Dear Porky & Buddy,
My dog, Tucker, loves to go for walks in the woods with me and we do that all the time. But here’s the problem. He also loves to roll around on the ground and much of the ground in my woods is covered by poison ivy. Is he in any danger of getting a rash from poison ivy?
And, I was told that I could get it from touching his fur after he has rolled. Is there any truth to that? I know how to avoid the plant myself (more or less) but I don’t want to spend the summer not touching Tucker.
The good news is that dogs and cats do not appear to be sensitive to the effects of urushiol, the allergenic oil found in poison ivy.
If Tucker were to develop a serious rash you would need to get him to your vet for diagnosis and treatment, but there are so many other icky things that can give a dog a rash that there would be no reason to get all stressed out about his poison ivy habit being the cause of a rash on him.
The bad news though is that he can transmit the urushiol on his fur directly to you.
This oil is extremely long-lived in the environment, so to the extent that you can manage it, you need to change your route for your walks in the woods and supervise Tucker more closely about where he decides to roll.
Isn’t there a nice smelly muddy area that he would like just as much?
If, in spite of your best efforts, he continues to roll, or even just strolls though a patch of the plant, you need to be careful to bathe him when it happens to minimize the chances that you will pick up the oil from his coat.
To do that wear rubber gloves.
Use a barrier poison ivy cream, such as Ivy Block, (there are others), on your arms and skin not protected by gloves.
Use large amounts of cool water, for a long period of time.
And use a “degreasing” soap, such as Dawn dish washing detergent, to remove the oils from Tucker’s coat.
You might want to follow up with a conditioner or something milder after the stronger soap, but you really need to get that oil off his fur.
And then use some of the Dawn on your skin too just to be on the safe side.
Walks in the woods are great for both of you, but not if you spend the summer looking like a creature from outer space!
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office is located at 265 W. First Street, Oswego, NY.
Phone (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because people and pets are good for each other!