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Can Dogs Get Poison Ivy? Everything You Should Know

As a pet owner, you may be wondering whether your furry friend can be affected by poison ivy just like humans. The answer is yes, dogs can get poison ivy too!

Exposure to the urushiol oil present in poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac plants can lead to an itchy rash and allergic reactions in your pet.

Though severe reactions or anaphylactic shock are rare, it is important to know the symptoms of poison ivy and how to protect your dog from the poisonous plants.

Let’s take a look at the symptoms of poison ivy in dogs and the best treatments both at home and at what point you should consider the advice of a veterinarian.

Can Dogs Get Poison Ivy? Everything You Should Know

What are the Symptoms of Poison Ivy in Dogs?

As a pet owner, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of poison ivy exposure in dogs.

Symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the reaction and the part of the body exposed but generally include:

1. Itchy skin: Dogs may scratch, lick, or chew at the affected area.

2. Skin rash: The skin may become red, and swollen, and develop small bumps or blisters.

3. Upset stomach: Your dog may experience vomiting or diarrhea if it ingested part of the poison ivy plant.

4. Excessive scratching: Dogs may scratch excessively, leading to hair loss or skin infections.

Does Poison Ivy Cause a Rash on Dogs?

Yes, dogs can get a rash from poison ivy if they come into contact with the plant’s urushiol oil, which is the main culprit behind the allergic reaction.

When dogs brush against the leaves of poison ivy plants, the oil can get onto their fur coats, eventually finding its way to the skin, causing inflammation, small bumps or blisters, and intense itchiness.

Symptoms of a poison ivy rash in dogs can vary depending on the severity of the exposure.

Mild reactions may only cause some itchiness and redness in the affected area, while severe cases can lead to an anaphylactic shock.

However, not all dogs will have a reaction to poison ivy.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Scratching or Licking a Rash

If your dog has a poison ivy rash, it’s important to prevent them from licking or scratching the affected area.

This can worsen the rash and potentially lead to infection.

One way to prevent your dog from licking the rash is to use an e-collar, also known as a cone of shame. This will make it physically impossible for your dog to reach the affected area.

Additionally, you can distract your dog with toys or treats to redirect their attention away from the rash.

Applying a bitter apple spray to the area may also deter your dog from licking or scratching it.

If your dog continues to itch and scratch despite these measures, it may be helpful to speak with your veterinarian about additional options, such as prescription medication or a soothing oatmeal bath.

Remember to always seek proper treatment and veterinary advice and care for your dog’s poison ivy rash.

Poison Ivy plant

Steps to Take if Your Dog Has Rolled In Poison Ivy Or Oak

If your dog rolls in poison ivy or oak, it’s important to act quickly to prevent further irritation and discomfort.

Here are some steps you can take:

1. Wear protective clothing: Put on rubber gloves and protective clothing before handling your dog to avoid coming into contact with the urushiol oil found in poison ivy and oak.

2. Wash your dog: Use warm water and mild pet shampoo or anti-seborrheic or keratolytic shampoo to wash your dog thoroughly, paying special attention to the areas where the plant oils may have touched their skin.

3. Rinse with cool water: After shampooing, rinse your dog with cool water to help soothe and calm their skin. Cool water will help calm the itch.

4. Apply calamine lotion: If your dog is experiencing a lot of itching and discomfort, applying calamine lotion to the affected areas can help provide relief.

5. Monitor your dog: Keep an eye on your dog for any signs of a severe reaction such as anaphylactic shock or upset stomach. If you notice any concerning symptoms, seek veterinary care immediately.

By taking these steps, you can help alleviate your dog’s discomfort and prevent further irritation from poison ivy or oak.

How Long Does Poison Ivy Last on Dogs

The length of time that poison ivy will last on a dog varies depending on the severity of exposure.

Generally, it can take anywhere from 3-5 days for the symptoms to appear and last up to 7-14 days.

If your dog is experiencing a mild reaction, the rash and itchiness may resolve within a few days.

For more severe cases, the rash may take longer to heal and may require medical attention.

What to Do If Your Dog Has Ingested Poison Ivy or Oak

If your dog has eaten poison ivy or poison oak, it’s important to act quickly and seek veterinary care.

Here are some steps you can take:

1. Monitor your dog: Watch your dog for any signs of an adverse reaction such as excessive scratching, swollen face or tongue, difficulty breathing, vomiting, or diarrhea.

2. Do NOT induce vomiting: Unlike in some cases, inducing vomiting in dogs who have ingested poison ivy is not recommended since it can cause further irritation to the mouth and throat.

3. Contact your vet: Contact your vet immediately for guidance on how to proceed. They may suggest bringing your dog to the clinic or providing advice on how to care for them at home.

4. Try to identify the precise plant: If possible, try to identify the plant your dog has ingested and inform your vet. This can help them determine the best course of treatment.

5. Be prepared to provide information: Your vet may ask you some questions about your dog’s symptoms and the plant they ingested. Be prepared to provide as much information as possible to help them make an accurate diagnosis and create a treatment plan.

It’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your pet’s health.

Dog sitting on a large tree stump amongst blue flowers

How to Treat Poison Ivy on Dogs

Treatment can vary depending on the severity of the reaction.

If your dog is experiencing mild symptoms such as itchy skin, a rash, or hives, you can try giving them a bath in cool water using mild shampoo.

It is important not to use hot water, as it can worsen the reaction.

You can also use oatmeal shampoo or anti-seborrheic or keratolytic shampoo to help soothe their skin.

If your dog has come into contact with poison ivy sap and has a more severe reaction, it is best to seek veterinary care.

Your vet may prescribe medication to help relieve itching and inflammation, such as prednisone or hydrocortisone.

They may also recommend using calamine lotion on your dog’s skin or giving them an antihistamine to help with itching.

In some cases, your dog may need to be hospitalized for treatment.

This can be the case if they have ingested poison ivy which is a toxin or if they are experiencing anaphylactic shock.

It is important to seek immediate veterinary care in these situations to ensure your dog receives proper treatment.

To prevent future reactions, it is important to keep your dog away from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac plants.

When hiking or spending time outdoors, make sure to keep your dog on a leash and avoid walking them near areas where these plants are present.

If you do need to handle these plants, make sure to wear protective clothing and rubber gloves to prevent skin contact.

In Case of Severe Symptoms

It is important to note that some dogs can, or may, have a more severe reaction.

For more severe reactions, including anaphylactic shock, pet owners should seek IMMEDIATE veterinary treatment.

It’s also important to note that not all dogs will have the same reaction to poison ivy.

Some may not show any symptoms at all, while others may display more severe symptoms.

Potential Risks Posed by Dogs and Poison Ivy to People

Poison ivy is a plant that produces an oil called urushiol, and this oil can cling to their fur coats.

This poses a danger to people, as petting or touching a dog that has had exposure to the offending plant can spread the oil onto your skin, causing a painful and itchy rash.

Owners, especially ones extra sensitive to poison ivy, need to be extra careful.

Owners do not have to have direct contact with the plant as you can still be affected by your dog’s fur.

It is important to always wash your hands thoroughly after handling a dog that may have come into contact with poison ivy to reduce the risk of reaction.

Overall, while poison ivy may seem like a minor inconvenience, it’s important to take precautions when it comes to pets and ensure everyone stays safe and itch-free.

Brown and white Border Collie wearing a vest sitting in a field with yellow flowers

How to Prevent Poison Ivy in Dogs

It may be a no-brainer but the best way to prevent poison ivy in dogs is to keep your dog away from poison ivy or oak.

It is easier said than done if you frequently take walks or hikes in areas where they may be exposed.

Your dogs may also find the offending plant in your yard where you may have not noticed it yet.

If your pet does come into contact with the plant, it’s important to act quickly and take steps to treat the poison ivy reaction.

In Conclusion

Dogs can indeed get poison ivy rashes and allergic reactions from skin contact with poison ivy, poison sumac, or poison oak plants.

Pet owners must be mindful of their dogs’ exposure to these poisonous plants, especially during outdoor activities.

Symptoms of poison ivy may vary from dog to dog, and some may require veterinary care for proper treatment.

Overall, being aware of the risks of poison ivy and taking proper precautions can help keep dogs safe and healthy.


Friday 22nd of September 2023

Oh, that’s no fun for anyone involved!


Wednesday 20th of September 2023

Definitely need to keep my dogs away from poison ivy! Thanks for the info.

Bea LaRocca

Saturday 19th of August 2023

An interesting and informative post which falls under the category of "you learn something new every day" . Now that I know that dogs can contract poison ivy and I assume other things like poison oak and poison sumac, I will keep my eyes out for the symptoms

Marianne Griffith

Wednesday 28th of June 2023

This is so interesting- as we never thought about poison ivy in Arizona. Will have to do more research.

Marisela Zuniga

Tuesday 27th of June 2023

Thank you for the information, I didn't know any of this

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