So your dog has met a skunk. What should you do? Skunks spray when they are startled or frightened. The best thing to do if you can, is to get your pooch away from the skunk before it lets loose, and avoid the unpleasantness altogether. In addition to their spray, skunks may inflict a serious bite, and may carry rabies. If your pet appears to have been bitten or scratched, contact us for veterinary advice immediately. If your pet is vaccinated, they are protected from rabies, but remember that you and your family are not. If the skunk turns its back and fires, it releases an acrid, irritating liquid from its anal sacs. The smell, as we all know, is atrocious and the chemical can irritate the eyes and skin. Try to avoid letting your dog into the house or car, as the chemicals rub off and stay in fabrics for months. If your pet has been sprayed in the eyes, try and rinse them as well as possible with cool water. There are various remedies to rid your pet of the smell. None of them work completely, so every time the dog gets wet for the next several weeks, you will be able to smell the skunk again. The choices of remedy are:
Bathing in Scope mouthwash.
Bathing in a product called “Skunk-Off” available from our veterinary clinic.
The solution we recommend is bathing in the following recipe:
- 1 quart (or liter) of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, H2O2. Make sure you use unopened hydrogen peroxide. Over time, hydrogen peroxide turns into water (H2O).
- 1/4 cup (50 ml.) of Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) of Liquid Soap
- 1 pair of plastic or latex gloves
- Bathe the dog outside or, if this isn’t possible, in the bathroom with the door closed and window opened.
- Mix the ingredients in an open container. DO NOT STORE THE MIX IN A SEALED BOTTLE–IT WILL EXPLODE AS THE PEROXIDE REACTS WITH THE BAKING SODA.
- Using gloves, wash your dog with lukewarm water and the mixture while the mixture is bubbling. Work the mixture well into the fur,concentrating on the area that was sprayed.
- Keep mixture away from your dog’s face and eyes, as it may irritate the eyes and membranes.
- Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes or so before rinsing off with cool water.
Remember that peroxide is a bleaching agent. Peroxide can change coat color, particularly on darker colored dogs. The lightened coat will remain until the coat grows in.
In all cases, avoid getting any of these products in your pets eyes. If the dog’s eyes do come in contact with any of these substances, continue to rinse the eyes in lots of cool water. If possible, avoid bringing your pet to the veterinarian until after the initial bathing. The smell is extremely agitating to other pets in the hospital–not to mention being unpleasant for other clients! Hint: if your dog unexpectedly seems very excited to go out to the yard in the evening or early morning, check the yard for a skunk before letting the dog out.