Baking soda should never be put in a guinea pig’s cage. Baking soda is not only poisonous for guinea pigs, but it will also irritate their lungs. This means simply being in the area of baking soda can cause serious damage to the health of your guinea pig.
Putting baking soda in a guinea pig cage can be very dangerous to the health of the guinea pigs. Besides causing numerous illnesses, it can also cause irreversible conditions like blindness and death. You should avoid putting baking soda in your guinea pig’s cage at all costs.
Baking soda, formally known as sodium bicarbonate, is a white powder that eliminates strong odors. Sprinkling baking soda in smelly areas is typically very effective for eliminating strong odors, but can be toxic to guinea pigs because of the chemicals.
Baking Soda Is Toxic To Guinea Pigs
The high sodium content in baking soda can cause long-lasting lung issues, blindness, and fatality in healthy guinea pigs. Ingestion is not the only way baking soda poisons guinea pigs. Inhaling the powder or residue can be just as tragic for the guinea pig as ingesting.
Guinea Pigs May Mistake Baking Soda For Food
It is common for guinea pigs to mistake baking soda for food, poisoning themselves with the toxic powder.
Whether you use baking soda as a liner at the bottom of your cage or as a soaking method during a deep clean, it can cause major havoc on your rodent’s gastrointestinal, respiratory, and other bodily systems.
Baking Soda Can Cause Lung Issues
Guinea pigs have fragile respiratory systems, so you risk causing lung issues by using baking soda. They can, in some cases, overcome the issues affecting their respiratory system, but not all lung issues are curable. According to Merck Veterinary Manual, inflammation of the lungs, also called pneumonia, can be deadly in guinea pigs.
Baking Soda May Crystalize The Organs
Baking soda is toxic to most animals and may crystalize their organs if ingested. Clumped baking soda resembles food, and guinea pigs may eat it by mistake. While walking on baking soda residue, they may also cross-contaminate their food with baking soda. Traces of this toxic powder on their paws transfer to their food, resulting in fatal poisoning.
Baking Soda Can Cause Intestinal Bloating
Guinea pigs require a clear digestive tract, and the consumption of baking soda can lead to severe intestinal bloating. Intestinal bloating occurs when gas builds in the gastrointestinal tract because the guinea pig cannot pass gas. Consuming baking soda causes internal bubbling because of the high sodium levels.
You can identify this by fatigue, loss of appetite, and swelling around their ribcage. There may also be physical signs of ingestion. White powder on their paws or around their mouth indicates your guinea pig has either stepped in or was eating baking soda.
Take your guinea pig to the emergency veterinarian immediately if you see this. The results of gastrointestinal bloating can be fatal if they are not properly treated immediately. In fact, they can worsen overnight, resulting in death.
What Can You Use To Clean Guinea Pig Cages Instead of Baking Soda?
Absorbent materials and natural cleaners are better options than baking soda for cleaning guinea pig cages. Baking soda is a dangerous odor-removing powder that can hurt guinea pigs, not help them. Choose alternative cleaning methods to keep the odor down instead of threatening your guinea pig’s life.
Use natural cleaners or commercial cleaners that are veterinarian approved. Always let water and commercial cleaners dry before replacing your guinea pig’s bedding.
You may also train your guinea pig to use alternative waste-disposing methods, like using the litter box to make odor control significantly easier.
Use Absorbent Bedding Instead of Blankets
Absorbent, odor-eliminating bedding will do the same job as baking soda. Absorbent bedding is safer than baking soda and less smelly than using an old towel or blanket. Old towels fail to soak urine effectively. Instead, they will leave their latrine area wet. Absorbent bedding effectively soaks urine, and high-quality brands use natural odor control.
The only downfall to using absorbent bedding in your guinea pig cage instead of baking soda is the price point. It can be more expensive to use bedding than an old towel or newspaper.
White Vinegar Eliminates Odors Better Than Baking Soda
White vinegar is a better substitute than baking soda because it eliminates odors efficiently without leaving behind a harmful residue.
Use a 1:1 water and white vinegar mixture during the weekly cleaning process as you replace the bedding. Wipe the bottom and sides of the enclosure entirely before replacing bedding, toys, and other structures.
Wash Your Guinea Pig Cage Frequently
Washing the guinea pig cage frequently will prevent the need for odor-eliminating products like baking soda. In addition to cleaning the cage, you must always remember to clean the guinea pig accessories.
For cage cleaning, use a vinegar and water solution or a veterinarian-approved commercial cleaner.
To get the most effective clean:
- Disassemble all parts before cleaning.
- Use a 1:1 vinegar and water solution to wipe the bottoms and sides of the cage.
- Let all parts dry completely before reassembling.
Litter-box Training Is More Effective
Guinea pigs can be litter box trained for more effective odor control. Litter-box training your guinea pig is more effective in minimizing pet waste odors because of the containment. There are many litters available containing safe odor eliminators so you can keep your guinea pig’s cage smelling fresh.
Litter box training is easy and worth it. With a litter box, removing pet waste is easier. It takes significantly less time than removing, replacing, and washing soggy waste-stained blankets. You can conveniently dispose of waste at the end of each day for an odorless cage.