When Skunks Attack Your Dog

Skunk Attacks Happen When You Least Expect Them

He'll be there when you least expect it.
He'll be there when you least expect it.

Always Be Prepared for an Attack

It's an attack that changed our lives forever. It happened exactly one week ago at approximately 10:30pm. My wife and I had just finished watching a DVD and we were about to go to bed. I knew our 100lb, best friend in the world, Kiera (our lab/shepard mix for the past 8 years) would have to go outside and answer nature's call. She'd been pretty quiet during the movie.

I accompanied Kiera to the back door and turned on the backyard floodlights, opened the door and watched her wagging tail as it descended down the four concrete stairs to the fenced in backyard. The $1400 investment we made in fencing in the yard of our new house was money well spent. Kiera could roam the yard unencumbered by her leash and stay outside as long as she pleased, without me or my wife trying to rush her to do her business.

I walked back into the kitchen and poured myself a drink of water. Through the open kitchen window I saw Kiera take off like a shot after something near our shed. I assumed it was one of the neighborhood cats. I prayed it was one of the neighborhood cats. It wasn't one of the neighborhood cats. It was our worst nightmare.

I ran to the door as Kiera was running back to the house. She was whimpering, foaming at the mouth and her eyes were bloodshot. As she came up the stairs I grabbed onto her head to see what had happened. That's when I noticed the smell.

If you've ever smelled a freshly attacked animal, it smells nothing like the strong odor you may smell driving down the highway late at night. It was a smell like nothing I ever imagined. It was a superstrong combination of burnt rubber, garlic and onions and vomit. It almost knocked me down. Kiera, terrified, ran into the kitchen and then the living room. There was no stopping her.

Realizing that a skunk just attacked my baby (and braving the smell as best as I could) I called for my wife and together we inspected every inch of Kiera's body to make sure that she hadn't been bitten. Skunks are notorious for rabies, and even though Kiera is always up to date with her shots,we weren't taking chances.

By the time we were done with her physical exam, (No bites, thank you, God!) my wife took Kiera into the shower to flush out her eyes and I ran into my office to hit up the net to find out what to do. I was ashamed to admit I was never ready for a skunk attack. I had never even thought of it. Skunks aren't abundant in our area.

To make a long hub shorter, I'm going to tell you how we cleaned the dog and attempted to clean the house and how we're dealing with it now.

Since skunks are nocturnal animals, they rarely attack during the day. Since the bulk of the attacks happen at night, the odds are you will be unprepared if your animal is sprayed. Be ready. We were lucky we had some things in the house.

WHAT NOT TO DO DURING A SKUNK ATTACK!

Panic. We did because we didn't know what to do. Print out this Hub and attach it to your fridge with a magnet. You'll always have it ready.

Take your pet to the vet. The vet will discourage this unless the animal has been bitten. Feel free to call the emergency vet and get their advice. They'll probably give you the peroxide recipe.

Keep Anything that may have been sprayed: Whaever it is, throw it away, It's not worth keeping it and will make your cleaning efforts futile.


Your Skunk Attack Kit
Your Skunk Attack Kit

Your Emergency Skunk Attack Kit

WHAT TO HAVE ON HAND IN CASE YOUR ANIMAL IS ATTACKED.

32 oz. of hydrogen peroxide

1/4-1/2 cup of baking soda

1 good squirt of dishwashing detergent such as Dawn.

Something to mix it up in. (A one gallon plastic water jug is ideal.)

WARNING: AFTER YOU USE THIS MIXTURE, BE SURE TO DISPOSE OF IT. IT WILL EXPLODE IF KEPT IN A BOTTLE.

Mix all the ingredients together and apply to your animal (being extremely careful not to get any inside their eyes or ears.) Shampoo the animal in this mixture for at least 10 minutes (which will be extremely difficult for your stressed out doggie) and then rinse completely. You may have to apply this mixture the next day, as we did. It did take most of the smell out of the dog's fur, but her face and nose still smell brutal. We're attempting a dilluted vinegar on a cotton ball. It's a slow process.

We didn't try tomato juice. Not only did we not have any in the house, I read that it was ineffective.

Here is a list of other MUST HAVE supplies for a skunk attack

Several old bath-sized towels

Sponges

White or Apple Cider Vinegar

Ground Coffee

Ozium Air Spray (Check any auto supply store!)

Carpet Foaming Spray

Tranquilizers (Take as directed)

The house was another problem all it's own. Every room stunk. It was HORRIBLE! I learned that skunks do not spray urine, but a musky oil from sacs located near their anus. This oil spreads over your animal and anything he/she touches and is extremely difficult to remove.

At the time of the attack, I had the central air conditioner running, which I'm certain made things worse, as it carried to every room. I shut off the air and opened all windows. I turned on the ceiling fans and started wiping down the furniture. We have leather furniture in the living room. I wiped it down with straight white vinegar and did not rinse it off. I did the same to the pergo flooring. The carpets we sprayed down with canned commercial carpet cleaner (the foamy stuff) and I placed several small bowls of ground coffee and white vinegar around the house. The coffee is supposed to absorb the smell. It did a fantastic job.

Kiera had a difficult night sleeping. We all did. I gave Kiera one of her puppy tranquilizers and then took a human tranquilizer myself. My wife went to bed with 2 Advils due to a horrible migraine (which if you're a migraine victim, you can imagine skunk smell is not a good thing to be around.)

I threw away the clothes we were wearing. They were just pajammas, so it wasn't a huge loss. We also had to toss several towels used to dry Kiera off. A few throw rugs also made their way to the garbage bags. I also made sure to change the filters in the air conditioner. The basement still smells l as I cannot open the windows down there. I considered a professional cleaner specializing in skunks, but it's expensive and we have a high homeowners deductible.


Buy some Skunk Off!

Be Prepared for a Future Skunk Attack

ARE WE NOW PREPARED FOR A POSSIBLE FUTURE ATTACK?

You bet we are. The next day we stocked a special skunk section in the basement, complete with hydrogen peroxide, dishwashing detergent, extra boxes of baking soda, air freshener (Ozium works great) vinegar, and assorted old towels and sponges.

I also wondered what attracted the skunks to my yard. Any trash was in a covered cannister. (Skunks eat anything, including roadkill, which is why they are great candidates for rabies) It's also early autumn, which I found out is mating season for skunks.

I have a shed in the yard and it's possible that that a new mom could have made her way underneath to have her family. Rather than close the bottom of the shed in, (which would be not only cruel, but stupid), I placed several moth balls underneath and around the area. Ammonia soaked rags are supposed to work well, too.

Well, feel free to comment with your skunk stories, remedies and household purifying tips. I hope you enjoyed the Hub-and never ever have to use it in an emergency!

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Comments 20 comments

gredmondson 9 years ago

Thanks for this Hub. A few days ago I was driving into our garage at night (the garage is behind the house at the end of a long driveway) and I was surprised to see a skunk meandering across the concrete just in front of the garage door. He was coming from where we have some avacado trees, and I have since wondered if skinks eat fruit. It ws a large, adult skunk. We live in the city (central coast of California), but on two acres, and there is a vacant lot behind our house, so maybe the skunk is surviving there.


HillbillyGardener profile image

HillbillyGardener 9 years ago from Bolivar

Rockinjoe,

Havin' grown up with skunks and also having had several as pets (they are extremely good pets), both scented and descented, let me clear up a few misconceptions.

1) The incidence of skunks having rabies is extremely low (contrary to what the news tells). If you listen to the news, they will make you believe that all skunks are foaming, seething, attack anything that moves rabies machines. Nothing could be further from the truth.

2) Skunks are naturally very shy and NEVER attack. Yet they are attacked at every oportunity by everything both four and two legged. Skunks will only spray if attacked or startled as a natural defense mechanism.

3) Skunks are instinctively curious and friendly. Wild skunks can be taught to trust humans and will actually learn rather quickly to eat out of your hand without doing any harm to you. They will actually learn to enjoy you presence.

4) While they will occasionally eat a free meal of garbage, they much prefer to spend their evenings digging and eating the grubs that are destroying your lawn as well as a whole host of other insects that you don't want around.

5) The best AND SAFEST WAY to rid your pet or yourself of skunk odor is to bathe well first with warm water and soap and then rinse well with tomato and lemon juice and let it soak for a few minutes.

Skunks make excellent, gentle, curious and playful pets that are easily leash trained. Skunks are also quite clean and can be house broken realatively easily. If the skunk is not descented (illegal in most states thankfully as this is it's only means of defense), simply attach a small bell to the laces of your shoes so that you do not startle them and you will never bother you.

the "Hillbilly Gardener"


rockinjoe profile image

rockinjoe 9 years ago from Standing right behind you! Author

Thanks for the education, Hillbilly Gardener. Although I doubt I'll be taking one in as a pet anytime soon, I do have a newfound respect for the skunk. I haven't seen any in the yard since the incident, (which is a good thing, because my wife is totally freaked out), but I'm definitely an animal lover. Thanks for the facts. (That would make a great Hub, by the way!)


ForTheLove profile image

ForTheLove 9 years ago from Godforsaken, Iowa

Excellent hub you've got here! I've never been sprayed by a skunk, but my uncle did have one as a pet... Look for my upcoming skunks as pets hub ;-)


Vagirl3 8 years ago

This sounds just like what happened to my collie Abby at our river place last year. It was by far the worst experience of our lives. We were trying to extend our long weekend and head home for work early on a Monday morning. Long story short we let Abby out before got into the car and walked back inside to get the last of our things.....then we smelled it....I couldn't see her...it was totally dark and she came whimpering around the corner.....eyes watering and mouth foaming....I thought she was going to die...so she came inside and i tried washing her just in the shower b/c we had no internet. Well long story short we had to get her in the car and take the longest 90 minute drive home in our lives!!! I kept the window open and she had her nose out the window the whole time. Once home I hit the internet and found the same solution you used (only after we tried tomato juice which didn't touch the smell). After we used the solution by boyfriend could put his face right in her fur. We also washed her with it again the next day. We had to head back to our vacation home after a week to de-skunk....luckily it was limited to a small area in the den and of course the shower. I scrubbed the carpet with the same solution and it worked wonders. Sorry you had the same experience....but it is great to know someone really understands how bad it is!!


lynsam 8 years ago

On October 26, 2008 @ 9:00 am my dog Sampson was outside and all of a sudden he started crying like you wouldn't believe.  I ran to our sliding door and looked out to see my dog on our deck with a skunk.  The skunk was attacking Sampson.  I opened the sliding door to let Sampson in and the skunk followed right behind him trying to get into my house.  I stupidly wasn't thinking and I had to kick the skunk in the head to keep him from coming inside in which I had no shoes on.  After Sampson got into the house he immediately ran into our livingroom and leaned up on a cloth chair.  I ran to him to make sure he wasn't bleeding which means I did touch him with my bare hands.  The skunk stayed in our yard wandering around climbing back onto the deck.  The police were called and they just watched the skunk.  They didn't believe he was rabid because he seemed to know where he was going, he wasn't disoriented etc.  Sampson was taken to the vet and they shaved his tail and found bruising but they couldn't say if he was bitten or not.  Because I could have had contact with the skunks salvia, I had to go to my doctor and be checked to see if I had cuts on my hands and/or feet.  If I had any cuts I would have had to get shots because they didn't know if the skunk was rabid or not.  Well this whole ordeal has cost me over $600.00.  My home still smells like skunk 5 days later.   I will be placing mothballs all around my yard this weekend.  I want to thank rockinjoe for his ideas for getting skunk smell out of the home.  Believe me this weekend I will try them all.  I hope never to see a skunk again. Also, after this interaction with a skunk I would not recommend having one as a pet.


rockinjoe profile image

rockinjoe 8 years ago from Standing right behind you! Author

Hi lynsam,

Thanks for checking in. I hope that you're ok and that Sampson is recovering from his ordeal. Trust me, the house is going to take awhile to get back to normal. Hopefully, it's not too cold where you live and some windows can stay open.

I'm sure you've done it, but check under the deck and make sure there are no gaps where your new friend could be living.

Good luck:)


Pam 7 years ago

We had a similar experience the night before last, but we have THREE dogs. Fortunately, only one got hit by the spray, but unfortunately, in our panic we let her walk into the house and down the stairs, where we bathed her in tomato juice (we had no peroxide and it was late). She didn't smell bad afterwards, but our house did! So we cleaned up as best we could, put out coffee, lit candles, etc. Had a sleepless night and had to work yesterday. We don't know where the skunk(s) could be living, but suspect it's in an inaccessible area of our deck. Okay - so LAST night, the same thing happened - but it was even worse, because one of our dogs cornered the skunk where it could not escape and the skunk sprayed her directly in the face - AND the other two, as well! This time it was early enough to get the peroxide and that combination did work. We used tomato juice, also - bathed our dogs first in the tomato, then with soap, then with tomato again, then soap again, then the peroxide mixture, then soap again, then cream rinse. I have to say, it did seem to work, but our whole house reeks! In our panic to try to get the dogs away from the skunk, we let the one who was directly hit in the face go into the house, where she immediately started frantically rubbing her muzzle all over our white carpet. Today - house still reeks, and we are supposed to have a dinner party in 3 days. And of course we didn't get much sleep last night, either. Obviously we won't be stupid enough to let this happen again tonight, but it's very inconvenient as far as letting the dogs out. Ugh! As bad as the whole experience was, though, I have to say I'm envious of Vagirl3 - I wish that was the worst experience of my life!


Pam 7 years ago

We had a similar experience the night before last, but we have THREE dogs. Fortunately, only one got hit by the spray, but unfortunately, in our panic we let her walk into the house and down the stairs, where we bathed her in tomato juice (we had no peroxide and it was late). She didn't smell bad afterwards, but our house did! So we cleaned up as best we could, put out coffee, lit candles, etc. Had a sleepless night and had to work yesterday. We don't know where the skunk(s) could be living, but suspect it's in an inaccessible area of our deck. Okay - so LAST night, the same thing happened - but it was even worse, because one of our dogs cornered the skunk where it could not escape and the skunk sprayed her directly in the face - AND the other two, as well! This time it was early enough to get the peroxide and that combination did work. We used tomato juice, also - bathed our dogs first in the tomato, then with soap, then with tomato again, then soap again, then the peroxide mixture, then soap again, then cream rinse. I have to say, it did seem to work, but our whole house reeks! In our panic to try to get the dogs away from the skunk, we let the one who was directly hit in the face go into the house, where she immediately started frantically rubbing her muzzle all over our white carpet. Today - house still reeks, and we are supposed to have a dinner party in 3 days. And of course we didn't get much sleep last night, either. Obviously we won't be stupid enough to let this happen again tonight, but it's very inconvenient as far as letting the dogs out. Ugh! As bad as the whole experience was, though, I have to say I'm envious of Vagirl3 - I wish that was the worst experience of my life!


Skunkslayer5000 7 years ago

Its 3 am and i was just outside having a cigarette... i heard a noise and turned around and thought i saw my can because it wasn't scared of me... seconds later the damn skunk ran right at me and once three feet away i saw the white stripes and ran myself. Suprisingly didn't get sprayed. Takin the rifle out tomorrow. Gonna blow it in half.


oliviA 6 years ago

i think skunk slayer, thats a goodidea.


curious 6 years ago

Do the moth balls harm or just repel?


rockinjoe profile image

rockinjoe 6 years ago from Standing right behind you! Author

Hi curious....the skunks (and other yard animals) won't go near them. They repel...just like they do with moths.


Mary Ann Laun 6 years ago

Our 13 year old golden mix pound puppy was hit in the face and throat last night. I washed her face and eyes and gave her milk to drink to neutralize the taste in her mouth. Today we took her to the vet because she was acting so lethargic and strange...staring at the wall. Her pulse (normal is 100) hiked up to 180 and the vets thought she might have a heart attack any minute...Ventrial tachycardia, they called it. They don't think it is related to the attack, but we can't help but think it is related. We brought her back home tonight and she got her favorite El Pollo Loco...she ate well and seems to be on the mend.


rockinjoe profile image

rockinjoe 6 years ago from Standing right behind you! Author

The poor thing. She went threw a traumatic experience. I'm glad she's feeling better. Good luck.


Kelli 6 years ago

I have a family of five living right outside my front door. I had a Wildlife management guy over last night who saw our mothball attempt to deter. His point - think about how badly they smell - do we really think they are going to be offended by mothballs or ammonia? Good point.

It's going to cost me $300 to have them professionally removed from the property. 1) I hate to do it as I love animals 2) I hate to spend that kind of money.

Any thoughts/experiences having them live on your property without issue? I have no outside pets, so we really need to worry about ourselves as we enter/exit our house.


rockinjoe profile image

rockinjoe 6 years ago from Standing right behind you! Author

Hi Kelli, I would still stick with the mothball and ammonia soaked rags. Skunks don't like them. It's been proven. In fact, I proved it in my yard, I don't know where this wildlife guy got his education about skunks, but they don't smell bad to themseleves and they don't smell bad to each other. Wanna know why? THEY DON'T SPRAY EACH OTHER! Save your $300 and set out some ammonia. Get the good stuff, like Parsons. Stay away from the diluted dollar brands. Trust me. It works.


Unlucky 6 years ago

Hey people , since yesterday i started to hate skunks .

Was cooming back from a party , 3 in da moornin , and was a bit sleepy , as it was a Wednesday everybody put out their garbages out ... I was walkin really silently , and suddenly like 4-6 ft in front of me i got face to face with a skunk. Seeing as i seen my friends dogg gettin sprayed by skunks and i now how bad is it i freaked out and as soon as i saw it i run back but he managed to spray a little on me . Thank god it sprayed me just on a side and just a little , but i feel da smell hella hard . :( i took a shower with tomato juice and vinegar and after rinced my whole body with soap a couple of times , it did seem better do . :( And im really pissed off as i dont want to throw my clothes , like its not ussal daily clothes , its clothes for going out .... Plus my gucci shoes smell hella bad , but they are practically new , so i dont feel like throwing them out . I cleaned them as well as i could and let them outside on balcony on fresh air . Didn't washed my clothes yet , let them outside as well .. Smells horribly . Do u people think i can still wear them after they gettin washed ? Like i really hope that the smell will dissapear as soon as possible . Argh..


encountered 6 years ago

I live on an acreage and have had plenty of skunks. One sprayed under my deck right by the fresh air intake. This was the middle of winter (2 weeks before Christmas) and 3 in the morning. My guess is a coyote tried to get it judging by the tracks in the snow. Took 6 months before we could get rid of the skunk smell in the house. NO air fresheners worked - especially that Febreeze crap. Baking coffee grounds worked to mask the smell for about an hour. I tried the mothballs to keep the skunk away from the house. That did not work in the slightest. I watched the skunk walk right over those and believe me I was generous with the mothballs. My house just stunk of skunk and mothballs. I have since closed up the deck.

The best deterrent is a trap. I knew skunks were around and left them alone before the incident. They started the war. I am just finishing it. So far 13 in a year and a half. My guess is that neighbours probably leave catfood or garbage out that the skunks like and for some reason they like to live in my yard.


Steph 13 months ago

Hi my dog was sprayed

He is petrified now of the backyard

And decided to pee in the house

He's 70 pounds

Any advice

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