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Sometimes our dogs and cats get in the way of a skunk. It happens. But why do the skunks spray our pets?
Skunks are naturally docile animals. However, if a skunk feels threatened, startled or alarmed, it will use its spray defensively. It is possible for skunks to eject their spray up to 15 feet!
Skunks are opportunistic omnivores, which means they will eat almost anything available to them. This includes garbage, compost, grubs, mice, berries as well as dog and cat food left outdoors.
In our area we usually see skunks in the warmer months of the year, especially at dawn or dusk. Avoid letting your dog outside at these times if you know that there may be skunks nearby. They are very quiet, low to the ground and usually go unseen until it is too late.
Take steps to eliminate the risk of skunks making your yard their home by covering garbage with a sealed lid. Do not feed pets out doors. Cover up or block off areas they may use for shelter such as sheds and porches. Remove piles of brush or dead wood.
What do I do if my dog gets sprayed?
Most commonly, dogs get sprayed on or around the head. It can cause nausea or vomiting if swallowed and will irritate the eyes. If your dog gets sprayed directly in the eyes or mouth and is having trouble breathing, has coughing with great discomfort or eye irritation, call us immediately.
If all you are dealing with is a nuisance of odor - and a bad one at that - you need to take steps to neutralize the oils in the skunk spray. Unfortunately the old wives' tale of using tomato juice and/or vinegar does not work. It only makes a big mess.
There are some commercial products that work, but we have found that the best thing to do is to shampoo with this tried and true homemade recipe (Also seen, and proven to work, on the TV show Mythbusters!):
1 qt (32oz.) 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
1/4 cup Baking Soda
1 tablespoon Liquid BLUE DAWN dish soap (the original formula)
Mix all ingredients. Wash pet thoroughly in solution paying extra attention to the most affected area(s). Let set for 2 minutes, then rinse well with warm water. AVOID THE EYES! Repeat if needed.
Caution - peroxide may bleach your dog's fur - especially noticeable with black or brown dogs. This may also affect materials nearby such as the clothes you are wearing and near by furniture.
Do NOT make this up and store ahead of time.
Over the next few months you may notice the odor returning when the pet gets wet. If this happens, you can repeat the treatment or you can try a commercial skunk odor neutralizing shampoo for pets. We also carry a specially formulated pet deoderant in two scents that may help.
WE HAVE ALL OF THESE INGREDIENTS PACKAGED TOGETHER AND READY FOR USE AT OUR OFFICE!! EVEN IF YOU DO NOT NEED IT TODAY, PICK IT UP TO HAVE ON HAND JUST IN CASE.