Valuable Real Information about Hand Sanitizers and Pets


Q: I read online that a hand sanitizer – which so many of us are now using –  is like antifreeze and will kill pets.  J.B., New York City, NY

As for hand sanitizers, here’s the scoop, according to Dr. Ahna Brutlag, director veterinary services & Senior Veterinary Toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline & Safety Call International. “Many contain high concentrations of ethanol (the same alcohol in beer and wine), upwards of 65 to 95 percent, in order to effectively kill germs. While hand sanitizer is rather unpalatable to pets, ingestion does happen. This results is a whopping dose of alcohol—much like shots of hard liquor. Pets can become very intoxicated which can result in a severe drop in blood sugar, incoordination, a drop in body temperature, neurological depression, coma, seizures, and (potentially) death. Small dogs and cats are most at risk than large dogs due to their tiny size and larger surface area. The same is also true for toddlers and young children–pediatricians warn parents about hand sanitizers too.”

And please don’t even think about using hand sanitizer dog or cat paws. They will lick it off and potentially become ill. Besides COVID-19 (the novel corona virus) is very unlikely to be an illness which our pets can get.

For more info on COVID-19 and pets, Dr. Gail Golab, chief science officer of the American Veterinary Medical Association appears on my WGN radio show. And Dr. Golab answers if you can become infected by touching your pet after an infected person has pet your dog or cat or interacted with your pet.