Skunked Up: By Guest Writer Jon AccarrinoPublished July 18, 2008
Unfortunately for us dog owners, our canine companions will probably get sprayed by a skunk at one point in their lives. Rural pets are much more likely to have a skunk encounter, but even city dogs who join you on weekend getaways or camping vacations might run find themselves downwind from a skunk's anal scent glands. And dogs aren't alone in this stinky honor. Cats, pigs, horses and other domesticated pets have all been skunked before. Earlier this week my dog Brandy had an encounter with a little white striped four-legged stink machine. My girlfriend Lauren, her mom Linda and I had just finished watching a movie after a late dinner. It was just past midnight and we were about to head upstairs to bed. Just before we went up, I asked Brandy if she needed to go "pee-pee." Brandy was sleeping next to us on the couch (She obviously didn't care for the movie). Brandy slowly stretched, yawned, wagged (all at the same time) and sleepily waddled over to the backdoor. That means "yes." So Brandy walked out the backdoor, down the porch stairs and squatted down to pee in the yard. About 5 seconds later, I saw a white blur run up to Brandy and then run away. Brandy immediately started wiping her face with her paw and then dropped to the ground and started rolling around in the grass. At this point I wasn't sure what had happened. Was it a Raccoon? Skunk? Giant squirrel? Brandy came running back to the porch whimpering. As she got closer I smelled the skunk. The poor dog got sprayed while she was in mid-pee. What a rude skunk. Imagine if someone sprayed you with fart spray while you were going to the bathroom? FIRST AID Ok. Skunk attack. Not exactly a life threatening crisis, but a crisis nonetheless. Your first concern should be your pet's physical condition. Look for blood. Check them over for scratches and bites and if you find any, go see a vet as soon as possible. Remember, skunks can carry rabies. Brandy's left eye was so tightly shut that I first thought that whatever attacked her might have scratched out her eye. Not a pretty thought. I gently forced open her eyelid to make sure her eye was still there and not scratched. Whew! No physical damage but the skunk sprayed the left side of her face including her eye. The skunk spray obviously stung so my girlfriend, Lauren, and I immediately started gently flushing the area around her eye with the garden hose. PEE-U: DEALING WITH THE SMELL Once you assess your pet's physical condition, the next step is to deal with the smell. We've all smelled a skunk before, but unless you've been up close, you may not know how intense a fresh spray can be. It's almost like a garlic-dosed piece of burnt rubber, enough to make your eye water. Act quickly. The longer you take to act, the longer the skunk smell will stay with your pet. Do you have a long hair dog? You might want to trim some of the affected areas. Getting rid of the excess fur will also make it easier with all the repeated pet bathing required to get rid of the smell. When you tell someone that your pet was sprayed by a skunk, they will probably suggest that you give your pet a tomato juice or vinegar bath. Bad idea. Chemically, tomato juice or vinegar doesn't remove or breakdown skunk anal scent gland secretions, all they do is mask the smell. And for heavens sake, please don't use variations of tomato juice, like ketchup or Clamato pasta sauce - your pet isn't a salad or pasta dish. Several companies make products that will help you remove (or reduce) skunk smell from your pets. Your local pet store should carry several brands for you to choose from. If you live in a heavily populated skunk area, you might want to keep a couple bottles of skunk odor remover at home just in case. Most of these "deskunking" products contain natural enzymes that will help breakdown the skunk secretions and reduce the smell on your pet. This should be your ultimate goal. Masking the skunk odor is a battle you won't win. And if left untreated, skunk odor can linger for weeks.
- 1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
- 1/4 cup of Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoons of common kitchen liquid dish soap
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