Is alcohol in dog dental sprays a good or bad thing? When this question became part of the national conversation for mainstream dog and cat lovers, the truth of the matter became clear… clearly divided that is.

Manufacturers of cat and dog dental care products as well as the consumers who buy them put forth valid arguments both for and against the question. Here is a look at both sides of the issue.

The two top manufacturers of pet oral care sprays, as their respective labels reveal, add 25% straight grain alcohol (ethanol) to their well-known products. This is equal to a 1.25 ounce straight shot of whiskey. The reasons for doing so are two-fold and completely valid, at least from a business point of view.

It’s good business sense

First, in manufacturing circles, alcohol is as common as water and cheap as dirt. Adding pennies worth of an ingredient to a product that can retail for $20 to $30 a copy is just good 貓吐毛 business sense. As profits increase, shareholders get big dividend checks and masses of consumers become convinced the products are harmless because more money goes into buying more advertising to convince them. As the saying goes, the more you tell the more you sell.

A second point in favor of using alcohol in cat and dog oral care sprays also goes to profitability. Alcohol is, after all, an excellent preservative. By mixing their products to the equivalent of a 50 proof cocktail, the Big Alcohol boys can turn out tens of thousands of bottles at a time, bringing manufacturing costs to a minimum. Warehousing costs are cheaper than small-batch manufacturing costs. Finished products can sit stockpiled in pallets, waiting for market distribution for 1 to 5 years before going out to consumers. This practice maximizes corporate profits.

But at what cost?

Fortunately, there is a growing school of thought among responsible dog and cat lovers that places animals ahead of corporations. Starting at the top is the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) who warns us simply, “Alcohol, even in small amounts, is harmful to dogs and cats.” No mincing of words from the foremost authority against animal cruelty, but let’s look into a few of the medical reasons to learn why.

When a dog or cat (or human) ingests alcohol, changes in blood chemistry begin immediately. Total body acid surges and, over time, alcoholic ketoacidosis (AKA), an acute metabolic acidosis can occur. What is merely an annoying hangover to a human can become a matter of life and death to a dog or cat.

“Your dog is much smaller than you,” says holistic veterinarian Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM, “and so is much more susceptible to the poisonous effects of alcohol, including death.”