Most of us have undoubtedly encountered poison ivy inadvertently. We were left scratchy and red after what was supposed to be an enjoyable outdoor activity, potentially for weeks.
However, what about our dogs? Can dogs contract poison ivy? Are dogs sensitive to poison oak, poison sumac, and other relatives of poison ivy?
The good news is that dogs rarely have issues with these plants thanks to their fur. Even so, it’s helpful to be prepared for the scenario where your dog does come into contact with one of them.
Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac
In the plant family Anacardiaceae, poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are all classified together. They frequently occur in wooded or swampy environments.
Green leaves with sharp edges are arranged in groups of three on poison ivy. The easiest method to recall the appearance of poison ivy is to say, “Leaves of three, let them be.”
The leaves of poison oak are also arranged in threes, but their edges are rounded. The berries on these bushes might be white-yellow.
The elongated, oval-shaped leaves of poison sumac have smooth edges and are arranged in clusters of seven to thirteen.
Urushiol, a powerful oily sap that is present throughout the plant, is the reason why these plants are poisonous. Visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for more information on how to identify these plants.
How Do Dogs Acquire Poison Oak, Poison Ivy, or Poison Sumac?
Dogs can swallow or come into contact with poison oak, poison ivy, or poison sumac. The urushiol is defended against by a dog’s fur. The belly and other skin-free regions of a dog are particularly susceptible to this greasy fluid.
What Takes Place If a Dog Touches or Consumes Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, or Poison Sumac?
Urushiol will accidentally land on your dog’s fur if it brushes across one of these lethal plants, and your dog won’t even be aware of it.
However, the urushiol from one of the toxic plants will quickly seep into the skin and produce an allergic reaction if it touches your dog’s stomach with these symptoms:
- Red, itchy skin
- Inflammation, including swelling
- Raised bumps
- Blisters in the affected area
- Scratching, chewing, biting the affected area
If your dog ate poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, they might experience mild vomiting or diarrhea.
How to Care for Dogs with Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, or Poison Sumac?
If urushiol gets on your dog, you’ll want to get rid of it without delay by bathing your dog:
- Wear long sleeves, long trousers and waterproof gloves (preferably rubber or nitrile) to protect yourself from urushiol, which can readily spread from your dog to anything it comes in contact with, including you.
- Use a gentle shampoo, such Dawn dishwashing liquid.
- After thoroughly rinsing your dog with cold water, generously soap him up before giving him a warm water bath. Avoid touching your dog’s ears, eyes, and genitalia.
- To get rid of all the urushiol, perform this procedure at least once or twice.
- Use a bath towel to pat your dog dry.
- Wash your clothing as soon as possible after the bath, along with anything else your dog touched, such as their blanket, leash, and collar. Use hot water to wash everything.
- Use a fabric cleaner to clean the cushions of your couch and/or car, and a carpet cleaner to clean your carpet.
The itching in your dog might be reduced with coconut oil and Benadryl. Before feeding your dog any of these items or any other over-the-counter treatment, see your veterinarian.
Feed your dog bland food, such as cooked rice and boiled chicken (all unseasoned), if one of the plants they ate has upset their stomach. Make sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water so they don’t become dehydrated.
When should a dog visit a veterinarian?
When dogs are exposed to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, many allergic reactions are mild. But severe allergic reactions, such as life-threatening anaphylactic shock, blisters and scabs that ooze, and excessive biting or scratching, can occur. Veterinary treatment is required for these reactions.
A more significant reaction to ingesting the plants could be indicated by fever or loss of appetite.
If you’re unclear whether your dog may react allergically, you can always take him to the vet. In order to treat the allergic reaction, your veterinarian will evaluate your dog and may recommend any extra medications, such as steroids or antibiotics. Veterinary care for anaphylactic shock must be swift and vigorous.
Preventing Future Accidents With Urushiol-Containing Poisonous Plants
Avoiding wooded areas will help you avoid coming into contact with poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac again. Make sure your dog stays away from the plants if you are hiking.
If you have any of these plants in your yard, remove them. You might want to engage a professional gardening service to remove the plants for you since it might be a lot of labour. Consider taking action to make your garden more dog-friendly once the plants are taken out to protect your pet.
Dogs rarely get issues with poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac. Try your best to keep your dog away from them, and act quickly if they are touched or eaten by your dog.
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