It has unfortunately become the norm to don a mask, slip into surgical gloves, and use a hand sanitizer. Recently, numerous brands of hand sanitizers have come under scrutiny due to ingredients used other than ethyl alcohol, not to be confused with isopropyl alcohol. One such ingredient is Methanol, which may be toxic when absorbed through the skin. Another is Benzalkonium chloride.
Online websites have compared the chemical makeup of some hand sanitizers to be the same as anti-freeze, because of the inactive ingredient Propylene Glycol. It may be true that propylene glycol is found in anti-freeze but it’s also used as a food additive, and in the manufacturing of cosmetics among other things. Does that make it safe??? But the question here is…
How does this apply to your dog?
Pet parents are concerned about possible toxicity if their dog licks their hands after using a hand sanitizer. The short answer is that ingesting hand sanitizer can cause serious health issues. The more hand sanitizer the dog has ingested, the higher the risk of ethyl alcohol poisoning. If you use a hand sanitizer and you have a dog, precautions should be taken to know exactly what the ingredients are used in addition to the alcohol or if the product is alcohol-free, what is the substitute active ingredient? Additionally, make sure your hands are dry before interacting with your dog. In many cases, the bitter taste of a hand sanitizer will be unpleasant enough to limit your dog’s interest in licking your hands.
It has come to light that pet parents are using hand sanitizer to clean their dogs’ paws. DO NOT USE HAND SANITIZER ON YOUR DOGS’ PAWS. Aside from the fact that some chemicals used in hand sanitizer are harmful if absorbed through the skin, the high alcohol content can slough your dogs’ pads and cause extreme dryness and cracking. This is not only painful but also increases the chance of infection and disease. Cleaning your dogs’ paws is always a good idea. Dilute dog shampoo or Dawn with water in a small plastic container, foam can cooler, styrofoam or disposable cup, and dip your dogs’ paw in it. Unscented baby wipes or doggy paw wipes are quick and easy and do a good job.
PLEASE read “WELLNESS” and view this VIDEO
Hand sanitizer is in almost every home, handbag, back-pack, and car. We even have little travel size bottles for handy use everywhere we go. Make sure to keep them away from your dog!
Alcohol poisoning requires emergency veterinary care. If you suspect your dog has ingested hand sanitizer, seek immediate veterinary care, and do not wait for symptoms.
TALK TO YOUR VETERINARIAN if you and your family routinely use a hand sanitizer.
Here are some labels I found. This one claims to be Alcohol-free. It uses Benzalkonium Chloride as the active ingredient and Propylene Glycol as an inactive ingredient.