Hand Sanitizer and Pets – A Deadly Combination or Safe?

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hand sanitizer and pets

Thanks to the novel coronavirus outbreak, there’s nothing better for soothing jangled nerves than knowing you’re clean and microbe-free right now. As a result, hand sanitizer has become one of those “don’t leave home without it” items. A little squirt and rub and you can rest easy that you’ve got a measure of protection from getting sick — and that leads to some serious peace of mind.

However, there’s been plenty of talk about how hand sanitizer and pets don’t mix. The thought is that it might be dangerous to have around if you’ve got pets. The truth is that, yes, there are some things you need to worry about when it comes to hand sanitizer and animals, but you’ll be glad to know there’s less to fear than you might think. Since dogs are a significant population, here’s the real deal on how hand sanitizer and dogs interact.

Is Hand Sanitizer Poisonous For Pets? Yes.

Is Hand Sanitizer Dangerous for Pets? No.

First off, let’s address the elephant in the room: if you’ve seen shrill warnings on social media about petting your cat or letting your dog lick you after applying hand sanitizer, it’s time to come back down to earth. Yes, there are ingredients in hand sanitizer that can be toxic to your pets. However, the amount of hand sanitizer a pet would have to ingest for it to act as a poison is a miraculous amount.

Veterinarians say that a medium-sized dog, for example, would have to drink close to a cup of hand sanitizer for it to be fatal. Because of the awful taste of hand sanitizer, there are almost no circumstances where a dog of any size would ingest that much hand sanitizer; yes, we know pets like the taste of their own backsides, but hand sanitizer is simply unpalatable, even for our furry friends.

Are Hand Sanitizer and Antifreeze The Same Thing? No.

Let’s address the other huge rumor floating around that hand sanitizer is made from the same ingredients as antifreeze. This is especially frightening for pet owners, as antifreeze is well-established as both deadly poisonous and attractive to pets due to its taste. Well, we’ve already addressed the taste issue, so you don’t have to worry about that part, but what about the similarities between the ingredients of hand sanitizer and antifreeze?

There’s good news there as well. While antifreeze is absolutely toxic, it’s made primarily out of a toxic alcohol known as ethylene glycol. Hand sanitizer, on the other hand, is made with alcohol as well, but not a toxic alcohol. In fact, hand sanitizer is made with ethyl alcohol, the same type that is used in alcoholic drinks. In other words, hand sanitizer and antifreeze are as different from one another as night and day when it comes to how dangerous they are.

The Final Word on Hand Sanitizer and Pets

It’s time to put your fears at rest: you’re not risking poisoning your pets by using hand sanitizer in your house. In fact, you’re doing quite the opposite: you’re protecting your health and the health of those around you, guaranteeing you’ll be around to care for and love your pets for years to come. So, know that hand sanitizer and pets are ok to be in the same house together. Keep on using that hand sanitizer when you need to, give your pet a hug, and keep up the good work!

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