My Dog Ate Hand Sanitizer – What Should I Do Now?

The article will show you the steps to take if your dog eats hand sanitizer. 

Hand sanitizer contains alcohol and can be very toxic to dogs. You should contact the vet immediately, and then call poison control for advice. The vet will likely induce vomiting and then give the dog activated charcoal.

How Does Hand Sanitizer Work?

Hand sanitizers, also known as alcohol gel or antibacterial soaps, kill bacteria by washing them away with an antibacterial agent called ethyl alcohol. 

Products that contain 62% ethyl alcohol are the most effective for disinfecting hands and other surfaces. 

At the same time, they are the most dangerous to your pet if he or she happens to consume them.

Will Hand Sanitizer Hurt A Dog?

Hand sanitizer, also known as alcohol gel or antibacterial hand soap, contains ethyl alcohol.  This is the same substance that can be found in beer, wine, and hard liquor. It also kills germs.  

Dogs are extremely sensitive to alcohol, and even small amounts can be very toxic to them.

You cannot rely on the dog owner’s judgment when they ask if it will hurt their dog if he or she ate hand sanitizer.  

People who use hand sanitizer frequently may not realize how potentially harmful it is to dogs.  

Some people do not know that alcohol is in their product at all, while others underestimate the concentration of alcohol in hand sanitizers found in bathrooms or near where drinks are served.

Why Is Hand Sanitizer Toxic? 

While it seems counterintuitive for antibacterial soap to be toxic for animals, this is true because humans and other animals metabolize alcohol very differently than germs do. 

When your dog consumes hand sanitizer they will likely experience intoxication from the high concentration of ethyl alcohol in it. 

Hand sanitizer often contains around 60% alcohol by volume, and while that is a very effective way to clean your hands, it means that any animal who consumes hand sanitizer will suffer similar effects as consuming ethanol or other liquors.

Hand sanitizers are not only found at home, they can also be commonly found at schools, hospitals, and even public bathrooms.  

Dogs will frequently get into things on the floor – even if their owners do not realize there is an open container nearby. This is what makes them so dangerous – everything seems harmless until you notice that your dog became intoxicated without being near anyone drinking alcohol or eating chocolate!

Will My Dog Die If They Swallow Hand Sanitizer?

It depends on how much your dog has consumed. Hand sanitizer, like all other alcohols, will cause intoxication with large amounts of consumption. 

This means the dog will likely act drunk and might vomit when it gets home. However, too much hand sanitizer can poison a dog and cause seizures or even organ failure and death within 24 hours of ingestion. 

Even if your dog doesn’t appear to be intoxicated by hand sanitizer, it’s important to contact a veterinarian immediately.

What Happens If A Dog Eats Hand Sanitizer?

dog likely unwell

As little as one teaspoon full can kill a small dog and even less can be toxic for a large dog.  

Your dog will likely become very drunk and start to vomit when you get home, so it’s important to keep your dog away from other animals or children. 

You should also take steps immediately if the container of hand sanitizer was opened so that there is less risk of being intoxicated by its fumes.

If the dogs were not able to finish the alcohol before vomiting occurs, then it is more serious than just a simple poisoning. The remaining chemical in their stomach can cause an extremely toxic reaction due to alcohol overload and can lead to liver failure and death if left untreated for too long. 

Not all incidents with hand sanitizer end up this way – but they do happen often enough for us to suggest calling for emergency treatment right away. 

Your dog will have to receive activated charcoal and other treatments immediately, and it’s important that you get the medical attention your dog needs as soon as possible!

Symptoms Of Hand Sanitizer Poisoning In Dogs

The symptoms of hand sanitizer poisoning are similar to alcohol poisoning in dogs. 

Some dog owners might not even realize that their dog was poisoned, as the initial symptoms are mild and hard to differentiate from normal drunkenness. 

Your dog may become disoriented, seem lethargic or sleepy, vomit frequently and excessively, have a lowered heart rate (below 60 beats per minute), experience a lack of coordination or loss of balance, begin foaming at the mouth and seizures.

How Long Does It Take Before Symptoms Show Up?

It depends on how much alcohol was ingested by the dog. The longer the amount of exposure time, the greater chance of intoxication – which is why people need to be aware when using a bottle of hand sanitizer that has been opened or left accessible.  

The body of the dog can only process so much alcohol at a time, and dogs who are experiencing heavy intoxication will also experience vomiting.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Hand Sanitizer?

You definitely want to help your dog, but before rushing him or her over to the veterinarian, there are several things you can try first:  

  • Try to make sure your pet is not vomiting excessively (especially since hand sanitizers are often found near where people eat – a floor can be extremely slippery when wet). 
  • Give plenty of water for at least twenty minutes so that the alcohol does not stay in their mouth. 
  • Make sure your pet is able to breathe comfortably. 

Call poison control right away after doing all the above measures. If the hand sanitizer was opened then make sure to remove the dog from the area immediately and call poison control.

Will The Vet Have To Induce Vomiting?

dog with first aid

Yes, if your dog ingested enough hand sanitizer to cause intoxication.  

The vet wants to rid the body of as much alcohol as possible before it has a chance to do damage.  

Vets may not even wait for you to arrive at the clinic before inducing vomiting because time is critical in saving an animal’s life when they’ve ingested toxic amounts of something like hand sanitizer.  

How Does The Vet Induce Vomiting?

The vet will give several types of drugs and use different techniques in order to get the pet to vomit. 

These include: 

  • Giving apomorphine, which forces the dog or cat’s nervous system into emesis (vomiting).
  • Administering hydrogen peroxide or mustard plasters, which causes irritation to the esophagus and stomach.
  • Giving xylazine, a sedative that also promotes emesis. Administering gastric lavage (stomach pumping). 
  • Using stomach tube.

Once the vet has induced vomiting, you can expect the dog’s abdomen to be pumped with activated charcoal. These chemicals absorb and bind any remaining alcohol in an animal’s body cavity after inducing vomiting.  

After receiving this treatment, the dog should begin returning to normal fairly quickly.

How Long Does It Take For My Dog To Recover From Hand Sanitizer Poisoning?

Vomiting usually lasts 1-2 hours after consumption, although some dogs might vomit for longer if they consumed a large amount of hand sanitizer. 

Most dogs recover from the ill effects if they are treated right away, but they can become lightly intoxicated if there is a lot of alcohol in their system before vomiting. 

Dog Licked My Hand After I Used Hand Sanitizer – Is That Dangerous Too?

If the dog licked your hand afterward right after you used it, then they should be fine.  

Normal amounts of harmless ingredients like aloe and glycerin are added to many commercial hand sanitizers to make them more appealing to humans.  

Most dogs will be just fine after licking your hand if they don’t seem to have any other symptoms.  

If you see any signs of sickness or intoxication in your dog, make sure to call for emergency veterinary care immediately!

What If My Dog Ate Hand Sanitizer AND Antifreeze?

Remember that hand sanitizers often contain alcohol, so it should not be a surprise that the combination of antifreeze and hand sanitizer can have fatal consequences for a pet. 

The two chemicals are extremely toxic together, and even small amounts can lead to liver failure and death with enough exposure time.  

The best thing to do is get your dog immediate veterinary attention – activated charcoal may be administered as well. 

If the dog has ingested a large amount of both substances, then inducing vomiting and gastric lavage may not be successful because the absorption of one chemical has likely already occurred as well as poison the liver.  

Are There Pet-Friendly Hand Sanitizers?

Yes, Scout makes an alcohol-free hand sanitizer just for pets!  

This product is organic and pet-friendly so you can use it without having to worry. However, if your dog or cat were to break into a regular one then they would still be in danger of alcohol intoxication.   

Remember that even though there are safe alternatives available, hand sanitizer should never be kept anywhere accessible by small children or pets. 

Keep hand sanitizers stored up high in cabinets after using them so they aren’t at risk of being consumed accidentally!

Preventing Your Dog From Eating Hand Sanitizer In The Future

You can buy the pet-friendly kind that will not hurt your dog, or you can even make your own natural hand sanitizer that is safe for pets and humans alike.  

However, it is a good idea to put these items out of reach from curious noses until the bottle has been completely used up! 

A great way to prevent a dog or cat from getting into hand sanitizer is to keep some ceramic pots around the house. Ceramic pots are heavy and not easy to knock over, which means that dogs won’t be able to get into them so easily!

The best option for stopping your dog from eating hand sanitizer is to make sure you don’t leave any lying around. Take care of these bottles when you’re done using them and put them out of reach before they can accidentally end up in the dog’s mouth! 

Some Ways of Using Antiseptic Without Risking Alcohol Poisoning In Pets

  1. Carry hand sanitizer with you in a small purse or bag, but make sure that the opening is securely closed when not in use.
  2. Use natural DIY remedies like olive oil (this one is especially good for removing disinfectants with bleach).
  3. Use a bidet to clean your hands in full.
  4. Wash your hands in warm water several times to ensure all germs have been removed.
  5. Finish by using hand sanitizer if needed.


Hand sanitizers can be very dangerous to dogs!  

Even alcohol-free hand sanitizers, which contain ingredients that are safe for humans, can be toxic to pets when ingested.  

If your pet has consumed too much hand sanitizer, call animal poison control or take them straight to the local vet’s office before it is too late!

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