Pets Sprayed by Skunk – 2 Things to Know

Posted on July 29, 2016 under Cat Topics, Dog Topics

By veterinarian Dr. Fiona for Pets Best, a U.S. dog and cat pet health insurance agency since 2005.

A skunk’s spray is a scent you’ll never forget. And when the skunk’s target is your pet, it can be particularly offensive. You’ve probably heard of the old tomato juice trick, but in actuality this is unlikely to do more than just mask the smell.

Dogs and cats get sprayed by skunks, learn how to remove the smell and if it's dangerous.

1. Is Skunk Spray Dangerous?

Keep in mind that the ‘liquid’ in skunk spray is not only offensive to your nostrils, it can actually be dangerous. Skunk toxicosis can occur if the dog ingests some of it, causing potentially life-threatening anemia.

In addition, the spray can be caustic and can cause irritation and damage to the lungs, corneas and other delicate parts of the face in both cats and dogs. Respiratory illnesses and dermatitis can occur with skunk spray as well.

If your dog or cat has been sprayed by a skunk, you may want to call your veterinarian to determine if a visit to the ER is in order. Make sure to monitor them carefully over the next few days to ensure respiratory or eye irritation doesn’t occur, as well as anorexia, vomiting or not feeling well.

Note: Our BestBenefit pet insurance plan includes coverage for injuries and accidents, even those related to a skunk incident.

2. How to Remove (Reduce) the Skunk Spray

Rather than run to the grocery store for vats of tomato juice, here is a better home skunk recipe you can try:
-One quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
-1/4 cup baking soda
-1 tsp liquid hand soap (not dishwashing soap or detergent)

To note: Do not mix these ingredients in a closed bottle. Baking soda and peroxide together will explode!

Lather and bathe several times, ensuring you rinse well in between washes. Avoid contact with eyes, as this solution can cause irritation and discomfort.

There are over the counter skunk products available as well, such as Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor remover, and Skunk Off made by Thornell, as well as various other skunk shampoos that will work better than tomato juice.

Parting tip: If you’re in an area where skunks live, keep your dogs on a leash to help avoid any potential skunk run-ins.

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