Our dog was skunked last night when she went out for her last pee of the night, around 9:15 p.m. She got it in the face and neck. At first she couldn’t open her eyes and was foaming from the mouth. Though my spouse saw the varmint trying to escape our fence, he wasn’t sure in the dark, seeing it at a distance from the rear with its tail held aloft, whether it was a skunk or a porcupine (it looked large), so we checked the dog’s face for quills, and bites or bleeding, while she was still out on the deck. Finding none, and smelling a strong eau-de-Pepe-Le-Pew, we assumed a skunk spray.
We called the emergency vets, who told us to rinse her face over and over with warm water, which we did in the tub upstairs. We didn’t really want to bring her in the house but it was dark outside, we don’t have a portable tub or wading pool or anything large enough to use as one, and we weren’t sure where the perpetrator was. After the warm water rinse — by now her eyes were open and she’d stopped foaming — we scrubbed her with a tomato sauce-water mixture. We are apparently quite ill-prepared for this sort of event: no tomato juice, no hydrogen peroxide and about a half-cup of white vinegar to our names.
Fortunately, it was warm and not rainy last night, so we opened most of the windows upstairs and some downstairs, using window and exhaust fans in some, but the house still stinks to high heaven today. Last night, it smelled like a chemical, a burning rubber kind of smell, not really the smell I associate with skunks. Much more concentrated and acrid. The forecast is not looking good for us, with rain and cooler temps expected from tonight through next Friday.
The dog slept in our room last night, on her foam bed covered double with washable material, but even the foam (three layers down) stinks today, so it’s time for a new bed for her. The human furniture is of course off-limits to her for a while.
We humans also stink. I went to the Farmer’s Market and grocery store today and heard people wondering if there was a skunk around. There was a fluffy black-and-white long-haired chihuahua running around at the Farmer’s Market that caused some double-takes. :-)
My car stinks, though I sat in it only for about 8 minutes total. I’m running the 4th load of laundry now (so far, all dog-related) and have two more, at least, to go.
The dog went to the vet’s this morning for a booster rabies shot; she was current on her rabies vaccine but they recommend a booster any time a pet has a run-in with a wild animal. She’s now getting her second and third baths, with a mixture of white vinegar, baking soda and a little Dawn liquid detergent — to neutralise the skunk’s potent oil. The vet recommended this, or rather instead of vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, but though I bought some hydrogen peroxide earlier today — along with white vinegar, gloves, sponges, and more baking soda — we still don’t have enough of it to do the trick, and the vinegar seems to be working well. We’re keeping it away from her face. (The vinegar is also working well added to the laundry.)
Our dog is a short-haired shedding variety that doesn’t get groomed. Her fur can’t be shaved without her looking like a Gloucester Old Spots pig and leaving her prone to sunburn and other skin injury. Judging from other spots she’s had shaved for medical procedures, the hair may not grow back, either.
The skunks are around, we think, because our neighbours on both sides have grubs, which skunks love. We have a lot of nightcrawlers in our lawn — not sure whether that’s a skunk food source, too. We don’t have any garbage outside and thankfully, the skunks don’t seem to be nesting under the deck.
Sunday Update: We gave her another bath yesterday using the hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, Dawn recipe linked below. She still stinks. Part of the problem is that most of the spray was on her face — eyes, nose, mouth — and that’s where we can’t wash much using the solution.
(Photo: The dog with a treat resting on her nose. One of her other tricks, besides disturbing skunks.)
Helpful de-skunking websites
What to do when your dog has been skunked (PetPlace.com) – our vet printed this out for us
The best way to deskunk your dog (Brian Retzler)
Solving problems with skunks (The Humane Society)