What to do if you think your dog has poison ivy

TENERIFE, SPAIN - AUGUST 18: Dog in the animal shelter of Fasnia on August 18, 2012 in Tenerife, Spain. (Photo by Agency-Animal-Pictures/Getty Images)
TENERIFE, SPAIN - AUGUST 18: Dog in the animal shelter of Fasnia on August 18, 2012 in Tenerife, Spain. (Photo by Agency-Animal-Pictures/Getty Images) /

Your dog depends on you for everything. You’re their best friend, chef and first line of defense against illnesses. Dog owners should know what makes their pets happy and how to help them in a crisis. Read this guide to learn how poison ivy gets on dogs, if it’s fatal and how you can help your pup if they come across the dangerous plant.

What Is Poison Ivy?

Poison ivy is a leafy vine or shrub that produces a sap called urushiol in its leaves, stems and roots. When you touch the oil, it causes a red, itchy rash that might require medical attention. Although it’s treatable, it can be dangerous for animals.

Can Poison Ivy Get on Dogs?

Given that the plant is a vine and a shrub, dogs can contract it by being outside. If they start playing in areas with lots of plants, they could run through or roll in it. They could also uproot the poison ivy in their mouth and possibly injest it.

Poison Ivy Symptoms for Dogs

These are the most common symptoms that appear when poison ivy gets on dogs. Watch for them to get your pup medical attention if necessary.

1. Red Rashes

Humans get rashes when urushiol oil gets on their skin. Dogs can develop rashes as well. If you notice unusual red splotches on your dog’s belly, face or other areas with exposed skin, it could be from poison ivy.

2. Itching

Urushiol causes an allergic reaction called contact dermatitis, which creates a constant need to itch the rash. Humans and dogs will obsessively scratch wherever the poison ivy touched, so your dog may need help if you notice that they cannot stop scratching at the same spot.

3. Blisters

Poison ivy can last for a while on dogs and humans. Oil is challenging to remove from the skin unless you wash it with soap and water. When a dog continues to itch and lick at their red rashes, their skin can erupt in blisters.

How to Treat Poison Ivy on Dogs

You may not need to drive to the vet if your dog contracts poison ivy. Try these treatment methods before calling for help.

1. Wear a Pair of Gloves

Before you can help your dog, you’ll have to protect yourself. You can get poison ivy from your dog by touching the infected spot with your bare hands. Wear gloves or tape plastic bags to your hands before leading your dog to your bathroom.

2. Wash Them With Gentle Shampoo

You’ll need to wash your dog to get the vine’s oil off their skin. Use a shampoo that’s extra gentle, like oatmeal-based products. After shampooing and rinsing your dog a few times, they’re likely free of urushiol.

However, you should also wash whatever was on them, like if they wore goggles to protect their eyes or a coat in chilly weather. This is the most crucial step to remember when learning how to treat poison ivy on dogs. Wash your pup and anything they came into contact with to banish the oil for good.

3. Apply Soothing Products

When poison ivy gets on dogs, their skin needs extra assistance to stop itching. You can rub coconut oil or aloe vera into the affected areas once your dog is dry after their bath. Rub small amounts into their skin so there isn’t extra for them to lick off and potentially irritate the area again.

If your dog has poison ivy while you’re abroad, you can still follow these steps. People must find hospitals that use their health insurance when they travel abroad, but pets are different. You can find shampoo and aloe at pet stores or take your dog to any vet if allergic reactions continue after their bath. If your dog has pet insurance, call your provider to ask if they provide coverage wherever you’re traveling.

Is Poison Ivy Fatal for Dogs?

Sometimes dogs contract poison ivy when they feel drawn to certain flowers or play in the yard. They might sniff or roll in the plants, leading to traditional symptoms. However, your dog might also eat the interesting flowers and surrounding leaves.

If your dog digests large amounts of the plant, that’s when the plant can become fatal. It might cause extreme vomiting and turn their stomach from intense muscle contractions. If you find leaves in your dog’s vomit and find rashes on their skin, it could be time to visit an emergency veterinary clinic.

Can I Get Poison Ivy From My Dog?

Poison ivy can last on dogs for hours or days if they don’t get a bath. Dog owners who pet or wash their pups without gloves can get poison ivy from their dog by touching the area that still has urushiol oil.

Treating poison ivy on yourself is one of the many crucial things people need to know, along with how to perform CPR and help someone who’s choking. Remembering these steps are an important way to protect your dog and your loved ones.

Learn How to Treat Poison Ivy

Dog owners shouldn’t be too worried when the shrub’s oil gets on their dogs. After wearing protective gloves, you can wash your pup and soothe their skin with aloe vera. Unless your dog swallows the plant and begins vomiting, you don’t need to visit an emergency veterinary clinic because it’s easy to treat at home.

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