Poison ivy can grow just about anywhere, and you may have found some a few times while walking your dog. Most people are allergic to this three-leafed plant, which causes an annoying, itchy rash. Should you be worried about your dog, though? Can dogs get poison ivy?
Luckily, while dogs can get poison ivy, it is much less common for it to affect them than people, as dogs are usually well protected by their fur. Dogs with thin coats or sensitive skin are more likely to get poison ivy, but it is mostly harmless. You should be more concerned about your dog transferring poison ivy to people.
Keep reading to learn more about how poison ivy affects dogs. This article will also cover some frequently asked questions.
How Do Dogs Get Poison Ivy?
Dogs can get poison ivy the same way that people typically do—by coming into contact with a poison ivy plant. The sap on all parts of the plant causes an allergic reaction once it is absorbed by the skin. For dogs with thin coats, the sap is more likely to reach their skin.
However, most dogs simply end up rubbing the poison ivy sap onto other objects or people. Whether your dog actually gets poison ivy or transfers it to other places, the entire process is fairly inconvenient.
What Are Symptoms of Poison Ivy in Dogs?
Symptoms of poison ivy in affected dogs are generally similar to those that humans experience. As such, even if your dog has come into contact with poison ivy and gotten it, they will most likely be fine. Look for the following symptoms if you suspect poison ivy poisoning:
- Red, inflamed skin
- Constant itching and scratching
- Raised bumps
- Scabs or blisters, possibly oozing fluid
Can Dogs Be Treated for Poison Ivy?
You can usually treat your dog for poison ivy from home with a warm bath and a soothing dog shampoo. Again, be sure to wear gloves, and wash any towels that get used to ensure that any remaining poison ivy sap is removed.
Other ways to relieve poison ivy symptoms in dogs include applying aloe vera or calamine lotion, as well as giving your dog some Benadryl.
What if a Dog Eats Poison Ivy?
If your dog has eaten a poison ivy plant, the symptoms may be a bit more severe.
They will probably start vomiting or having diarrhea not long after ingesting the plant. Your dog may also develop a fever and shy away from eating anything else.
When to See a Vet for Poison Ivy
While poison ivy can usually be dealt with from home. It is worth making your vet aware if you suspect your dog has been in contact with or eaten poison ivy.
Your vet will advise you on whether or not they believe you should bring your dog in for a check-up. Unless they are showing symptoms they will likely recommend a bath.
If your dog is showing symptoms they can prescribe antibiotics or give fluids if the vomiting and diarrhea are severe.
Some dogs are also incredibly allergic to poison ivy and experience a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis. In addition to vomiting and diarrhea, if your dog is having seizures, trouble breathing, an elevated heart rate, or cold limbs, you should bring them to the nearest vet’s office as soon as possible.
However, the likelihood of a severe reaction is quite rare, and if you act quickly, your dog should be fine. Vets are well-equipped for treating anaphylaxis and ingested poison ivy sap.
Although it is rare for dogs to get poison ivy, they can get it and react to it if they have thin fur or sensitive skin. Reactions tend to be worse if your dog has eaten the poison ivy plant, or if they happen to be incredibly allergic. Take them to a vet if their reaction is severe.
For most dogs, poison ivy can be treated with a thorough bath and some mild antibiotics or skin creams. Always wear gloves when treating or checking for poison ivy symptoms.
To avoid poison ivy problems altogether, steer your dog clear of the plant while walking.