Most of us know “leaves of three let it be,” but our dogs don’t really quite understand that this poisonous plant should be avoided. Poison ivy exposure happens mostly in the spring when dogs are ready to get out and explore the yard after being cooped up in the house.
Poison ivy can be found growing in three different forms: a trailing vine, a shrub, or a climbing vine that grows on trees, fences, buildings, etc. It can be found anywhere, from your backyard to the woods to the sides of highways.
Poison ivy leaves and vines break easy, exposing the pets to the sap. Add in the fact that dogs love to roll over and run when outdoors makes it easy for them to get into contact with the oil. The extent of the reaction becomes more severe with repeated and concentrated exposure.
The areas with hair are protected from the negative effects of poison ivy on dogs as it will only get on the fur. However, exposed areas and areas with thin hair like the belly, groin area, paws, ears, inner legs, armpits and muzzle are vulnerable. This is especially true for dogs with thin coats and short hair.
Symptoms of Poison Ivy in Dogs
If the oily sap is not allowed to soak into the skin, it will have no effects. However, any direct contact that the poison ivy sap gets into the dog skin will result in your dog suffering contact dermatitis. Even worse is they can get it on their paws, then rub and lick their face, leaving the tender areas of their eyes and mouths in a world of pain.
- Skin inflammation and swelling
- Itching and scratching
- Licking, biting and biting at the point of contact
- Raised red patches which may blister and drain
- Development of open sores with time
If you’re afraid that they ate some of the plant, take your dog to a veterinarian immediately. A veterinarian can also recommend topical treatments, and perhaps oral anti-inflammatory or antihistamine medications, to help ease any discomfort If it is ingested symptoms will include:
- anaphylactic shock
HELP! My dog got exposed to poison ivy, what do I do now?
First thing you want to do is bathe them in warm water, using a mild shampoo, and rinse it thoroughly to remove as much of the plant’s oil from the dog’s coat as possible. Make sure to wear gloves while bathing your dog to reduce the risk of your coming in contact with the oils as well. Also, any towels used to dry the dog should be washed promptly.
Of course the best way to rid your dog of poison ivy is to prevent your dog from having access to it in the first place. Dogs should not be allowed to roam freely in weedy and unknown areas. You should always be conscious of the types of plants are in the areas where your pets frequently roam.
No pet parent wants to see their pet in pain from something terrible like poison ivy. That’s why prevention and early treatment are key. So while you’re out starting your garden this spring, make sure to take stock of all the plants in your yard