Dogs and Skunks

You and your dog are out on your daily walk, or perhaps your dog is in your back yard. Suddenly, he dashes toward the bushes or the garbage cans, and just as suddenly, he yelps. You almost yelp too when you realize that your dog has been sprayed by a skulking skunk. Now what?

Check your dog

Skunks can carry rabies. If your dog has been vaccinated for rabies, you don’t need to be concerned, but if he hasn’t, check if your dog appears to have been bitten. If the skunk might have bitten your dog, talk to your veterinarian right away. If skunk spray got in your dog’s eyes, they’ll appear red. Your dog may be temporarily blinded. Eye drops for humans or a saline solution can help relieve the eye irritation. If the irritation persists or if it’s more than mild, take your dog to your veterinarian.

Bathe your dog

You want to get rid of that skunk oder before your dog comes into your house again. Treatment will also be more effective if it’s done before your dog’s coat dries with the skunk spray on it. Shampoo the affected area as soon as possible. Wear rubber gloves and old clothing while bathing your dog the spray may rub off on the clothes you’re wearing. To keep the odor from spreading more on your dog, clean only the area that the skunk sprayed at first. The traditional tomato juice remedy masks skunk odor rather than removing it. However, this remedy by Illinois chemist Paul Krebaum has been touted as successful at eliminating skunk odor. Mix together these ingredients in a large open container:
  • One quart 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
  • One-quarter cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • One teaspoon strong liquid soap
The ingredients will fizz when mixed together. Use the mixture while it’s still foaming. Wet down the affected area of the dog and lather in the mixture. Be careful to keep it out of the dog’s eyes, nose, and mouth. If the dog was sprayed in the face, apply the mixture to the dog’s face very carefully with a cloth. Leave the lather in for up to 10 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with tap water. Warning: do not store or cover the solution after it’s mixed together it will explode. Discard unused portions when you’re finished.

Treat the area

If the skunk spraying occurred on your property, you need to treat more than your dog to eliminate the odor. Petrotech Odor Eliminator direct spray and mist spray are effective in eliminating skunk odors and other odors. They can be used on wood, concrete, metal, plastic, tile, fabric, and other surfaces.

Prevent recurrences

If your dog encounters skunks during walks, shorten his leash when you’re near areas or objects where skunks could be bushes, parked cars, garbage cans and other objects big enough for skunks to be behind. If skunks come into your yard at night, turn an outside light on and make a noise a few minutes before letting your dog outside. Skunks will then most likely leave the yard before your dog can encounter them. To help keep skunks out of your yard, use only garbage cans with tight-fitting lids, and don’t leave any pet food outside.