If you live in a rural area or you visit a hiking area or campground with your pet dog, there's a chance that the animal could come into contact with poison ivy. While keeping the dog away from this plant is always your best bet, an off-leash dog could easily run through a poison ivy patch and end up with the plant's oil on its fur and skin. Like humans, dogs can have mild reactions to poison ivy that go away on their own. Unfortunately, there's also a chance that your dog could have more of a severe reaction to this plant that necessitates a veterinary clinic visit to receive care. Here are some indicators that you should watch for.
Dogs scratch themselves for all sorts of reasons, but if your dog has had an encounter with poison ivy, you can expect that it will do a lot of scratching. Try to notice if the pet is scratching itself more often. If so, take note of where the animal is scratching. If the dog is scratching one specific part of its body for prolonged periods after it's been in an area with poison ivy, you can expect that the animal is dealing with an unpleasant itch.
If your dog has a serious case of poison ivy, it will likely have a lot of skin redness. Depending on the type of fur the animal has, it might initially be difficult to see the pet's skin. Before you touch your pet in an affected area, you should put on rubber or vinyl gloves. You can then gently move the fur aside in different areas to take note of the animal's skin. If you notice redness that looks like a rash, this can often be a sign of poison ivy.
Mild and moderate cases of poison ivy can often result in red patches on the skin, but more serious encounters can have other visual indicators. Depending on the level of your dog's exposure to poison ivy, it may actually have blisters on and around the red areas on its skin. When the dog scratches these blisters, they'll often break open, which can result in a number of small open wounds on the dog's body. Not only are these wounds uncomfortable, but they can also become infected as a result of the pet's frequent scratching. Upon noticing any of these signs, visit your veterinarian for help.