Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Skunked!

Skunked: How to get rid of that awful smell!
It is the absolute dread of every dog owner - you let Fido out for his evening nature break and then you smell it!  SKUNKED!  Some dogs can get sprayed so badly it might not even be recognizable as skunk at first.  You may even think they ate a toxin, or got wounded.  They are yelping, foaming at the mouth, pawing at their face (because they got the spray right in the mouth, eyes, or nose - think pepper spray!)  Don't panic.  Here are some simple steps to help you:

1.  Try not to let Fido in the house.  Seems obvious I know, but I've heard of people having to move out of their houses for a few days.

2.  Put on some clothes you don't care about.  Or a swimsuit 'cuz it might get messy.

3.  Bathe the dog.  Mix 1 qt of Hydrogen Peroxide, 1/2 cup of baking soda, and 1-2 TBSP of Dawn dish soap.  No water.  Mix and pour over the dog, lather and work it in, let stand for 10 minutes, rinse and repeat if needed.  You may be able to carefully sponge it onto the face taking great care not to get it in their eyes if Fido will sit still.  Consider wearing gloves if you have them so the oils do not get on your hands while bathing.  Do not store this mixture ahead of time as it will become pressurized.  If you feel it helps, follow the skunk wash with a regular pet shampoo bath.

4.  Rinse the eyes.    While the skunk wash sits, if the dog's eyes look irritated, rinse them with saline solution if you've got it.  If the eyes received a "direct hit" you may need to bring him or her in to their veterinarian as skunk spray in the eyes can cause corneal burns.

5.  Lastly, wash your clothes, the towels you used, and the dog's collar in warm water with regular detergent adding 1/2 cup of baking soda.  This should help with the smell.



A couple of side notes:  For what it's worth, you can also buy Skunk Off and Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover at the pet stores which work pretty well.  Unfortunately getting skunked follows Murphy's law and always seems to happen when the stores are closed.  Some people advocate letting the homemade skunk wash air dry without rinsing and then washing with regular shampoo in 24 hours.  The peroxide may lighten Fido's coat though just like it would our own hair, but this is purely a cosmetic problem!  Tomato juice is popular but doesn't work as well and will stain lighter colored coats (think white dogs turned pink)!   Good luck, and remember to turn on a light before letting your dog out for the night.  Here's to hoping you may never need the above advice!

article written by:
Jessica Smith, DVM
Companion Animal Hospital Mount Prospect

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