Poison ivy is a common plant found in many parts of the world. It contains an oil called urushiol, which can cause an itchy and irritating rash when it comes into contact with the skin. Dogs can also be affected by poison ivy, and it is important to know how to treat it if your pet is exposed to this plant.

What is Poison Ivy?

Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a plant that grows throughout much of North America. It is a member of the Anacardiaceae family, which also includes other plants such as poison oak and sumac. The leaves of the plant contain an oil called urushiol, which can cause an allergic reaction when it comes into contact with the skin. This reaction is characterized by an itchy, red rash and can last for several weeks.

Symptoms of Poison Ivy in Dogs

If your dog comes into contact with poison ivy, they may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Itchy skin
  • Redness and swelling of the skin
  • Hives or blisters
  • Excessive scratching or licking of the affected area

Treatment Options

If your dog has been exposed to poison ivy, there are several steps you can take to help alleviate their discomfort and reduce the risk of further exposure. Here are some treatment options you can use to treat your dog’s poison ivy at home:

Bath with Lukewarm Water and Mild Soap

The first step in treating your dog’s poison ivy is to give them a bath with lukewarm water and a gentle, mild soap. This will help to remove any remaining traces of the urushiol oil from their fur and skin. Make sure to rinse your dog thoroughly to ensure all the soap is removed. You should also use a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub the affected area while bathing, as this will help to loosen any clumps of oil.

Topical Cream with Hydrocortisone or Calamine

Once your dog is out of the bath, you can apply a topical cream to the affected area. Look for creams containing ingredients such as hydrocortisone or calamine, which can help to soothe the itching and reduce inflammation. You should apply the cream two to three times per day until the rash is gone.

Prevent Licking of Skin

It is important to prevent your dog from licking the affected area, as this can cause further irritation and spread the urushiol oil to other parts of their body. If necessary, you can use an Elizabethan collar or cone to keep them from licking the area. Additionally, you should keep the area covered with a bandage to protect it from further exposure.

Keep Skin Clean and Dry

Keeping the affected area clean and dry is essential for treating your dog’s poison ivy. After bathing, make sure to dry your dog thoroughly and apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the area. This will help to keep it protected and prevent further irritation.

Use Oatmeal-Based Shampoo

Oatmeal-based shampoos are great for treating your dog’s poison ivy. Not only do they help to soothe the itching, but they also help to draw out toxins and reduce inflammation. Give your dog a bath with an oatmeal-based shampoo two to three times per week until the rash is gone.

Apply Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel is another great remedy for treating your dog’s poison ivy. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce swelling and itching. Simply apply a thin layer of aloe vera gel to the affected area twice daily until the rash is gone.

Give Antihistamines Such as Benadryl

Antihistamines such as Benadryl can also be beneficial for treating your dog’s poison ivy. They work by blocking the release of histamine, which is responsible for causing the itching and inflammation associated with the rash. You should always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any medication.


Poison ivy can be a painful and irritating experience for your dog, but with the right treatment, it can be managed at home. Be sure to bathe your dog with lukewarm water and mild soap, apply a topical cream with hydrocortisone or calamine, prevent licking of the skin, keep the area clean and dry, use an oatmeal-based shampoo, apply aloe vera gel, and give antihistamines such as Benadryl. If you notice any signs of infection or your dog’s condition does not improve, be sure to seek medical attention from your veterinarian.

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By Happy Sharer

Hi, I'm Happy Sharer and I love sharing interesting and useful knowledge with others. I have a passion for learning and enjoy explaining complex concepts in a simple way.

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