Getting a rash from poison ivy is no fun…for dogs and us humans!  There may be an added danger with dogs if they ingest this plant.  What should you do if your dog encounters poison ivy?  Here’s a brief overview from the experts.

What makes poison ivy irritate skin?  Our skin reacts to an oily resin found in poison ivy called urushiol.  It’s also found in other plants like poison oak and poison sumac.

Is poison ivy toxic to dogs?  The Animal Poison Control Center reports that poison ivy is mildly toxic to pets when it is ingested and touches the skin.  A dog’s hair can offer some protection but it’s still possible for your dog to get a rash.

Veterinarians recommend looking for the following symptoms if you think your dog got into poison ivy or another poisonous plant:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Scratching
  • Blisters

Signs of a severe allergic reaction include:

  • Restlessness
  • Lethargy
  • Panting
  • Difficulty breathing

Take your pet to the vet as soon as possible if you see signs of an allergic reaction.

For skin exposure, wash your dog right away.  Wear gloves and use a soothing, anti-inflammatory shampoo.  Be sure to wash the towels and any other items your dog came into contact with, like bedding and collar.

You can use cold compresses to soothe irritated skin if your dog is still itchy after a bath.  Be aware that if other pets come into contact with the oils, they can get affected too.

Eating poison ivy can result in gastrointestinal irritation.  In some dogs, ingestion can cause a severe allergic reaction.  Keep a close eye on your dog, watch for signs of an upset stomach, and contact your vet right away if you see signs of an allergic reaction.


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