Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac and Pets

What You Need to Know

Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac are common plants throughout the US. Reactions in humans range from none to severe. The questions of if pets can get poison ivy or if they can spread poison ivy (and related plants) to their human family are common. Here are resources and tips about poison ivy, oak and sumac and keeping pets and people safe.

  • 01 of 04
    Poison Ivy by blmurch on Flickr
    Poison Ivy. by blmurch on Flickr

    Dogs and cats do not appear to be sensitive to the effects of urushiol, the allergenic oil found in these plants. The hair coat provides protection as well. That's the good news. The bad news is that pets can transmit the urushiol on their hair coats. Learn more about this resistant plant oil called Urushiol found in poison ivy, oak and sumac.

  • 02 of 04
    Poison Ivy by SWMNPoliSciProject on Wikipedia
    Poison Ivy. by SWMNPoliSciProject on Wikipedia

    Your pet ran through a patch of poison ivy. Pets may not "get" poison ivy, but they can spread it. The next question people have is: How do I bathe my dog after being exposed to poison ivy?

  • 03 of 04
    Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) by Pixeltoo on Wikipedia
    Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans). by Pixeltoo on Wikipedia

    These plants are common throughout the US in varying concentrations, with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii. While the woods are a common place to find poison ivy, oak and sumac, you may also encounter them along streams, roadsides, and in parks and backyards. Knowing how to identify these plants is the first step.

  • 04 of 04
    Poison Oak by goingslo on Flickr
    Poison Oak. by goingslo on Flickr

    A common question on this site is if pets can "get" poison ivy. Not in the sense that humans do, with a intensely itchy, blister-filled rash like humans, but dogs and cats can transmit poison ivy, oak and sumac. 

    Has your pet helped spread poison ivy/oak/sumac to human family members? Please share your poison ivy story and any poison ivy tips you may have.