can dogs get poison ivy

Can Dogs Get Poison Ivy?


Hiking and strolling in the woods are the most loved activities for both dogs and dog parents. But going out in the wilderness without the knowledge of flora and fauna might get you and your beloved canine in trouble. The most common poisonous plant in the US is a serious threat, and people may wonder can dogs get poison ivy?

Well, the answer to this question is an unfortunate yes. When people want to explore their surroundings and stretch their limits someday or the other, they may come in contact with poison ivy. Asking the question can dogs get poison ivy is a must for concerned parents.

can dogs get poison ivy - a complete guide


Can Dogs Get Poison Ivy? Here’s a Complete Guide

We have come up with detailed information on poison ivy and other related plants, its effect on your dog, and what to do when he comes in contact with them. So, without further ado, let’s explore the topic with some authentic information on the Anacardiaceae Family and everything involved with it.

Can Poison Ivy be Fatal to My Dog?

If you are wondering if the contact with poison ivy could claim life or not, rest assured. The “pet poison helpline” places poison ivy on the mild toxicity level, and it is not fatal to both humans and dogs. The hazardous impacts of this plant are itching, scratching, and allergy to the skin.

The Anacardiaceae Family

Dog parents looking for the answer to the question can dogs get poison ivy must also be aware of poison oak and poison sumac. All three “poison family members” are loaded with “urushiol.” It is a kind of oily soap that is present all over the body of these plants. Urushiol gets absorbed in the skin quickly and reacts swiftly on both human and canine skin creating allergy and itching.

poison ivy composition

Poison Ivy

This is the most well known in North America and is easy to identify. When you see a plant with three leaves grown together, this is your cue to stay away. The three leaves will be shooting from almost the same place, with the bigger leaf a bit larger than the other two. The side wing leaves will always be shorter than the middle one.

This plant is not found in the desert and Alaska, otherwise, you will find it along roads, rivers, or in the woods in most parts of America. You are only safe when you can identify it and keep your beloved buddy away from its touch. The best approach is to stay protected and to stay away from the plant.

Poison Oak

The same three leave shape applies to this poisonous plant but with yellowish berries with a white pattern. Most of the time, the fuzzy-looking three-leaved plant is poison oak that should be avoided at all costs.

The poison oak plant can grow three feet high and is also present in North America. Dogs living in California are the most vulnerable to this poisonous plant. Rain and wildfire are considered the reason for the epic growth and soaring population of this plant throughout the US.

Poison Sumac

When you enter the wetlands in the US, you must stay at a distance from this elongated leave plant. The swampy areas are housing this poisonous plant as it likes wet environment. The smooth edges of the leaves with an oval structure will help you identify this threat.

This capricious plant changes color throughout the season. In the summer, you will see a bright orange bloom along with a reddish stem. In the spring, this plant will mix up with all the other plants with green shades. In the fall, it becomes easy to recognize it with the red shades all over its body.

Why is poison ivy a problem

What If My Dog Eats Poison Ivy?

Dogs are omnivores, and if your beloved canine takes it literally, you must be cautious of their love for salad type vegetation. When exploring the woods, you should watch your pup and prevent him from eating harmful plants and herbs. If your pooch eats poison ivy by accident, stay calm, there are no fatal consequences but will require your immediate attention.

Can dogs get poison ivy? Yes, and it comes with various side effects. But when your dog eats poison ivy, there are fewer things to worry about. The digestive system of your canine buddy is robust enough to curb the poison.

However, there is a high risk of diarrhea and vomiting. These two symptoms will not be that much problematic, and within 24 hrs, your beloved salad eater will be back to normal. If the symptoms persist, you should consult your vet.

Symptoms of Poison Ivy Rash in Dogs

Urushiol is the same culprit for all three members of the poison ivy family. The symptoms and side effects of getting in contact with any of them will be almost the same. Contact with these plants will make your dog scratch the affected area rather intensely. This frenzy will lead to bruises and scars and in many cases, you will see droplets of blood oozing out from the area.

keep dogs away from poison ivy

Biting and chewing the affected area is also common in dogs. The fur on the body will be the protection against harmful oil. The double coat fur on dog skin will help them stay safe from more serious impacts. But still, there are high chances that your dog will spread the symptom on other parts of his body or other pets and humans around.

Vets and experts have identified the following signs and symptoms when your beloved dog comes in contact with poison ivy or its sister plants:

  • Skin inflammation
  • Blisters
  • Scabs
  • Severe itching
  • Bruised bumps
  • Redness
  • Swelling on the skin

How to Prevent the Symptoms from Spreading?

When your dog has come in contact with poison ivy, there will be two situations happening and both of them will require the same prevention strategy. The oil from the plant tends to affect humans and other pets in various ways. If the affected dog comes in contact with the furniture, bedding, or direct contact with humans and other pets, things will take a nasty turn.

Anyone who comes in contact with that poison ivy oil will develop all or some of the symptoms mentioned above. You must be aware of the situation when your dog gets in contact with the plant in any way. First, you must understand the different scenarios; then, you will follow procedures for prevention and safety.symptoms of poison ivy infection

Scenario 1

When you see your dog rubbing his body with the poisonous plant, the oil has not reached the skin yet. This scenario will not show create any symptoms if your dog has a long and thick fur on the body. The best approach here is to separate the affected pooch from the rest of the squad. Then you should wash the dog as quickly as possible.

Scenario 2

The second scenario is when the oil has reached the skin. Whether you have seen the contact point or not, the scratching and itching frenzy is enough to warn you about the situation. The same seclusion technique is also highly recommended here to prevent contact with other humans and pets.

Can Dogs Get Poison Ivy? Prevention Techniques

After isolating the affected dog, the best thing to do is give him a thorough bath. If you cannot give your dog a bath, use gloves or some other clothes to wash the oil from the skin as quickly as possible. Do not touch the clothes and gloves which you have used in the cleaning procedure. Vets recommend to use oatmeal and anti-allergy shampoo in such situations.

When you get home, the first thing should be to give a bath for your dog, clean the car, take your clothes off and wash them. The towels used in bathing must not be used again for obvious reasons, of course.

prevent your dog from being in contact with poison ivy

Is there Breed Specific Reaction of Poison Ivy?

The answer to the question can dogs get “poison ivy” will vary depending on the breed because of different fur length and thickness.

Small Dogs

When you have a small size dog, he is more likely to come in contact with most of the plants. The real safety net could be the long fur that will keep the harmful oil from those plants away from their skin. But still, if the oil is present on their fur, it can contagiously affect other pets and humans who could develop symptoms.

Large Dogs

Dogs of a larger size and thick fur are also safe from the direct effect of poison ivy. But they are also susceptible to contaminate people and pets around them. Dogs with short hair are definitely at risk.

The best thing you can do for any dog breed is to keep them away from these harmful plants. The symptoms mentioned above are the signs that your dog has come in contact with any of the three poisonous plants. Don’t confuse other allergies with poison ivy and do not wait to take corrective measures.

Other Recommended Actions

A person who has suffered from poison ivy knows how painful it is to resist the itch. You cannot help scratching the part of the body that came in contact with the plant. A human can take protective measures but a dog cannot explain and express himself.

When your dog comes close to poison ivy, there are two circumstances with different treating measures. The best thing is to look for the severity of the symptoms and rush to the vet right away if you see things getting out of control.

1. Skin Exposure

You should use a cone to prevent the dog from licking the scratched wounds. The tongue and spit will create blisters on their skin. These blisters will soon become filled with fluids. After some time, when they will burst, the results will be devastating to watch. Your dog will be exposed to infections and severe injuries. Take your dog to the vet in case blisters develop on the skin.

2. Ingestion

Luckily there are no severe side effects involved when your dog eats poison ivy or other sister plants of the same family. There will be no mouth swelling if your dog has no allergy from the plant. If you see the signs of swelling take your dog to the vet for further medication.

Normally, the vet will recommend ample fluids with a bland diet. The low fiber diet will make your pooch eliminate the harmful effects of poison ivy and associated side effects.

Can Dogs Get Poison Ivy? When is a Visit to the Vet a Must?

In most cases, the dog doesn’t need to see a vet if you take care of diet and bathing precautions. But vet visit becomes a must when things get out of control, and you see any of the following:

  • When rashes persist for several days
  • You see blisters forming on the skin
  • When diarrhea or vomiting is persistent (more than two days)
  • Your dog has fever and lethargy 48 hours after the incident
  • When scratching and itching does not go away after bathing
  • Swelling on dog’s face and inside the mouth
  • There are open sores on the skin
  • The dog has lost his appetite
  • Rashes get worse, and you see fluid coming out of them

Can Dogs Get Poison Ivy? You now know the answer is a big yes and also, if in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult a veterinary because quick action can make a big difference!

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