There are plants that can hurt domesticated pets, but what about poison ivy? Are dogs allergic to it, can it do them harm, should you exercise caution?
We aim to find out.
Are Dogs Allergic to Poison Ivy?
If you’ve ever been exposed to poison ivy, you know how uncomfortable it can be to have an allergic reaction. Many times, humans come into contact with poison ivy without even knowing it’s happened until it’s too late. Since your dog roams all over through the grass, it’s only natural to wonder whether or not dogs are allergic to poison ivy too.
Just like humans, some dogs are mildly allergic to poison ivy and other dogs can have a severe reaction. Most dogs will have a similar reaction to poison ivy as humans so if you see your dog scratching more than usual or continually licking their legs or belly, check them carefully for symptoms. Itchy bumps, redness in the area, swelling, and even oozy blisters can develop within minutes to hours of exposure to the oils of a poison ivy plant.
Since a dog’s legs and belly have less fur and are the areas lowest to the ground, this is the most likely area to look for a reaction. It’s also possible for your dog to have a reaction to poison ivy on their nose, around their eyes, or other areas, especially if they stuck their nose into poison ivy while exploring the yard.
Can I Get Poison Ivy from My Dog?
The thing to be aware of with poison ivy and your dog, or most other animals, is that they can have the oil of the poison ivy plant on their skin or fur and pass it on to you or your children when you pet them. It’s a good idea for adults and children to get in the habit of washing their hands with soap after petting a dog that has just come in from roaming outside in an area the could have poison ivy.
The best way to remove any possible poison ivy oils from your dog if they’ve been exposed is to wash them with mild dog shampoo or even Dawn dish soap which will remove the oils. Be sure to avoid getting soap or shampoo in your dog’s eyes and rinse your dog thoroughly with clean water after bathing.
For a dog that has been exposed to poison ivy and is experiencing a reaction even after a good bath, you can apply medication to relieve symptoms and make your dog more comfortable. Use an OTC antihistamine cream applied to the affected areas. For more severe allergic reactions, consult your vet about dosage of an oral antihistamine such as Benadryl or Claritin to provide relief.
How Can I Protect My Dog from Poison Ivy?
The best way to keep your dog from poison ivy exposure is to be familiar with what poison ivy looks like and where it grows in your yard, your neighborhood, and even the dog park. If you know what it looks like, you can better avoid it when walking your dog, so that you both can stay itch free.
If your dog frequently wanders in places where poison ivy is prominent and you aren’t with them, consider protecting your dog during their walks with a t-shirt, or dog coat that covers at least their lower body where fur is shorter and skin is more exposed.