When Skunks Attack Your Dog
Skunk Attacks Happen When You Least Expect Them
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 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
White or Apple Cider Vinegar
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!