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Your Pup and Poison Ivy

Summer is here.

As the weather heats up, there is nothing more fun that heading Upstate, out to The Island or over to Jersey for some R&R with pup. A hike in the woods or meeting friends at a picnic grove makes summer living special.

We've written about ticks, heat exersion and emergencies that can turn fun into trouble. Recently we received a question about poison ivy. Can a dog playing and running in the woods bring home The Itch?

Yes and no.

Dogs (and cats as well) are not sensitive to urushiol. Urushiol is the oil produced by poison ivy plant. It makes their 3 or 5 leaf clusters beautiful and shiny in the sunlight. And it makes 85% of us itch like we want to flay off out skin. Now.

So, isn't that great news? Well, not quite.

Just as urushiol gets onto your skin if you even brush up against poison ivy leaves, it gets all over pup's fur as he runs by.

Pup is fine, you think, because he is not sensitive to urushiol. You are totally correct. Pup is fine and will not blister or itch but what will happen when you pet or snuggle your pup that night? Yup, urushiol will transfer to your skin and, within hours, the itching will beging.

So assume the worst. If you let pup run off leash into the brush and the brambles when you are hiking in the country, touch him only carefully when he comes bounding back and give him a bath when you both get home.

Better safe than itchy.

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