What’s that Smell? Avoiding and Treating Skunk Encounters

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What’s that Smell? Avoiding and Treating Skunk Encounters

We’ve all smelled it, some of us while driving on the highway and others, unfortunately, on their pets. The small of skunk is very distinguished and one that pet owners want to rid of as soon as possible. Skunks are quite common in our region of California, so it’s important to know how to avoid and treat skunking situations – especially since dogs and cats are such curious creatures.

Before spraying the odorous liquid on their victims, skunks generally hiss to warn their pursuers. These cues, however, are oftentimes lost on nosy pets. Therefore, the skunk turns around and fires away!

While the smell is the most common side effect, it’s important to make sure that your pet didn’t get sprayed in the face since the liquid can cause eye irritation (which can rarely turn into temporary blindness), vomiting and discomfort. If your pet gets sprayed on the body, a trip to the vet is usually unnecessary, but spray in the face warrants a phone call or trip to the hospital.

There are a few old myths for riding pets of the smell of skunks – ranging from tomato juice to vanilla extract. While there is no proven remedy, we recommend a mixture of dishwashing detergent, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Mix until you have the right portions to help your pet rid of the stink. Just remember to wear gloves!

Another thing to keep in mind is that in addition to the smell, skunks in this area have been known to carry Rabies. The Rabies virus isn’t transmittable via skunk spray, but since it’s carried in saliva you should thoroughly check your pet for bite wounds and call Butte Oroville Veterinary Hospital if you think your pet may have been exposed.

The best way to avoid potential skunk sprays and Rabies scares is to vaccinate your pet for Rabies before encounters happen, avoid skunks when you see them out in the daylight and don’t let your pets wander outside after dark, when skunks are most active.

Should you have questions or if any unexpected encounters happen, give us a call!

Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2014