aside, this ingredient is used to clean floors, mattresses, and much more.
Since your hamster’s cage is also a part of your house, you must keep it clean and deodorize it now and then. This is where baking soda comes in.
Is Baking Soda Useful for Pet Owners?
In short, yes. Baking soda can help pet owners deal with several problems. It comes in handy for several reasons, from dealing with pet “accidents” to cleaning sprees.
Mixing baking soda with white vinegar can create a paste that cleans filthy furniture and carpet. Allow it to sit for some time before you clean the surface using a wet sponge.
Deodorizing the Bedding
Deodorizing is a step that follows the cleaning. Once you’ve used a mild detergent to wash the bedding, let it dry. You can also add a few teaspoons of baking soda directly into the machine so the washing and deodorizing can happen simultaneously.
Using the ingredient every time you clean the cage isn’t necessary. Only if you consider deep cleaning it once a month should baking soda be a part of the plan.
How to Use Baking Soda to Clean a Cage
The first step is to take everything out of your hamster’s cage. This includes bowls and toys. Then, clean it up using a mild soap first. This can be done with some mild dishwashing soap and hot water.
Now comes the part where you need to deodorize it. Why is this step necessary? You may be wondering. Well, for one, your furry friend is extremely sensitive to smells around it. Any minor change in its environment can cause it to get agitated and sick.
Hence, baking soda to deodorize the space works like magic. You can start by sprinkling a small amount in the cage and cleaning it up with a sponge. Make sure not to leave any residue behind.
Add fresh bedding. Here, you want to ensure that you’re using an excellent absorbent to hide odors and make your hamster comfortable. In the end, wash your hands before touching your pet again, as not doing so may contribute to the spread of bacteria.
What Happens If Your Hamster Eats Baking Soda?
Hamsters aren’t great at showcasing their discomfort. In fact, they’re quite the opposite. They may conceal it till it’s too late.
If your hamster accidentally ingests baking soda, be on the lookout for signs of discomfort. Watch them for at least 24 hours.
While a small quantity won’t kill them, a large amount can be extremely hazardous to their health. Some typical signs of toxicity among most animals include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, difficulty breathing, seizures, and depression.
Since hamsters are rodents, they’re considered evolutionary relatives of mice and rats. Baking soda is known to induce harmful chemical reactions in their stomachs in the form of acid. As a result, this acid poses the same threat to a hamster as it does to a mouse.
What to Do If Your Hamster Eats Baking Soda?
As they say, prevention is always better than cure. Not only baking soda but any other ingredient that isn’t a part of your hamster’s daily food intake should be kept far away.
Their digestive systems aren’t wired to deal with harsh impacts. If you suspect that your hamster has eaten baking soda, stay calm.
A small amount of it won’t hurt. However, you still want to look out for signs of toxicity. Stay close to them and notice if there’s any difference in their behavior.
Are they playing the way they usually do? Are they sleeping the way they usually do? Are they breathing without discomfort? Are they active or lethargic?
These are the questions you want to consider when looking out for signs. In most cases, hamsters undergo a normal digestion cycle and easily release toxic chemicals from their body.
However, if they have ingested a substantial quantity and begun displaying obvious signs of discomfort, take them to a vet immediately.
Under any circumstances, do not be hasty. Hamsters can detect behavioral changes from miles away and undergo extreme stress.
Do not force them to throw up, and do not pick them up in a panic. If baking soda doesn’t kill them, stress certainly would.
What Food Items Contain Baking Soda?
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is found in a range of food items. Some of them include cookies, rolls, and bread. Only a single teaspoon of this ingredient contains more than 1200 milligrams of sodium.
Some food colorants are also made using it. The crux of the matter is that baking soda won’t kill your hamster just by coming in contact with it.
Only if your hamster ingests it excessively will the powder pose a threat to its life. Avoid feeding them any food items that contain baking soda.
Are Soda Crackers Safe For Hamsters?
A common misconception among most pet owners is that crackers make a good treat for hamsters. However, it couldn’t be far from the truth.
A soda cracker is nothing less than a death invitation for them. Made using baking soda, yeast, and white flour, it can make your hamster sick.
Don’t fall for that crisp and dry texture. The size may seem appropriate for them, but the content can cause significant harm to their body.
Anything with excess sodium quantity should be collectively avoided when feeding a hamster. The salt content can even kill your hamster if eaten without supervision.
Can Hamsters Eat Bread?
Most bread contains baking soda, so they aren’t usually a part of an ideal hamster diet. Again, they aren’t forbidden either.
Bread also contains nutritious ingredients such as grains. Hence, you can feed bread to hamsters but only in moderation.
Bread also has a high carbohydrate content. Eating it excessively can result in digestive problems.
Can You Use Baking Soda to Make Your Hamster Cage Smell Nice?
A common cause of a smelly hamster is an unclean cage. From eating to playing, hamsters perform a range of tasks inside their cages.
Hence, it’s only natural for the cage to become unclean over time. Moreover, plastic and metal are also known for their absorbent qualities.
This is why the smell remains even if you have cleaned it up completely. Hamsters also urinate inside their litters.
However, sometimes, the bad smell can indicate an illness. A visit to the vet becomes necessary if the odor is stronger than usual.
Speaking of baking soda, it is an effective option when it comes to deodorizing your hamster’s cage. Once you’re done cleaning up, sprinkle it in small quantities for a while and remove it with a wet sponge.
Keeping Your Hamster Safe
As a pet parent, you must educate yourself about your hamster. What does it like or dislike? How does it react to different changes in the environment?
Hamsters have a strong sense of smell. In fact, it pretty much makes up for whatever it lacks in the vision department. For years, these rodents have been using this sense to smell danger from far away.
Hence, strong odor in their environment can be harmful. Their ability to inhale toxic substances is much stronger than any other pet’s.
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My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more