Hiking season is upon us (or nearly upon us, depending upon your altitude and latitude)! With it comes the threat of poison ivy or poison oak.
The two plants are related, and they produce a toxin that causes skin irritation — sometimes severe irritation — in sensitive individuals.
Most dogs, however, are not sensitive to poison oak or poison ivy. I live in an area where poison oak is very common, and I have yet to diagnose a dog with a case of it.
That does not, however, mean that dog owners should allow their pooches to go off leash in areas where the toxic plants grow. The toxic plant oils can adhere to pets’ skin, and then transfer to yours. Secondary exposure to poison ivy and poison oak is not uncommon among dog owners.
Any individual who has been exposed to poison oak or poison ivy should attempt to wash the oils off with soap (or, in your dog’s case, appropriate shampoo) and water. Severe skin eruptions should be treated by a physician or veterinarian.
Photo: leaves of three, let them be!