Published on April 4, 2016
It’s dusk, and you’ve let your dog out to do his business for the evening. While sipping a glass of wine, you watch from the patio as your pup noses around the far end of the backyard. You start to think about dinner plans until, suddenly, you hear a loud yelp. You see your canine companion sprint towards you, with eyes winced and mouth foaming. Straining your eyes, you spot a black and white blur disappear in the bushes. And then, as your dog rushes into the house, it hits you . . . the unmistakable stench of skunk!
If you’ve found yourself in this miserable situation, please remember that the Emergency team at Pender Veterinary Centre is always available to help. A skunk spray can do more harm to your pet than simply the horrible smell, so it is important to have him or her examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Before you load your foul-smelling friend in the car, however, you may want to bathe his or her coat using the following concoction comprised of common household materials:
At-home skunk bath
1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide + ¼ cup baking soda + 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap
Rub this mixture into your dog’s fur, then rinse thoroughly and towel dry soon thereafter.
Special notes: wear rubber gloves; bathe outside if possible; do not get mixture into eyes; do not store mixture in bottle (it can explode)
If his or her eyes are irritated, you may flush them with cold water.
Reasons to get your dog checked out
At Pender Veterinary Centre, we carry de-skunking shampoos and can re-bathe your pet if necessary. We can also flush his or her eyes if this has not been done already. Most importantly, your dog should be evaluated by one of our emergency veterinarians. First and foremost, the doctor would check for bite wounds, as skunks can carry the rabies virus in their saliva. If necessary, the vet can revaccinate your dog and treat the wounds to prevent bacterial infection.
He or she would also check for evidence of damage to the surface of the eyes.
There are also reports of red blood cell damage and subsequent anemia (low red blood cell count) in dogs that have been skunked. It is suspected that toxins within skunk musk are responsible. Our veterinarians can assess your dog’s risk for this condition and initiate preventative treatments if necessary.
Hopefully your pet will never have the pleasure of meeting a skunk like this, but it pays to be prepared. Remember these tips if you ever find your pet in this situation, and help ensure he or she makes a quick recovery!