All my life I have been extremely allergic to poison ivy plants. It seems to ebb and flow from year to year so it's hard to find patterns in breakouts. But one thing is for certain - it's always more frequent when we have a dog in the house!
Dogs are not usually susceptible to the poison ivy oil toxins from the oil called urushiol.
Unfortunately, they can hold the oils on their fur and bring it in the house. Since it's not realistic to avoid touching your dogs for the summer months when the vines are out of their dormant months, you can take some preventative steps to avoid the rash.
Here are some great tips:
- DON'T DELAY - WASH AWAY
The oils take hold and create a reaction as quickly as 20 minutes after exposure so use SOAP and water to wash your exposed skin after petting/playing with your dog
- WASH BEFORE, NOT JUST AFTER
Did your mother ever tell you to "Wash Your Hands!" as you are coming out of the bathroom? Well I'm sure you can imagine the importance of washing them BEFORE. That goes for touching your face too.
- BATHE AWAY THE OILS TODAY
Regular baths for your dog with water at 70-80 degrees. This is as hot as you should make the water for a dog's skin but is hot enough it will help the oils on the fur soften and wash away. You'll want to use a gentle soap for your dog's skin and fur but don't just use water - it's not enough to remove the oil. Bella loves Pet Health Medicated Shampoo and and Pet Health Hypoallergenic Shampoo because they are sulfate free, phosphate free, alcohol free, preservative free and paraben free. and give her a great coat and skin. For tips on giving your dog a bath - check out this ASPCA Pet Care article.
- LAUNDRY DAY
Make sure you are washing your laundry more often than you may in winter months. This is not the time to use your freezer to freshen your jeans. Towels, sheets, clothing ... even your dog's accessories ... need to be cleaned regularly with a good laundry detergent and the HOT water cycle.
Krista, a blogger for The Great Waterway, spoke to a vet about dogs and poison ivy - the entire article with his answers is here: "Poison Ivy and Your Dog"
What do you do to prevent poison ivy from spreading from your furry friends? Any natural remedies you can recommend to take care of that awful itch for those times prevention went wrong?