Dog got skunked
Follow these useful tips from Dr. Stéphanie Surveyer of the Lac St-Louis Veterinary Clinic to prevent the presence of skunks on your property or, if spraying occurs, to take care of your beloved doggie.
Key points for busy people
- How can you prevent a family of skunks from squatting your property? By covering all holes and gaps and blocking access to the area under your veranda.
- Why do skunks spray on dogs? Only to protect themselves.
- Are there more risky times for spraying? At night because skunks are nocturnal animals.
- Are there effective products on sale to eliminate odours? Yes, Magic Odour (made in Quebec) and Skunk-Off®.
- Are there tips to make the cleaning as effective as possible? Make sure to wash your dog’s mouth and eyes with water thoroughly.
- Are there home remedies? Yes, but they are not as effective as commercial products. Most important of all, forget about tomato juice!
- Can skunks transmit diseases? Yes, unfortunately; namely rabies and leptospirosis.
- Skunk Vs Dog: What to do? – Passionimo Answers your Questions
Did your dog have an unfortunate run-in with a skunk?
No need to panic! Although this can be a traumatic incident and the smell might derail your daily life for a few days; at least, you’ll have a funny story to tell at your next family gathering!
With the coming of spring, I feel like there are skunks everywhere. Am I mistaken?
No, you’re absolutely right! During the winter, skunks are dormant, but spring brings about mating season. And so, they pop their heads here, there, and everywhere.
What can I do to prevent them from coming into my yard?
Because skunks are nocturnal animals, one of the best solutions to keep them away is to fill all holes in your yard.
In nature, skunks will live in burrows abandoned by groundhogs and foxes. In our suburbs, they have an affection for the spaces beneath our verandas and sheds.
So, first, inspect those spaces to make sure they are no skunks and babies. Female skunks will often live in groups of a few moms and their babies. Once that’s done, cover any gaps with chicken wire.
What should I do if my pet gets sprayed in spite of that?
Skunks spray their opponents to defend themselves. Their aim is quite accurate and the spray can reach up to 5-6 metres. When dogs are sprayed, chances are they tried to attack first. The best thing to do is to keep neutralizing products on hand at home or at your cottage. This way, you won’t have to scramble for a miracle solution in the middle of the night!
Several products are available in veterinary clinics, including Magic Odour (made in Quebec) and Skunk-Off®. If possible, do the first treatment outside as to not stink up your place for weeks on end. Change into old clothes and use old towels you won’t mind throwing away once you’re done.
Do you have tips to make the treatment as effective as possible?
Don’t forget that if your dog attempted to catch the skunk, the face will likely be the most heavily sprayed area. So, make sure to apply the neutralizing product well, with focus on the folds and creases.
After rinsing the mouth with plenty of water, check your pet’s eyes. Skunk spray is not only foul, but also highly acidic and can cause irritation and even conjunctivitis. If redness persists after a few hours or if your dog keeps its eyes partially closed, please see your family veterinarian.
Are there home remedies I can use if commercial products are not readily available?
Yes, but keep in mind that homemade solutions will not be as effective as the commercial products listed above. More importantly, do not use tomato juice.
Here is the recipe:
- 1 litre of 3% hydrogen peroxide (Note: Please make sure that the product still fizzles. Otherwise, do not use it as the product is no longer effective.)
- ¼ cup of baking soda
- 2 tablespoons of liquid dishwasher
- If you have a big dog, add 1 litre of water to cover all surfaces.
Can skunks transmit rabies?
Unfortunately, yes! So, if you live in an area with skunk activity, you definitely need to get your dog vaccinated against rabies.
Skunks can also transmit leptospirosis, which can be dangerous for both you and your pet. Indeed, animals and humans can contract this disease through water contaminated with animal urine. Transmitted through a bacterium that thrives in stagnant water, leptospirosis is more frequently contracted towards the end of summer with water heating up over the warmer months.
While severe, clinical signs can also be similar to symptoms of other ailments: your pet might vomit, run a fever, feel weak, drink and urinate more, have trouble moving, etc. All of this makes the cause harder to find. And the more you wait, the longer the recovery period will be, and your furry friend will end up in poor shape. Pets can even suffer sequelae to kidneys and liver. A long antibiotic treatment will be required.
Luckily, there are blood tests we can run to confirm the diagnosis more quickly, in addition to vaccines for dogs living in riskier zones (in rural areas, for instance) or who frequently enjoy the outdoors with their owners.
Do you have more questions?
Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Passionimo veterinary clinic nearest to you.