The Dangers of Hand Sanitiser

The current situation regarding the coronavirus outbreak has led to a massive increase in the use of hand sanitisers, many of which are based on ethanol, a simple alcohol which can be poisonous to pets if ingested or absorbed through the skin.

The team at Pilgrims Vets advise that all such products be kept well out of reach of your pets and offer the following information on spotting the signs of ethanol poisoning and how to respond.

If after reading on you have further enquiries or think your pet may have ingested hand sanitiser, please contact us immediately or call 01425 657700.

Contact us in an emergency

Ethanol poisoning in dogs and cats

Many household products contain ethanol and exposure is usually caused through spillages, which a pet may absorb orally or through the skin. Symptoms vary according to the level of exposure but involve a depression of the central nervous system, which can occur in a dog anything from 15 minutes to half an hour after ingestion on an empty stomach, or up to two hours later if it has eaten.


  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Problems with coordination
  • Unconsciousness
  • Incontinence
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Decreased temperature
  • Behavioural changes

How to act

If you think your pet may have lapped up or otherwise been exposed to hand sanitiser and notice any of the above symptoms, contact us or call on 01425 657700 for emergency advice as it must not go untreated.

Contact us in an emergency