For a lot of dogs, the odds of getting sprayed by a skunk are very slim. However, for other dogs, the possibility of getting sprayed by a skunk is a very real potentiality. In this article, we will discuss all things skunk spray: dangers, how to get rid of the smell, and how to prevent incidents.
Sprayed By A Skunk
Dogs are very curious creatures. It is highly likely that if your dog was to see a skunk she would run over to investigate. Indeed the musk (not the spray) that skunks produce can be an attractive scent to dogs. But when the skunk feels threatened... they spray.
Imagine the joy your dog may feel at first. "This creature gets me, it's turning so I can sniff its bum!" Alas, the joy is over quickly as the spray flys. The scent is so strong that even dogs don't like it!
Dogs will typically get sprayed directly in the face. Dogs then proceed to roll all around, rub their eyes, and drool excessively. The spray acts very much like a tear gas which is why your poor pup will freak out so bad.
Skunk spray usually poses no real harm to your dog. However, there are a few exceptions. First, if the spray gets in your dog's eye it can cause major irritation. Skunk spray has been known to cause temporary blindness. If you suspect that your dog has been sprayed in the eyes take him to the vet immediately.
Second, if the spray gets in your dog's mouth it can cause your dog to vomit. Also, if the spray is ingested it may cause anima in some dogs. Keep an eye out for brown urine, black stools, and lethargy as these are signs of anemia. Be sure to seek out the help of a vet if you suspect your dog has anemia.
Third, some dogs will have a skin reaction to the spray. You may also want to seek a vet if you notice that your dog is having a skin issue from the spray.
It is also worth noting that skunks sometimes carry rabies. So, it is a good idea to keep your dog away from them. Thankfully most skunks will spray before they bite.
How To Get Rid Of The Smell
The first thing to note is that skunk spray is an oil. This makes it hard to wash away with only water. In fact, water can make the skunk smell much worse!
You have likely heard that bathing your dog in tomato juice will get rid of the skunk smell. This is not true. Tomato juice will only temporarily neutralize the smell.
So, what will really work to get rid of the skunk smell? Well, there are lots of shampoos on the market specifically for skunk odor removal. You can get these online and at lots of pet shops and vet offices. If you think you are in a high skunk area you might want to keep one of these on hand.
You can also make a solution out of common household items, that works quite well. Don't make this ahead of time, only make it when you need it. But you can keep the ingredients on hand.
1Qt. Hydrogen Peroxide 3% or less (more than 3% can damage the skin)
¼c. Baking Soda
1 teaspoon dish soap
Mix. Wearing gloves use an old cloth to apply the solution anywhere your dog was sprayed. Let sit for 5 minutes. Rinse with hose. Reapply, soak 5 minutes, rinse again.
Cautions: do not get this solution in your dog's eyes. Don't leave the solution in longer than 5 minutes, peroxide could beach fur.
After you have done this twice you may wish to bath the dog with his normal shampoo.
Nothing will completely get rid of the smell, only lesson it. It will likely stick around for a couple of weeks. You may notice that the smell will get worse if the dog gets wet.
Skunks are usually out the most at dusk and dawn. They are also usually out more during the warmer months. So, keep a sharp eye out for skunks at these times. You may wish to add the extra precaution of taking your dog out on a lead when it is dusk or dawn or at night. Then you can keep him away from any skunks that may be in your yard.