FDA Warns Against Using Hand Sanitizer On Dogs

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
We’re all taking extra precautions these days when it comes to hygiene and sanitizing, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns against using hand sanitizer on dogs.

We all have sanitizer in just about every nook and cranny, always making sure to ward off the SARS-CoV-2 virus the best we can. We want to take care of our pets too (though research suggests the commonality of our dogs getting COVID-19 is extremely remote). Taking care of them means we have to be careful with our sanitizing, and be sure not to use hand sanitizer on our dogs.

Related: Could Your Dog Toys Be Poisoning Your Dog?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shared a warning on their Twitter page, telling pet parents that dogs can suffer from poisoning as the sanitizer is absorbed through the skin.

Attention Pet Owners: Do not use hand sanitizer to clean your pet’s paws. It can cause poisoning if absorbed through the skin. Hand sanitizer products can make your dog sick if eaten. pic.twitter.com/nxZnGxvtth

— FDA CVM (@FDAanimalhealth) July 17, 2020

In an interview with Today, veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker said that not only is it dangerous for your dog if they absorbed the ingredients of sanitizer, but sanitizer dries your dog’s paw pads out. This leaves them at risk for contracting viral and bacterial infections like Leptospirosis. They can also just make their pads hurt more and be more sensitive to burns as they’re out on their regular walks/play.

Obviously, the biggest danger is the ingestion of chemicals. Dogs will lick their wounds and injury, and dry, cracked paws can lead them to lick even more. Even a small amount of hand sanitizer ingestion can lead to gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog ingests too much ethyl alcohol (the main ingredient in most sanitizers), it can lead to their death.

Signs of ethyl alcohol poisoning in dogs include lethargy, disorientation, slow moving/reflexes, slow breathing and shallow panting.

Dr. Becker does believe that cleaning a pet’s paws a couple to a few times a week is a good idea, and if you walk them in places where it’s pretty dirty (urban streets), washing and cleaning daily is a good idea.

He suggests using a mild dish or hand soap on your dog’s paws, and be sure it’s diluted well.

Related: 9 Fresh Ways To Keep Your Dog’s Paws Clean

We’ve also found and loved PawZ Protex SaniPaw Spray if you want a fast and easy spritz for after each walk. Considering every little thing they come across somehow will end up on your floor, sofa, bed or more? It’s a good idea anyway–not just in light of COVID. We don’t typically walk around in our bare feet (and if we do, we wash them pretty regularly!) so taking care of our pet’s paws should be a priority too.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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