Well that Stinks…

skunk-tall-tailUh-oh…you’re hiking along and the dog runs ahead and suddenly you hear barking or maybe a yip or two. You go to investigate and lo and behold, you catch up to your pup and realize he’s been sprayed by a skunk. Your eyes begin to water, you nearly puke from the smell and your pup wants comfort and relief and looks to you for it. “Mommy…what just happened?  I thought that was a kitty!” What’s a good fur-mom supposed to do?

Although skunks are generally docile, they will definitely let you know if you’ve threatened their space. Normally they will quickly waddle away, duck under a bush or use some other flight mechanism. But sometimes a dog doesn’t quite catch the hint. The result being that distinctive make-your-eyes water-smell you cannot seem to easily get rid of from a poor pup’s furs.

looney1While the lovable cartoon character Pepe Le Pew may be made into a big screen movie, as recently reported during the last week’s Comic-Con, we hope the furry critter stays on the big screen and does not cross our path any time soon. Fortunately, we haven’t had skunks in our ‘hood (although a very similar, though far less potent smell accompanies neighborhood foxes who happen by), we used to visit my daughter in the nearby foothills. With all manner of critters including deer, foxes, bears, skunks, rock squirrels, I always worried one of the dogs would end up being sprayed. And with Sam being the dimmest of the lot, I figured it would be him. So far we’ve been ‘lucky.’

But it occurred to me not every dog is so lucky (and I’m sure our day will come). Even though the first thing that will tip you off that your pup has been sprayed by a skunk will be the smell, there are other signs that suggest being sprayed including drooling, vomiting, red or swollen eyes, face rubbing, sneezing, temporary blindness, maybe even rolling trying to get that stench off it’s fur. If lethargy, weakness, a change in urine color or pale or brown gums appear hours or days later after being sprayed, you should take your pup to a vet right away. The components in skunk spray are definitely irritating and can result in damage to red blood cells and the last thing you need is anemia on top of the stink. Remember too that skunks may carry rabies so if your pup was bitten as well as sprayed, be sure to check with your vet.

Obviously you’ll want to bathe your pup. Sadly regular shampoo for dogs isn’t gonna cut it but a homemade mixture of 4 cups of 3% fresh hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 1 to 2 teaspoons of dishwashing liquid soap (Dawn is a decent choice here). Lather up the dog, and leave in for at least 5 minutes. Rinse. Rinse again, and rinse yet again. Repeat. The peroxide might lighten your pup’s fur so be aware but it’s not toxic. If your pup took a direct hit to the eyes, rinse out with gobs of tepid water for 20 minutes to relieve the discomfort. As this recipe from the ASPCA doesn’t store well, you should make it up fresh whenever there’s an encounter with Pepe Le Pew.

Naturally prevention is the best way to deal with skunks but if it does happen to your fur-kid, you’ll know how to take care of the problem. Remember to keep food or bird seed in well sealed containers without easy access by the black and white stinker. Keep your pet away from wood piles, limit access to underneath decks or any obvious areas where they might make a den. A motion-activated lighting system may help as skunks prefer dark areas. If you find a suspected den, sprinkle kitty liter to signal that location should not be used to set up house.

Has your pup ever had an encounter with a skunk? What did you use to get rid of the stink? Here’s wishing you a smell-free weekend. At the very least, one without skunks.

Live, love, bark! <3

41 thoughts on “Well that Stinks…

  1. Nope, we have never had a skunk incident, but a couple of years ago Jolie Amie had a terrible encounter with a hive of honey bees that had set up housekeeping under the deck of the new house we had just moved into. What a horrible experience! Thank goodness her fur was thick and gave her some protection. She was one sick poodle girl. With excellent vet care she pulled through but the bee toxin set off arthritis in her back and hips.

  2. No, we’ve never been skunked but Jan remembers the smell from childhood when skunks used to get hit by cars and the area would reek of the horrible odor!.

  3. The guy I was dating before I met Sam told me that when their family Husky had encounters with skunks – which apparently were numerous – they bathed her in tomato juice first, and then when the smell was gone, they used regular dog shampoo to wash out the tomato juice stains. Apparently it worked because any time I saw her, she was nice and clean and fresh-smelling.

  4. We had this “fun” with our very first dog. We tried apple cider vinegar at the time. It helped, but it really took weeks for the scent to completely go away. Any time Shelby got wet the scent would come back to haunt us again! Luckily we haven’t had any skunk encounters with any dogs since (knock wood)!

  5. There are skunks in my area. Fortunately, Tippy has not had an encounter as of yet. I do not let her outside at night off leash. I hope one doesn’t come along during the day. If it does, I’m sure she would pursue it and get sprayed. I’ll keep this recipe in mind, just in case.

  6. Great advice! Unfortunately the only one in our family that has been sprayed is me…and now I know to say away from drains when walking in the evening! 🙂

  7. In the Sonoran desert we have no fleas, ticks, or skunks. We do have bobcats, coyotes, rattlesnakes and scorpions. If we used hydrogen peroxide on the coyotes, their fur would be white.

  8. I guess that’s what Mom means when I stick my head under the bushes and she says, “One of these days….you’re going to get a real surprise….”

    Love and licks,

  9. Fortunately we do not have skunks ( four legged type) here in South Australia. Actually I don’t think we have them at all in Australia – but I could be wrong. I have noted the recipe – just in case.

  10. Thank you for this recipe. Mom saved in in her computer where she keeps her important things (except me). She also wanted to add that putting the sprayed pup in front of an ionizer will get rid of the smell.

  11. We can occasionally smell skunks in the woods near our home. The dogs are only allowed in the backyard on a leash at night so they haven’t encountered one. Keeping our fingers crossed on that one! PeeeEwww!

  12. A couple years ago me and Stanley both got sprayed by the same mean skunk! First he sprayed Stanley (I got it on a side angle) and I yelled at the skunk that I would NOT permit him to treat my brother and me that way and chased him out of the yard.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

    Pee Ess – Mom used Nature’s Miracle with good results. You can even spray it on the carpet.

  13. Well, our Buster had more than one encounter with a skunk, and after that was banned from the house for about 2 weeks. He didn’t mind very much, though as for much of his younger life he had never wanted to come inside anyway.
    Have a great weekend,

  14. We have had encounters in the past and have had success with the bath you described. There is nothing worse than coming home from dinner to find your loved one smelling like a skunk (not to mention the house)! We didn’t immediately think it was our dog but thought something was burning in the walls. We checked the whole house including climbing on the house to check out the roof! I am sure our loveable furball thought we were crazy! Once we realized it was our puppy we felt like idiots then got online to find a remedy. Took a couple of times but finally got rid of the smell. Ended up throwing out the bedding though. What an experience! 🐶

  15. Well we have critters here in the urban area. Cole has found possums, raccoons and foxes in our fenced in yard. It was when he caught a squirrel running by, and got scratched, we went to the vet. They gave him a rabies booster. I yelled “drop” and he spat it out! Then he was mad at losing the squirrel.

    1. Prevention is the best remedy, but sometimes those high prey instincts are just too hard to combat. Not sure how Sam would handle that situation when he had something in his mouth, but a quick gulp is the first thing that comes to mind. 😉

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