Dog Health – Poison Oak – Poison Ivy
Fortunately, most dogs seem to be resistant to the effects of poison oak and poison ivy, however occasionally dogs can develop symptoms of poison oak or ivy poisoning.
Poison oak and poison ivy have a toxin called urushiol that is an oil found in the plants sap. Most animals are resistant to this toxin however they can easily transfer this oil simply by contact. Typically when a dog makes contact with the plant the sap sticks to their coat and then transfers to whatever it comes in contact with, even people. It is not uncommon to get urushiol poisoning from your dog, so be aware.
Although it is rare for a canine to have a skin reaction to urushiol it does happen, particularly if it is ingested. If your dog has romped through a patch of poison oak the first thing to do is give them a prolonged bath and use gloves. Use detergent, scrub and a thorough rinse for 10 to 15 minutes. Then if your dog does get a skin rash bath the dog again using gloves and talk to your vet for more instructions.
If you know your dog has ate these plants or you observes symptoms like severe vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy your dog should be seen by a vet immediately. Treatment for sever cases of urushiol toxicity could involve hospitalization and intravenous fluids. If plant material is still present in the dog's stomach activated charcoal may be administrated.
When it comes to poison oak or poison ivy prevention is the safest action for your dog and for you. Never allow your dogs to roam in unfamiliar areas unleashed. If they come in contact with these plants immediately give them a prolonged bath using gloves. For more information on dog health we have a lot more free dog information on our blog, please visit and your comments are welcome.