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May 20, 2018

Humane Society: Poison ivy affects pets, too

After such a prolonged heat wave, the cooler temperatures have made the morning dog walk a lot more enjoyable.

And, it’s a reminder that autumn will be here in no time. The cooler weather also makes us think more about working in the garden, hiking and even camping.

These are activities where we can be exposed to poison oak and poison ivy. Have you ever wondered if our pets can get poison ivy if they come across it during a hike or other outdoor excursion?

Fact is that they can. Thankfully though, dogs don’t seem to get poison ivy nearly as commonly as humans. Their long, protective coats prevent the oils from poison ivy from reaching their skin. Unfortunately, however, the plant oils that cause the itching and irritation that often produce a painful rash can be spread from your canine friend to you. So if your dog “works” in the garden with you or accompanies you on a hike, keep this in mind.

Since our dogs and cats aren’t likely to become contaminated themselves and therefore do not alert us to possible exposure, what should we do to help prevent them from inadvertently transmitting poison ivy to us?

• Try to avoid petting your pet if you suspect poison ivy may be growing in the area and that your pet may have unwittingly found it when exploring. Using a towel to dry wipe him or her can significantly reduce the likelihood of transmission to you.

• Avoid touching your face and wash your hands.

• As soon as possible, take a shower. The plant oil from poison ivy or oak can linger on your own skin.

• Wash the clothes you were wearing. The chemical in the plant oil can stay active for a long time, and it doesn’t require a host.

• Wash your pet’s leash and harness with a mild detergent (make sure you handle the pet gear with gloves).

• Give your dog a bath to reduce the likelihood that poison ivy will find its way into your home.

Even if you don’t suspect poison ivy, toweling off and examining your dog is a good idea as ticks can also hitch a ride. Though monthly preventatives for fleas and ticks will protect your dog, you are still vulnerable. Ticks can carry human diseases, including the very serious Lyme disease.

Outdoor activities with your best friend can be fun. Awareness of some of the risks involved, and how to avoid them, can ensure that the entire experience will be a rewarding one.

Lynn Gensamer is the executive director of Humane Society for Greater Savannah. She can be reached by phone at 912-354-9515, ext. 105, or by email at lgensamer@humanesocietysav.org.

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Humane Society: Poison ivy affects pets, too

Porky and Buddy Pet Health – Poison Ivy On Dogs Can Rub Off On Humans

Dear Porky and Buddy,

I can’t go through my woods without gallons of Roundup because they are so infested with poison ivy and I am highly allergic. If I even look at it I seem to get it. But, my dogs run around in the woods all the time. It doesn’t seem to bother them at all. Should I be worried?

Linda

P.S. I’m just kidding about the gallons of Roundup. It’s only a few quarts.

Dear Linda,

Lucky for you we are not an environmental organization.  The truth is there is not enough Roundup in the universe to make a dent in the poison ivy that grows here, so your best option is to find ways to simply avoid contact.

You are not getting a poison ivy rash from looking at it.

So assuming that you are really not touching the plants, it is  likely you are getting it from petting your dogs.

This is ordinarily a good thing, but not if they have been rolling around in or running through poison ivy.

The culprit with poison ivy is an oily substance called urushiol which causes the rash that you get.

You can only get the rash from contact with that oil, but it is highly probable that your dogs have it on their fur and you are picking it up there. Dogs and most other animals do not seem to get the rash; some animals even eat the stuff with no ill effects.

Your options seem to be to figure out a way to keep your dogs away from the infested area as much as possible and/or to make sure that you bathe them carefully to remove the oil as much as possible when you know they have been in the woods.

Better yet, don’t leave your dogs outside alone and unsupervised.

Take them for walks, play with them, sit in the shade with them.

It’s your company that they crave so you might as well take advantage of that reality and have an itch-free summer.

Got the itch for a new pet?

You can find the perfect summer (and winter) companion for years to come at www.oswegohumane.org

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 St., Oswego, NY.

Phone: (315) 207-1070.

Email: ochscontact@hotmail.com

Website: www.oswegohumane.org

Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other!

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Porky and Buddy Pet Health – Poison Ivy On Dogs Can Rub Off On Humans

Recent Weather Trends Making Poison Ivy Worse

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July 30, 2013

The wet summer is causing several weeds and vines to grow more quickly than normal, including poison ivy. And research suggests that climate change may be making the plants bigger and more toxic.

The Cogill family, from Charlottesville, was enjoying a nice walk on the Monticello Trail on Tuesday, when 9-year-old Ada saw some poison ivy and warned her brother.

“Sid was about to walk right through it,” Ada said. “So I pointed it out to him, ‘Sid there’s a patch of poison ivy that you’re about to walk through!'”

Ada’s had it before, so she knows why it is important to avoid.

“I hate being itchy like that,” Ada said. “And having to scratch it because it’s too itchy.”

Charlottesville’s trails planner, Chris Gensic, is noticing it more.

“It’s been a really good year for plants to grow,” Gensic said. “So we’re seeing the poison ivy growing a little faster than it normally does.”

At times, the poison ivy is right near the walking trail. Gensic pointed to several examples in Quarry Park and Riverview Park. Gensic says park officials focus on clearing it from trails and baseball fields, but they can’t get rid of all of it.

“There’s also whole areas where it could be in there and we’re not just going to chemical bomb the whole area,” Gensic said.

Scientists say climate change could be making it worse. A study from the National Academy of Sciences says poison ivy especially feasts on rising carbon dioxide, making it grow faster and more toxic.

“Best thing you can do is know what the plant is and avoid it,” Gensic said.

Ada’s 5-year-old brother, Sid, knows some rhymes that can help out with that.

“Leaves of three, let them be,” Sid said. “Hairy vine, no friend of mine.”

The plant is distinguished by its shiny leaves in a pattern of three, and a red, hairy vine that it uses to scale trees.

But it can also come in contact with humans through other ways, like pets.

“I definitely do see it this year a lot more,” said Sammy Swale, who runs Sammy’s Dogwalking Service in Charlottesville. He has to be careful that the pets don’t take the toxic poison ivy oils back to their owners.

“Dogs brushing up against it, playing in it, running in it, and just walking through it,” Swale said. “Then you put your hands and arms on it of course because the dog rubs up against you.”

Swale keeps the dogs away from trails to avoid coming into contact with poison ivy. He also protects himself by always wearing long pants.

“It’s very painful, and I don’t want it on my legs,” Swale said.

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Recent Weather Trends Making Poison Ivy Worse

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