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Hand Sanitizer is Toxic to Pets

A Reminder that Hand Sanitizer is Toxic to Pets

In light of increased usage of hand sanitizer, Pet Insurance Australia is issuing a warning to all pet owners.

"With the current pandemic, hand sanitizer is becoming a very sought after staple in most Australian homes and across the world," Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. "However, pet owners need to be aware that it is toxic to pets."

Hand sanitizer, which typically contains ethanol can cause alcohol poisoning in pets"If ingested it can cause issues with pets," Crighton warns. "So it's a good idea to keep it out of reach from your curious companions."

Alcohol is a very dangerous substance for all pets.

"If your pet does ingest any amount of hand sanitizer it's important to seek veterinary advice quickly," Crighton recommends.

Symptoms of poisoning can include:


  • The smell of alcohol on the breath
  • Behavioural changes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Collapse 
  • Decreased coordination
  • Dehydration
  • Depression / Lethargy
  • Diarrhoea
  • Seizures
  • Staggering
  • Tremors
  • Incontinence
  • Vomiting 
  • Weakness 
"Keeping our hygiene up and washing hands is paramount at this time," Crighton says. "But remember that the products we are using could have an effect on the health of our pets. 

Keeping any cleaning products and hand sanitizer out of the reach of the family pet is very important to prevent issues."

Accidental poising from a range of household products can cause a huge amount of stress for pet owners across the world.

“From your everyday pain relief to the dog getting into the rat poison, the products we keep in our homes can have a detrimental effect on our pets.

Common Poisonings include:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Paracetamol
  • Detergents
  • Insecticides
  • Chocolate
  • Rat and mouse bait

“We estimate there could be well more than 10,000 companion animals (insured and uninsured) suffering from human drug poisoning each year in Australia,” Crighton says.

Detergents can also pose a problem for pets.

“Curious kittens and cats have known to walk into a freshly bleached shower and lick the remains from the floor, causing burns to their tongues and mouth,” Crighton says. “So, making simple steps to ensure you remove the chemicals after cleaning is important.”

MEDIA RELEASE, 17th March 2020

For a comprehensive list of items that are toxic to pets, please read "March is National Pet Poison Prevention Month".
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