Poison ivy, the mention of this plant is enough to send shivers down our spines. A prior encounter with poison ivy is enough of a lesson to keep your distance when you spot it. As a dog parent, you may be concerned whether this plant poses the same risk to your doggo.
If your dog comes into contact with poison ivy, don’t panic; dogs are rarely impacted by the plant’s poisons since their coat protects them.
Nevertheless, while the chances of an adverse reaction are low, it may happen. An in-depth look at dogs getting poison ivy will answer any questions you have on this subject.
What Is Poison Ivy?
Poison ivy is an allergenic plant native to North America and Asia, infamous for its burning effect when you touch it. Regarded as a weed, it may grow as a shrub, small plant, or climbing vine and have urushiol in its sap, which is responsible for skin irritation.
This weed is not a true ivy; instead, it is closer to cashews and pistachios. You can easily identify it by its cluster of three leaves, explaining the expression, ‘leaves of three, let it be.’
How Do Dogs Fare Against Poison Ivy?
As mentioned earlier, your doggo’s fur will protect it against the sap of poison ivy. The problem is when the liquid gets to the uncovered parts of its body. It is common in dogs with little or no fur. Your dog may lack fur due to injury or sickness. Some breeds, such as the American hairless terrier, are naturally hairless. The lack of hair makes them susceptible to urushiol reactions on their exposed skin.
Moreover, dogs have furless parts, such as the nose, under the belly, and groin area. When the sap touches these parts, a reaction is imminent. Shorter dogs are more prone to urushiol poisoning, as they are likely to brush over the weed as they walk.
Dogs eating poison ivy also leads to a severe reaction.
What Are The Signs Of Poison Ivy Toxicity In Dogs?
The following are likely symptoms after your dog’s encounter with poison ivy.
- Reddish, itchy skin
- Blistering or scab formation
- Open wounds from scratching and biting
- Diarrhea, vomiting, injuries on the mouth, and tummy upsets if your dog ate the plant
You should act fast if you notice these signs to offer relief to your furry buddy. Call your veterinarian for guidance if the situation is difficult.
How To Deal With Poison Ivy Toxicity In Dogs
Your dog will be in anguish if the sap from the poison ivy touches its skin, a situation that calls for fast action. Take note of the symptoms, which will reflect 3-7 days after an encounter with the weed.
Avoid touching or playing with your dog if you are sure that it has urushiol poisoning. The oil lingers long on your dog’s fur and will remain potent. Touching your dog exposes you to urushiol-induced contact dermatitis, resulting in irritation and blistering. Additionally, you should avoid areas and things your dog touched.
You can take charge of the situation by giving your pup a bath using dog shampoo and warm water. Wear gloves to avoid contact with the plant’s sap when handling your dog.
Rinse your dog thoroughly and dry it with a towel for the best results. Handle the towel and other items you used to clean your dog carefully, as they may have traces of the toxin.
Clean the affected areas with rubbing alcohol to prevent germs and offer a cooling effect. Do not apply alcohol on the face, nose, or genitals.
You may consider home remedies like aloe vera, cucumber slices, or plantain leaf. Contact your vet before going for home remedies to avoid compounding the situation.
What To Do When A Dog Eats Poison Ivy
Ingestion of the weed is a serious scenario that needs your vet’s attention. It would help if you took a photo of the plant responsible for the problem. Do not induce vomiting if your dog eats poison ivy, as it may make the situation worse.
Your pet’s doctor may offer drugs to help with the tummy upsets and to get rid of the sap in the intestinal tract. Your pup may need intravenous fluids in case of excess fluid loss from diarrhea and vomiting.
At home, offer your canine plenty of fluids to stabilize its electrolyte levels. Plus, provide bland food to help clear the toxins.
After attending to your dog, you should watch it, as the symptoms may return after some days.
Preventing Your Dog from Poison Ivy Poisoning
As we can see, dealing with poison ivy poisoning in dogs is challenging. It is better to prevent the problem to avoid the hassles. You can start by removing the plant from your compound, and while at it, be careful to prevent direct skin contact.
In addition, you should be keen when taking your pup out to play or for a walk. Watch out for the plants, and try your best to keep your dog away from them.
Dogs are relatively safe from poison ivy, shielded by their fur coat. If the sap penetrates the coat to their skin, fast action will prevent the situation from getting out of hand.
Be careful when handling the problem, as you may touch the sap, making you another casualty of poison ivy.
Do not hesitate to contact your veterinary if the issue seems too big to handle.