Ever since this pandemic started, I have been seeing more and more posts that reference hand sanitizer being toxic to pets. Not simply toxic to pets, but if you use hand sanitizer and then give your furry friends a pat, it can kill them!! There are many variations of the meme, but the picture below pretty much sums it up. Why is this attempt to keep pets safe so infuriating to me? Well...it's not true...period! Let me repeat this...the following picture contains information that is FALSE!
The first issue is that hand sanitizers generally contain either isopropyl alcohol, more commonly known as rubbing alcohol, or they contain ethyl alcohol, which is the alcohol we humans like to imbibe when it's concocted properly (who's up for a curbside Margarita?). These are NOT the same ingredients found in typical antifreeze . . .
and that is ethylene glycol, which is extremely problematic. Interesting, someone altered this picture above to try and sound more scientific and said that hand sanitizers contain "Ethyl glycol," which I am pretty sure is not a thing. Thankfully, that post was reported and appears to be removed.
The next issue has to do with the consequences of a pet licking it off your hands or their fur. Can ethyl alcohol be problematic for pets? ABSOLUTELY, but not in the amounts that might be left on your hands after properly using hand sanitizer. Ethyl alcohol evaporates pretty quickly as you use it, so if your pet is licking enough to get sick from this, you are using WAY TOO MUCH! Don't let your pets use the hand sanitizer bottle as a chew toy, clean up any spills promptly, and, this goes without saying, don't pour it on your pet!
Please, stop sharing information like what you see above . . . it's NOT helping pets and it actually can induce panic in some people. Find trustworthy sites (not Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) for this kind of information. Here's a great link to Pet Poison Helpline about this very topic. Call your veterinarian if you are worried or use one of the many available telemedicine apps, like AirVet.