The best way to protect your dog (and you) after a stroll through poison ivy, is to bathe your furry friend as soon as you get home. Here are a few tips:
- Wear gloves – If you touch your dog, you'll be exposed to urushiol, too.
- Use warm (not hot) water and an oatmeal soap or an anti-itch dog shampoo. This rinses off the urushiol and it will feel good to your pup.
- Dry your dog and then keep an eye on the vulnerable areas of your pet's body.
If you notice your pup licking, scratching or obviously irritated by something on its skin, see if your veterinarian can recommend a topical hydrocortisone cream. Hydrocortisone can sometimes cause a reaction if licked off and ingested by your dog, so always discuss any medication, even a topical cream, with your vet first to make sure it's safe. They might even suggest giving your dog Benedryl – but, again, don't give your dog any medication without checking with your vet first.
And here's a pro tip: Wash everything that came into contact with your dog – clothing, towels, bath rugs. Urushiol stays on fabric and transfers easily to anyone who touches it. That's how poison ivy spreads.