Helping my dog when they are sprayed by a skunk

What it is and how to treat the infection

Step by step instruction as to what to do when your dog gets sprayed by a skunk 

Dogs are naturally inquisitive and a lot of the time their taste for adventure can get them into trouble. If your dog likes to wander around and explore the garden or your local walking spots, you always run the risk of them bumping into another unsuspecting animal. In fact, there are many cases where a nosey dog has found its way to a skunk's home and got themselves sprayed.

Hopefully this never happens to your pooch but it’s handy to have a plan in place just in case it ever does. Being prepared for any situation is important if you have a dog because you need to make sure you can keep them healthy and safe whatever happens.

If you’ve ever smelt skunk spray you’ll know how noxious the smell can be and how potent it is. The odour doesn't go away easily so it’s important that you fight the urge to immediately bring your pooch inside to wash them off, unless you want your house to smell for weeks after. The skunk spray oil will linger in the air for a long time so you want to eliminate the chance that it will cling to your furniture and upholstery.

What exactly is skunk spray?

The spray from a skunk is a potent mixture of sulphur and other chemicals that are produced from the animal’s anal gland. The purpose of the spray is primarily for defence, which means a skunk will open fire when it feels threatened by a potential predator. This is why it's so common for a dog to get sprayed if it approaches on a skunk’s home or makes it feel threatened.

Not only does a skunk’s spray pack a potent punch, it also has a lot of power and rage behind it. The average skunk can spray its defensive liquid as far as 15 feet, which means that your dog is at risk of being sprayed even if it isn’t directly next to a skunk.

  • Eyes

    First things first, check your furry friend’s eyes to see if they've been sprayed. What you're looking for is whether their eyes appear pink or bloodshot. If so, it means they've got some of the oil in their eye and are most likely experiencing a lot of discomfort. Immediately rinse your dog’s eyes with cool water to remove the oil and any residue. There are also products available specifically designed to rinse a dog’s eyes in the event of a skunk spraying, so it’s a good idea to buy some just in case.

  • Coat

    The majority of the oil will cling to your dog’s fur so it’s important to clean that off as soon as possible, before it sinks further into the fur. It’s not the best idea to bring them into the communal bathroom because of the smell, so if possible use an outdoor hose in the garden or garage to clean your pup. There are a number of popular DIY recipes for getting rid of skunk oil and there are also several products on the market, so shop around and have a look what the best product is for you.

  • Protection

    The last thing you want to do is get the skunk oil on yourself, otherwise you’ll be just as smelly as your canine friend. Be sure to wear rubber gloves when applying the cleaner and scrubbing down your pooch. Many anti-skunk recipes include hydrogen peroxide and you don't want to get that on your skin or leave it on your dog’s fur for too long.

  • Smell

    After applying whatever specialist concoction you decide to use it’s a good idea to eradicate any lingering smells with an old-fashioned bubble bath. Choose a nice smelling shampoo and lather up your pup to get rid of any excess residue and leave them smelling clean and fresh.

  • Drying

    A nice simple towel dry is all your dog needs after their bath but be sure to throw the towel straight in the wash, or use an old one that you don’t mind throwing away. After a gentle rub-down feel free to let them dry out in the sun while you clean away the mess and throw your clothes in the wash.

    Unfortunately there’s no way of guaranteeing that your pooch won’t fall victim to a skunking but hopefully this guide has helped prepare you in case their noses do get them into trouble.

  • Most importantly...

    GroomArts doesn't suggest using anything that might endanger the health of your dog. If you are unsure, taking them to the nearest vets is the best thing that you can do and they can either treat or advise which products would be most suitable for your dog's coat and skin type.

Want to know anything else about the health of your dog? Let us know.

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