Poison Ivy On dogs: Symptom, Effects, Treatment.

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Poison Ivy On dogs

The effects of Poison ivy are obvious. Over time, it can result in pain and irritation. People can develop red rashes and prolonged itchiness when they come into contact with this plant. However, several dog owners don’t watch their dogs while they are out on a stroll/hike.

But are dogs affected by poison ivy? Well, some animals are quite resistant and can even go as far as consuming the plant. The consequence is that they might brush up against something they should avoid, like poison ivy.

The oily resin on their leaves, stems, and roots is called urushiol. This oil is what triggers allergic reactions to humans and dogs, especially if they brush against this plant. It is very elastic and can exist in a dried plant body for about five years.

Poison ivy comes in three distinct forms: a shrub, crawling vine, or a climbing vine abundant on trees, pickets, and other structures. It can sprout in any place, from your garden, forests to the sides of the road. It’s remarkably normal to spot this toxic plant near a river or lake as well. Moreover, it is a substance that can quickly make its way to your hands, clothes, and anything it brushes against.

Poison Ivy impacts on dog

Do Dogs Get Poison Ivy?

Dogs can develop rashes after coming into contact with poison ivy. However, according to the Pet Poison Helpline, it doesn’t happen all the time. Even in humans, intolerance may differ, with approximately 15-30% having no reactions whatsoever. 

Because of their long, thick hair coat, the urushiol from poison ivy can’t get on your dog’s skin. But, symptoms may still develop on parts with thin layers of fur, like their belly, nose, and privates. This can also happen to short-haired or hairless dogs. 

Even though poison ivy isn’t poisonous to humans, it can cause severe damage to our pets. Dogs can swallow the sap by licking their fur or paws. The oil can then trigger internal allergies that lead to anaphylactic shock.

Causes of Poison Ivy Poisoning in Dogs

The reaction that dogs experience is a defense mechanism referred to as type IV or delayed hypersensitivity. This is where the urushiol particle functions as a hapten and attaches to proteins in the skin, prompting cell-mediated infection and eczema. 

Common causes:

  • Bogs with thin, hairless, or short coats (Chinese crested, Xoloitzcuintli, and Hairless Khala)
  • Dog stepping on a poison ivy plant
  • Dog rolling in a poison ivy bed
  • Dog ingesting poison ivy

Dogs Get Poison Ivy and its causes


The toxic oil resin has to get in touch with the dog’s skin to trigger a response. Therefore, inflammation will develop in dogs with extremely thin hair coats. Your dog will also lick, bite or scratch the affected area, which should alarm you of the condition. 

Here are some of the common symptoms you should look out for if your dog ingested or comes into contact with poison ivy:

  • Red rashes
  • Inflammation
  • Licking, biting, or scratching of certain parts of its body
  • Scabs or blisters
  • Stomach ache
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anaphylactic shock

It is important to prevent your dog from licking the red affected area. The rash can turn into a pustule filled with pus in more serious situations. When these pustules pop, they can proliferate the rash and can cause fungal or bacterial infections.


Exposure to poison ivy doesn’t require treatment when it comes to dogs, and there is no need to schedule a trip to the vet unless the symptoms are severe. But, suppose you happen to see your dog brush up against this plant, it’s still best to get rid of the sap from their coat. Otherwise, it could transfer the irritant to you or anyone who touches them. 

Wash your dog immediately. In most cases, you can use oatmeal shampoo, dawn dish soap, or prescribed dog shampoo to eliminate the excess sap and soothe their skin. Don’t forget to wear gloves. It will only take around 10 minutes for the hazardous waste to reach and enter the human skin; hence, hand hygiene during that period is crucial to counter a potential allergic reaction.

After the bath, you must keep an eye on the infected area over the next few days. If your dog continues to lick or scratch the infected part and the red rashes are still a nuisance, use coconut oil periodically.

Alternatively, you can apply a bag of ice or a cold compress to the inflamed part or place a fan near your dog. The cool air will relieve itching and lessen inflammation. 

It is also best to consult your veterinarian. He/she may prescribe topical ointments like Benadryl to alleviate symptoms and make your pup more relaxed. Rashes and blisters that spread and develop into serious cases must be treated to prevent infection. It will also stop your pet from scratching.

What Happens if your Dog Ingests Poison Ivy?

A dog that ingests poison ivy most of the time will only suffer from stomach problems, like diarrhea and vomiting. With these problems, your dog must stay hydrated without a break. You could also switch to a bland diet. In difficult situations, IV fluids may be required to prevent dehydration. 

If you believe your pet has consumed this plant, lookout for any signs of a violent reaction like anaphylactic shock. Therefore, consumption poses a much greater danger to health than skin contact.

What Happens if Dog Ingests Poison Ivy

How to Prevent Spreading Poison Ivy Symptoms?

Responding fast is the better path to stop the spread of poison ivy symptoms to other people or animals. Suppose you’re unable to bathe your dog immediately, hose down the affected area. Additionally, avoid petting him to minimize contact. 

You’ll also have to wash your clothes and anything else your dog has come into contact with before the bath, such as his clothing, leash, collar, beddings, and even your car seat. This will help lower the transfer of urushiol to you, other family members, and back to your dog.

Recovery of Poison Ivy Poisoning

Dogs typically recover from poison ivy mishaps without having secondary issues. Relapse can be a problem if there are many poison ivy plants around your place or the area you usually walk your dog.

When to take your dog to a veterinarian

Even when it’s not that necessary, feel free to consult a veterinarian if something appears odd. In unlikely events, dogs may develop an extreme response to poison ivy. Some conditions will need special care.

  • If the rashes persist for several days
  • If symptoms like fever, lethargy, depression and loss of appetite are present
  • If a part of his body becomes inflamed caused by scratching and open sores

How To Prevent Your Dog From Getting Poison Ivy

While dogs are somewhat resistant to the harmful substance in poison ivy, preventing contact with the plant is an excellent approach since dogs can quickly transfer the poisonous sap from the plant to their owner.

  • When you walk your dog, or go on hikes, keep him on a leash. Avoid areas that you think have poison ivy. Prevent him from stepping or rolling on patches of poison ivy and never allow them to eat some.
  • If you see some Poison Ivy crawling on your property, remove it immediately to prevent stomach upset.
  • Experts recommend bringing a cloth or a pair of gloves to dab onto your dog after a walk or hike.
  • Have your dog wear protective clothing during a hike.

Prevent Dog From Getting Poison Ivy

Take note that poison ivy still contains urushiol even when dead and can trigger allergies, except when the plant is buried. It’s best to avoid the area.

Wrap Up

While humans sometimes have a hard time spotting poison ivy, dogs are unaware of the appearance of this plant. But fortunately, they are hardly affected by its sap because of their long, thick fur. Still, bear in mind that if your dog was exposed to this plant, they might transfer the toxic material to use; hence, take due care when trekking with your dog or if there are vines of poison ivy near your home.

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