Can I get poison ivy from my pets?

As a pet owner, you do all you can to keep your furry friends safe and happy. While you try to protect them as much as possible, there are concerns you may not be able to prevent. When you take your dog to the woods for a camping trip or let your outside cat happily roam, you may have concerns about how poisonous plants, particularly poison ivy, can affect your pet. Can my pet contract poison ivy? Can animals carry poison ivy and pass it to humans? When it comes to pets and poison ivy, we have the answers you need.

The first thing you need to know is that pets, for the most part, are not likely to contact the poison ivy rash like humans. The reason they have a reduction in sensitivity is to their thick coats of fur which act as a shield between the plant and their skin. However, if an animal is a furless breed, such as sphinx cats, they are more likely to develop the rash. For the most part, your pets are safe from poison ivy. However, short-haired breeds or pets who have had their fur trimmed close to the skin are more susceptible.

Knowing that your pets are safe and healthy is a great feeling, but what about your health? Can animals carry poison ivy? While animals do not develop the rash, they can still act as accidental carriers of poison ivy and spread it to anyone who touches them. The reason for this transference process is because the oils in poison ivy plants, otherwise called urushiol, are incredibly potent can remain active for years. If you come in contact with the oils, you will likely develop the irritation and itching of the painful rash associated with this plant.

In order to avoid indirectly contracting poison ivy from pets, you should bathe them regularly, especially after any unmonitored or extended outdoor excursions. Even with a vigilant approach, it is still recommended to watch where your pets are when they are outdoors with you to limit the likelihood of contact with poison ivy plants.

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