Training Tips – Can your Pet get Poison Ivy or Poison Oak?


So, can a dog get poison ivy – and if so, can he pass it on to you?

Poison Ivy

It is a very interesting question. I got curious and started asking vets I know if they have ever seen dogs with poison ivy or poison oak. There is not much written about this. The bigger question for those of you that are sensitive to these poisons is whether or not the dog can spread it to you. You may be surprised by the answer. So below see some information I have put together for you so that you can be prepared if your pet shows any symptoms of Poison Oak or Ivy and what to do about it.                               

Have a wonderful Save and Happy Summer.


Poison oak and poison ivy belong to a group of plants called toxicodendron. These are also known as Rhus species. The toxic principle in poison oak and poison ivy is urushiol. This toxin is an oil resin found in the plant sap. Animals are quite resistant to the effects of urushiol but can transmit the toxin to a person.
Dogs and cats typically come in contact with the poison ivy or poison oak plant in wooded areas. They may ingest some of the plant but, more likely, they will rub against it will walking. The sap from the plant can adhere to the hair coat. When you pet your dog or cat later, the sap can transfer from their fur to your skin. If you are susceptible to poison oak or poison ivy, skin irritation can occur.
In animals, exposure to urushiol infrequently results in skin irritation.
What to Watch For

 Red inflamed skin

 Itchiness

 Raised bumps or swellings on the skin

 Vomiting/diarrhea if plant is ingested
Veterinary Care
Veterinary care is recommended if the animal develops a severe reaction to the plant, especially if ingested. Prompt veterinary care should be given in case of excessive vomiting, diarrhea or weakness.
The diagnosis is based on known exposure or ingestion of the plant.
Treatment of urushiol toxicity is based on the severity of the signs. For those animals with skin irritation, prolonged bathing and rinsing, lasting at least 10 minutes, is recommended.
For those animals affected after ingesting the plant, hospitalization with intravenous fluids may be necessary. Activated charcoal may be administered if it is suspected that more plant material is present in the stomach.
Home Care
For those pets exposed to topical urushiol, prolonged bathing and rinsing, at least 10 minutes, is recommended. Be careful to wear gloves when bathing the pet so you do not come in contact with the urushiol.
For those animals ingesting the plant, monitor them for vomiting, lack of appetite or diarrhea.
Preventative Care
Preventing exposure to poison ivy or poison oak is the key to preventing urushiol toxicity. Do not allow your pet to freely roam. When on vacation, take care to avoid poison oak or poison ivy plants. If your pet has recently come in contact with poison oak or poison ivy, immediate prolonged bathing can help diminish the risk of toxicity. Fortunately, most dogs and cats seem to be resistant to the effects of poison ivy and poison oak.


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