We get a lot of frantic calls and visits from owners whose dogs have been sprayed by a skunk. When threatened, skunks will release a strong scent to ward off predators. It is a pungent, intense smell that most people dislike, and it is difficult to quickly get rid of. If your pet is sprayed by a skunk it is important to look them over thoroughly to make sure that they do not have any wounds- especially if the encounter took place during the day. Skunks that are out during the day may be sick and could possibly be rabid. If your pet has any wounds of unknown origin he/she should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible for a rabies booster. Additionally, if your pet is unfortunate enough to be sprayed directly in the face by a skunk the spray can be very irritating to the eyes. Skunk spray is very acidic and can cause corneal abrasions (eye ulcers) in extreme cases. If your pet continues to squint, show discomfort around his/her eyes or has eye redness that does not get better within a few hours they may need to be seen by a veterinarian.
If your dog or cat does not have any wounds or eye irritation being sprayed by a skunk is not a medical emergency, and the smell will eventually wear off on its own. However, there are some things that can be done to speed up the process. During office hours, you can schedule your pet for an appointment to receive a thorough bath followed by a rinse with one of the odor-neutralizing products that we carry, such as skunk off. They are also available for sale if you would prefer to treat your pet at home. It is advisable to keep a supply of an odor-neutralizing product at home since it is likely your pet will get sprayed during non-clinic hours. There are also some home remedies that can be effective. One easy home remedy is to bathe your dog using Dawn liquid dish detergent and water. Another recipe is to mix 1qt. hydrogen peroxide, 1tsp. Dawn liquid dish detergent, and ¼ cup baking soda and rub it in to your dog’s fur and rinse it off. This remedy usually works the best but be careful since it contains hydrogen peroxide it may turn your black dog a bleached brown color!