A person about to pour some alcohol on a gauze pad.

What Happens If A Dog Drinks Rubbing Alcohol?

4 mins |

Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol can be found in a lot of pet products and household cleaning products. Your dog may lick it or ingest it mistakenly. But what happens if a dog drinks rubbing alcohol? 

If your dog has ingested rubbing alcohol, the first signs will be vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and low body temperature. When you see these symptoms or if you suspect your dog has drunk rubbing alcohol, you should take it to get help immediately.

How Can Dogs Come In Contact With Rubbing Alcohol?

A person using alcohol to clean a door handle.
Be careful, and keep your dog away while you’re doing this!

Most of the products we use daily for cleaning are a real danger to our dogs due to their ingredients. One of those ingredients might be rubbing alcohol (also known as isopropyl alcohol), which can be found in disinfectants, cleaning products, or antiseptics. Dogs can come in contact with these dangerous ingredients by mistakenly licking a surface after it’s been cleaned. Or if the product has been left open somewhere, that’s another possibility.

Another way is if a dog product contains rubbing alcohol. We recommend checking each ingredient on a dog product before use to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol On Dogs?

The answer is of course not. There is no reason to use rubbing alcohol on your dogs. If these products meet your dog’s skin and paws, or if they have licked it, they will cause problems.

Some owners might use wipes to clean their dog’s feet and paws, but this is not a good thing to do. Because these wipes may contain rubbing alcohol, and, after cleaning them, your dog will begin to lick his paws, it’s just not a good idea. It’s better to wash them with water or use wipes that are alcohol-free.

There is one exception we can mention, which is when you or the veterinary doctor use some alcohol in cotton around a tick on your dog’s skin. The amount of alcohol used is very little, and you should clean it off immediately after use. We also recommend only doing this after a conversation with your vet or if it is absolutely necessary for the safety of your dog. Either way, check your dog for signs of alcohol poisoning and take them to the vet immediately if you notice any.

What Are The First Symptoms Of Alcohol Poisoning?

Skin contact will cause a lot of skin irritation, and it will cause redness and a lot of discomfort and pain in your dog. It will start scratching and licking the skin more. If your dog has open wounds, they will become more inflamed and more difficult to heal due to the effect of rubbing alcohol on them.

If a dog drinks rubbing alcohol, gastrointestinal problems will begin with lots of pain and discomfort also. Symptoms of gastrointestinal problems will be irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea. Dehydration will set in as your dog loses a lot of its fluids and appears weaker. It might also salivate and sometimes it happens that it might inhale this salivation and have respiratory problems from this too.

Inhaling rubbing alcohol would cause other difficulties with breathing too such as dyspnea. This can lead your dog to collapse.

How Can You Prevent Your Dog From Coming Into Contact With Rubbing Alcohol?

Avoiding rubbing alcohol is quite easy if you are careful in choosing the right products for your dog as well as cleaning products.

First, avoid using any alcohol-based products in your home or apartment. If you do use them, keep your dog away from the area you’re cleaning. Only let it out after the surfaces have finished drying. Also, make sure all cleaning products are in places your dog can’t get to such as closed drawers or closets. 

In addition, always read the labels of products you are going to use on your dog. You can also get suggestions from your vet.

In Conclusion: What Happens If A Dog Drinks Rubbing Alcohol? 

So, if your dog comes into contact with or ingests rubbing alcohol, it will cause poisoning. Poisoning is very dangerous and will appear with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and dehydration, among others. Take your dog to the vet right away if you notice these symptoms.

So, do you have any tips for helping dogs to avoid rubbing alcohol? Let us know your thoughts and why in the comments below!

Growing up always near dogs and cats, Doriana understood that she is very connected with the animals and that in the future, she will want to work and help them, by being a veterinarian. The time passed by and she successfully graduated as a veterinary doctor she did start to work as a veterinary assistant in a small clinic while er studying. As soon as she graduated she started working as a veterinary doctor in the biggest veterinary hospital in Albania. She worked there for 3 years, where she managed successfully to work properly on anesthesia, assisting in the operation room and intensive care.