My Pet Was Wondering...Help! I’ve been sprayed by a skunk!

Oh no! Getting sprayed by a skunk is an unpleasant experience at best. Most of the time there are no medical problems with being sprayed, just odor and cleaning challenges. By and far the most common problem with coming across a skunk is the smell. There are many shampoos and treatments available in stores and online. One of the most effective for eliminating smell is this homemade recipe:

·       One quart of three percent Hydrogen Peroxide

·       One fourth cup Baking Soda

·       One teaspoon liquid hand soap (not detergent or dish soap)

Mix the above ingredients together and bathe a few times, allowing solution to soak on hair for 10 minutes and rinsing well between each bath, making sure to avoid the eyes. Nothing will eliminate the odor completely, other than time, but this recipe can go a long way towards clearing the air. Because of the combination of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, this mixture cannot be made ahead of time; it would pop the top from any bottle.

Occasionally, there can be health issues that do require veterinary care. The most common is eye irritation from being sprayed in the face, which can be temporary or lead to chronic dry eye.  The second problem that can occur is hemolytic anemia, where the chemicals in the skunk spray cause a dog’s body to start destroying its own red blood cells. This condition is rare and can be treated but may require a blood transfusion and intensive hospitalization. Anemia can occur only if the dog ingests a large amount of spray but should not be a concern for a dog that has not ingested any spray or was not sprayed in the face.  If your dog has been sprayed, monitor for signs of anemia which include weakness, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Seek immediate veterinary care if you notice these signs following an encounter with a skunk.

Hopefully you have a skunk-free spring, and if you happen to have an encounter, keep the above information in mind and the shampoo recipe handy.

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