Skunk Spray: Dogs

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Dogs can get sprayed by skunks year-round but you’ll want to pay increased attention this month.  In February, skunk activity picks up significantly because males are searching for a mate.  Therefore, it’s a good reason to keep your dog on leash during your walks and especially at night. Skunks are nocturnal, so your pet is most at risk during your evening walks.

What is skunk spray and why do they spray?
A popular myth is skunk spray is water based therefore easily rinsed off. It’s actually an oil produced by the skunk’s anal gland and contains sulfurous chemical called thiols. Skunk’s spray to defend themselves and can spray up to 15 feet. When your dog’s curiosity gets them a little too close, the skunk views them as a threat.

How do you know when your dog has been sprayed by as skunk?
Well, the first thing you will notice is the smell, which will be very similar to rotten eggs and, second, they will tend to roll around trying to remove the spray themselves.

One common myth is tomato juice or distilled vinegar will remove the smell. Neither really works. Your best solution is to buy an over-the-counter skunk combatant, which you can purchase from our online pharmacy or make your own with a few household ingredients:

  • 4 cups hydrogen peroxide
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap

Mix up solution and wear gloves to wet the skunk-sprayed area first then work your way through all sections. Let the solution sit for 5-7 minutes the rinse. You may need to repeat this process 2-3 times. Note: Be careful not to get the hydrogen peroxide solution near their eyes, nose, or mouth. Never store solution. Peroxide may bleach (discolor) fur. Also be aware that this solution releases oxygen, so it should be far away from flame, and prepared in a well-ventilated area.

Once you’ve removed the skunk spray, it’s time to wash with your regular shampoo. Lather well, rinse and repeat at least two times. Don’t be alarmed if you smell a slight skunky order every time your dog gets wet for a few weeks or even months. Be patient this process will take time. Your dog and your noses will get through it.

If skunk spray gets in your dog’s mouth or nose or you notice an extreme skin or eye reaction, vomiting, or nausea, take your dog to the vet immediately or call 415-554-3030!

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