Hand sanitiser toxic to pets

How to keep your pet safe while practicing hand hygiene.

With hand sanitiser topping shopping lists across the globe during the coronavirus pandemic, pet owners have been warned to keep the hygiene staple out of reach of dogs and cats.

Animal Welfare League rehoming partner PETstock vet Dr Jessica Pickett said hand sanitiser can cause health problems for pets.

“Hand sanitiser contains ethanol, more commonly known as alcohol, which is highly toxic to pets if consumed in large amounts,” Dr Pickett said.

“Although simply licking small quantities of hand sanitiser will not cause significant harm to your pet, it is important to take necessary precautions where possible.”


Dr Pickett said pet owners should avoid touching their pets directly after using hand sanitiser.

“After you have applied hand sanitiser, ensure that it has completely dried on both hands before coming in contact with your pet,” she said.

“Immediately after application, avoid touching them on the head or around the mouth where there is potential for them to lick your hands.”

 Dr Pickett said sanitiser bottle lids should be secured after use and put away immediately.

“With hand sanitiser being used now more than ever, it’s important to store containers in a safe place out of your pet’s reach such as secure bathroom or kitchen cupboards, not in your handbag or on the floor,” she said.


Pet owners should seek veterinary attention for pets who have consumed sanitiser.

“If you suspect your pet has consumed hand sanitiser but you aren’t positive, look for signs of lethargy, vomiting, drooling or a dangerous drop in body temperature,” Dr Pickett said.

“In more severe cases, some pets may experience respiratory failure and seizures. 

“If your pet has ingested a large volume of sanitiser or demonstrates any of these symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately.”

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