The Dangers of Hand Sanitizer for Pets: What You Need to Know
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The Dangers of Hand Sanitizer for Pets: What You Need to Know

Read on to learn more about the dangers of hand sanitizers for pets.

If you’ve been outside with your pets recently, it may look a bit different. From everything to hand washing, face masks, and keeping your distance, you may have to incorporate new routines with your furry friends. In fact, one thing you may have to consider is where you store your hand sanitizer. Naturally, you want to keep everyone in your family healthy, including your furry family members. But, you may not always think of something like hand sanitizer as a hazard. Fortunately, we sat down with Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Sarah Nold to learn more about the dangers of hand sanitizer for pets and best practices for your best friend.

The dangers of hand sanitizer for pets

What you need to know about the dangers of hand sanitizer for pets and tips to keep your furry friend safe.

Is hand sanitizer really toxic for your pets?

Whether you have a puppy or multi-pet household, objects like cleaning products and personal care items may affect pets of all ages and sizes. In fact, you may not always remember to put away small objects when you’re around the house. For example, items like your hand sanitizer and face mask may be used on a daily basis. Nold weighs in on the hazards of hand sanitizer for your best friend.

“Most hand sanitizers contain some form of alcohol, such as ethanol. For example, if your dog or cat ingests a large amount of hand sanitizer this could cause alcohol toxicity. Also, small dogs and cats may be at greater risk. Alcohol toxicity is unlikely to occur if your dog or cat was to lick your hands after you apply hand sanitizer.”

Your pets may be curious, especially if there’s a new item in your home. Also, your new puppy or kitten may be more likely to explore, find small items, and want to play with them. After all, kittens love to climb on counters, shelves, and high places. Consider storing away small items in a closed cabinet.

Signs of hand sanitizer and ethanol toxicity

There may be many hazards in or around your home. However, you may not always think of an item that you wear as a pet hazard. Because of this, it’s important to be mindful of your pet’s behavior. Also, every pet is different, and they may react differently to ingesting something. Nold points out common signs to look for when it comes to ethanol toxicity.

Consider the following:

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Incoordination, especially when walking

Best practices with hand sanitizer and handling your pets

Whether you’re on a walk with your dog or just returning home from work, you may need to add new precautions into your day to help keep your furry friend safe. Nold recommends these tips to help your best friend stay safe, happy, and healthy.

  • After applying hand sanitizer, ideally, you would want to wait until your hands are dry before petting your pet or offering them a treat.
  • Many dogs and cats may not like the smell or taste of the hand sanitizer on your hands, especially before the alcohol has completely evaporated.
  • If you think your pet has ingested a large amount of hand sanitizer, or if you found them chewing on an empty bottle, you should immediately contact your veterinarian.

Further, you never want to use hand sanitizer to clean your pet’s paws or fur. Consider talking with your veterinarian about pet-friendly pet care items like grooming wipes to help keep your best friend clean.

Your cat may be curious about your hand sanitizer or face mask. Read on to learn more about the dangers of hand sanitizer for your pets and why not to leave those items around the house.

New house items and routines may mean being more mindful of your furry friends

Your home may be a wonderful place to bond and interact with your pets, but may also contain unknown or new hazards. But by watching your pet’s behavior, keeping a pet-friendly space, and talking with your veterinarian, your pet may enjoy the space with the rest of the family by their side!

For more on pets, read How to Help Prepare Your Pets for Back to Work after Quarantine


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