May 21, 2019

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.


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?


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!


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

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