Though skunks are somewhat rare here on Long Island, there still may be times when your pet comes across one, particularly if you live near a heavily wooded area on the island, or if you happen to be travelling with your pet upstate or somewhere else in the country. Skunks are nocturnal creatures. If you or your dog has an interaction with one during the day, you should grab your pet and get away. In general, skunks wandering out in the day may be rabid. Nighttime skunk encounters are the norm and most dogs and sometimes cats, come in contact with them when out for their nightly walk — as with squirrels and rabbits, something about a skunk makes your pet give chase, which usually ends up with your pet being sprayed by a frightened skunk.
What is skunk spray? Skunk spray is modified anal gland fluid. When a skunk feels threatened, it turns its backside towards the threat (your pet, in this instance) and sprays the contents of its anal glands in its direction… Yuck! Since dogs chasing skunks generally get sprayed in the face, it complicates matters more, as it usually results in watering of the eyes, drooling and even vomiting (who wouldn’t vomit if someone sprayed their anal glands in your face!).
So, what do you do if your pet has been sprayed by a skunk?
Well, to start, it’s probably not a good idea to take him to the vet. Most vets will turn away skunked dogs because they don’t need medical attention, and well, they stink… Thankfully, the spray almost never cause any lasting physical harm, but the stench they leave behind is beyond awful.
So, let’s start with a quick home remedy for removing the smell. You’ll need:
- 4 cups Hydrogen Peroxide
- 1/2 Cup Baking Soda
- 1 Teaspoon Liquid Soap
- Rubber Gloves
- Plastic Mixing Bowl (which can be thrown away)
Mix it all in a bowl. Make sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from the skunk spray. Using a rag, apply the remedy to the (dry) skunked area (don’t wash your pet down first). Do not get it in your pets eyes or mouth. This can be difficult if your pet was sprayed directly in the face, but try to get as much of the solution on your pets head, without getting near the eyes or mouth. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes on your pet,and repeat as necessary. In general, two rounds or so of the mixture should do the trick to get rid of the smell.
If you happen to get the skunk smell on your clothing while bathing your pet, simply throw your clothes into the laundry with the same mixture and that will take the smell right out too.
You pet might not smell fresh like a rose for a few days, but the lingering odor will eventually wear off and you and your pet can go back to your stink-free lives!