Pet Danger – Some Hand Sanitizer can Poison Your Dog

Hand sanitizers are becoming a way of life in these crazy times. We are encouraged (rightly) to use a product to clean our hands and cooking/preparation surfaces on a regular basis. For alcohol-based hand sanitizers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a concentration of 60% to 95% ethanol or isopropanol and we have heard recommendations that if this is not commercially available then pour rubbing alcohol (isopropanol) onto a cloth.

The level of alcohol is often made as high as possible in order to destroy as many germs as possible and alcohol can cause serious damage to your dog. To quote petmd

Ethanol Toxicosis in Dogs
Ethanol poisoning (toxicosis) occurs from exposure to the chemical ethanol, either orally or through the skin, and results most commonly in a depression of the central nervous system — expressed in the animal as drowsiness, lack of coordination or unconsciousness. Other effects may include damage to body cells, and symptoms such as incontinence, slowed heart rate, and even heart attack. Ethanol poisoning is seen frequently in dogs, and occurs due to exposure to dyes, inks, disinfectants, mouthwashes, paints, perfumes, pharmaceuticals, gasoline, and certain beverages.

Symptoms and Types
Symptoms of ethanol poisoning vary depending on the amount ingested, and whether the dog’s stomach is full or empty. The main symptom is a depressed central nervous system, which may develop 15 to 30 minutes after ingestion on an empty stomach, and up to two hours later when ingested on a full stomach. Other symptoms include urinating or defecating involuntarily. Higher doses of ethanol ingestion can lead to behavioral changes ranging from depression to excitement, decreased body temperature (hypothermia), slow reflexes, and flatulence if bread dough is the source of ethanol (see causes, below). Signs of advanced ethanol poisoning include depression, slowed breathing and heart rate, an increase in total body acid (metabolic acidosis), and heart attack. If left untreated, this can result in the dog’s death.

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