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Keeping Your Dog Away from Poison Ivy

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We are seeing a bumper crop of poison ivy here this year. Yesterday I found this huge poison ivy plant (bush?!) out by our barn. I am not allergic to poison ivy–which is funny since I’m allergic to so many things– but John will start itching if we even talk about it. Because of that, we’re really careful about letting Irie and Tiki around poison ivy.

Your dog can brush up against a poison ivy plant and get its oily allergen named urushiol on his coat. The next thing you know, you’re rubbing up against his coat and that allergen is on your skin…and you’ve got a poison ivy rash. Similarly poison sumac and poison oak can transmit their allergens to you in the same way.

After you’ve been on a hike with your dog, be sure to wipe down your dog’s coat; bathing wipes are great and easy although a full bath is even better. If you know your dog has been in contact with poison ivy, you’ll want to bathe him but be sure to wear gloves so that you don’t come in contact with the allergens.

Dogs (and cats) are usually insensitive to the allergens in poison ivy and often it doesn’t even reach their skin but stays in their fur. They can have skin irritation and, if they ingest the plant, they can also experience vomiting. If you have poison ivy near your home, it’s best to carefully remove it for the sake of you and your dog.

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About Paris Permenter

Paris Permenter is an award-winning author of over 30 pet and travel books. Along with her husband, John Bigley, Paris is the founder and publisher of CatTipper and DogTipper.