Poison Ivy…Can You Get It From Your Dog?

Poison Ivy, Dogs

Jul 14


Anyone who has had to deal with a case of poison ivy has probably taken time to learn what this plant looks like. But even if you can identify this plant, it may not be enough to avoid having poison ivy all over your body. The reason that’s true is dogs can transmit poison ivy to humans.


If you’ve been told that dogs can’t get poison ivy, that is generally true. What that statement overlooks is dogs can still get poison ivy oil on their coat. And while it usually won’t cause them to be scratchy all over (which is a very good thing since no dog owner wants their pet to suffer in that way), the oil can remain on their coat for quite some time. That often provides multiple opportunities for it to be spread when someone pets their dog or they snuggle up together.

Understanding How Poison Ivy is Spread

As mentioned above, a poison ivy rash isn’t what dogs spread because most are actually immune from that symptom. Instead, it’s the oil from this plant that a dog can get on their coat while outside and then spread to an owner. According to the CDC and other experts, the amount of oil required for 80-90% of adults to develop a rash is less than one grain of table salt. So even if a dog only brushes against a poison ivy plant for literally a second, the oil can still end up on you and cause a rash that leaves you feeling very itchy for days.

Protecting Yourself from Poison Ivy Being Spread

There’s no foolproof way to avoid the risk of poison ivy transmission from a dog. However, your best line of defense is thoroughly washing your dog after any suspected exposure. You’ll also want to wash your dog’s collar, as well as any towels or clothing that are touched during washing. Prior to starting this process, put on rubber gloves so you don’t accidentally get any oil on your hands. And even if you aren’t able to prevent poison ivy, it’s a good idea to wash any potentially affected fabrics so you don’t have to worry about getting another round of this unpleasant condition.

When in Doubt, See Your Vet
Most dogs who are exposed to poison ivy won’t ever develop a rash. That being said, hairless or short haired breeds may be susceptible. Additionally, dogs of all breeds and sizes can be vulnerable to poison ivy if they ingest it. So if you notice any type of rash on your dog or have reason to believe your dog may have eaten any amount of poison ivy, the best thing to do is get to your vet as soon as possible for a professional examination. – Pet Wants

dogs, Pet Health, Poison Ivy

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