Can Dogs Get Poison Ivy?

Can Dogs Get Poison Ivy?
Can Dogs Get Poison Ivy?

Is it possible for dogs to get poison ivy? A casual walk through the woods can be dangerous when your pup is running around exploring in every direction. Unfortunately, your dog can contract poison ivy. Fortunately, poison ivy is not as common in dogs as it is in humans. Because dogs are covered in protective fur, poison ivy has a more difficult time making contact with their skin. Want to learn more about whether dogs can get poison ivy, treatment, and how do you know if dogs have poison ivy on their faces and feet?

If a dog gets poison ivy on his or her face or feet, it is easily treated. The Pet Poison Helpline rates poison ivy’s toxicity as “mild,” so there’s no need to panic if you notice the symptoms.

What is Poison Ivy?

Poison ivy is a plant distinguished by three ivy-like leaves containing urushiol, an oil that typically causes an itchy rash. Poison oak, which looks like an oak tree, and poison sumac are two other plants that contain this oil. These are usually found in the wild, but they can also be found in parks and yards. For more information on how to identify each of these plants, go to the Food and Drug Administration’s website.

Can Dogs Get Poison Ivy?

Poison ivy can cause rashes on dogs’ faces and feet, but it doesn’t happen very often, according to the Pet Poison Helpline. Most dogs’ fur protects their skin from the rash-causing oil. Dogs with thin or very short coats, on the other hand, are more prone to rashes but not necessarily more sensitive to urushiol. The most dangerous danger for most dogs is ingesting poison ivy plants. While this usually results in an upset stomach, a severe allergic reaction could send your dog into anaphylactic shock, causing the airways to constrict and prevent him from breathing.

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While this is not as common in dogs as it is in humans, it is still worth keeping an eye on your dog just in case. If you suspect or know that your dog has eaten poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, keep an eye on him and contact your veterinarian right away.

How to Identify Poison Ivy

Poison ivy can be found throughout the continental United States and is most common in wooded areas such as forests, wetlands, and fields. It can also be found in parks, residential areas, and cities. The plants have three leaves, which can be glossy or dull. The stem of the middle leaf is usually longer than the stems of the leaves on either side. Poison ivy can be a shrub or a climbing vine. Avoid plants with three leaves whenever possible.

Can Dogs Get Poison Ivy on Their Feet?

Poison ivy contains urushiol, an oily resin. It is colorless and odorless, and it is found in the plant’s leaves, stems, and roots. When this oily substance comes into contact with many surfaces, including skin, clothing, pet fur, and outdoor tools and equipment, it easily sticks to them.

If poison ivy oil comes into contact with an object and isn’t washed off, dogs may develop a skin reaction after touching that object with their faces or feet years later.

When poison ivy oil comes into contact with the skin of dogs (faces or feet), it bonds to the area and triggers a response from the body’s immune system. This is referred to as allergic contact dermatitis.

In addition to direct contact and touching contaminated items, dogs can develop poison ivy by inhaling smoke from the plant if it has been burned. This can cause damage to the nasal passages and lungs, as well as a severe reaction in some people.

How Do You Know If Dogs Has Poison Ivy?

The oily sap will have no effect if it is not allowed to soak into the skin. However, any direct contact where the poison ivy sap gets into the skin of the dogs (faces or feet) will result in contact dermatitis. Worse, the dog can get poison ivy on their feet and then rub and lick their faces, inflicting pain on the sensitive areas of their eyes and mouths.

If your dog comes into contact with or consumes one of these itchy plants, the following are some common symptoms:

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  • Itching, redness, and swelling at the site of contact.
  • Scabs and blisters
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Because of the risk of anaphylaxis and the possibility that these symptoms indicate something more serious, it’s best to contact your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms.

Poison Ivy On Dogs Treatment

There is treatment available to protect yourself and your dogs from poison ivy reactions. To remove urushiol from your dog’s coat, bathe him as soon as possible. Wear gloves and skin-protective clothing to avoid coming into contact with poison ivy oil. Use a pet-safe shampoo or degreasing agent to bathe your dog.

Choose a dog shampoo with anti-seborrheic, keratolytic, or colloidal oatmeal. You can also bathe your dog with Dawn dish soap. Before bathing, protect your dog’s eyes by applying mineral oil or eye lubricating ointment. To moisturize the skin and coat, use a dog-specific conditioner.

If your dog develops a skin rash after being exposed to poison ivy, consult your veterinarian. To relieve itching and irritation, your dog may require topical and/or oral medications. An e-collar may be needed to keep your dog from licking or chewing on the hurt area.

Poison ivy is not toxic if consumed, but it can cause discomfort in dogs. If your dog has eaten, licked, or chewed on poison ivy leaves, give them some water. You should also rinse your mouth to remove any urushiol residue and reduce irritation. You can rinse your mouth with water, saline, or diluted black tea; just make sure it’s cold. If you notice drooling, mouth sores, or vomiting, contact your veterinarian. Your dog may require anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory medication.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe from Poison Ivy

Though cases of poison ivy in dogs are rare, if you have a canine companion with sensitive skin, keep him away from the plant just in case. You should wash your dog after being in an area with poison ivy or oak.

She advises that if you suspect your dog is reacting to poison ivy or oak, you should take him to the vet for an examination. It is more likely that he has another condition (such as a contact allergy to another plant, skin mites, or allergies) that will benefit from medication that is not available over the counter.


Even if your dog does not develop a rash, brushing up against the plant could be harmful to you. Dogs can act as carriers of the oils, which can then be passed on to humans who come into contact with them.

Will Poison Ivy Necessitate a Vet Visit for my Dogs?

Dogs with poison ivy on their feet and faces rarely require veterinary care. If, after bathing them, the affected area does not clear up or worsens due to persistent scratching, take your dog to the vet.

Your dog may scratch himself raw, potentially exposing himself to infection or hot spots. If your dog is still uncomfortable and itchy after the bath, scratching excessively may cause the area to ooze or scab. If your dog can’t stop scratching, consider using the old “cone of shame” (aka e-collar) that they wore after “the snip” to keep them away from the area. Furthermore, if the rash worsens, take them to the vet.


It is not a big deal if your dogs get poison ivy on their faces and feet. You only need to bathe them. Remember that you are in greater danger than the dogs. If your dog gets urushiol oil on its fur, you must wear rubber gloves.

Keep an eye out for “leaves of three” the next time you go for a walk in the woods with your dog, and stay away from the wet spots where poison sumac thrives. Avoidance is the best way to avoid an allergic reaction to the Toxicodendron family of plants.

No pet parent wants to see their pet in pain due to something as heinous as poison ivy. That is why poison ivy prevention and treatment are critical for dogs. So, before you start your garden this spring, make a list of all the plants in your yard.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you tell if your dog has poison ivy?

A red rash and raised bumps are visible symptoms of poison ivy on a dog’s skin. Your dog will scratch and possibly bite at their skin. Once you’ve determined that your dog has poison ivy, the first step is to give him a warm, soapy bath.

What happens if a dog touches poison ivy?

In dogs, many allergic reactions to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac are minor. Severe allergic reactions, such as life-threatening anaphylactic shock, oozing blisters and scabs, and excessive biting or scratching, can occur. These reactions necessitate veterinary attention.

Is poison ivy contagious to dogs?

In dogs, many allergic reactions to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac are minor. Severe allergic reactions, such as life-threatening anaphylactic shock, oozing blisters and scabs, and excessive biting or scratching, can occur. These reactions necessitate veterinary attention.

Can I give my dog Benadryl for poison ivy?

You should talk to your veterinarian about giving Benadryl to your dog. This is safe as long as you follow your veterinarian’s instructions. It could help with some symptoms. Mild poison ivy poisoning cases may resolve on their own.

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