What to Do When Your Pet is Skunked
Skunks are common in rural and suburban areas, and pets are curious about these waddling, furry creatures. Unfortunately, skunks are not sociable and will spray their bitter, overpowering oil on curious pets, but it is possible to de-skunk your pet if it is sprayed. It is important to take action quickly, however, because the longer the oil remains on your cat or dog, the longer the scent will linger even after the animal has been cleaned.
Before attempting to clean your pet, check them for any injury, including scratches or bites. The solutions used to deodorize after skunking can cause severe irritation if used on wounds. It is also critical to check your pet's eyes for any harm – if any injuries are discovered, contact a veterinarian immediately.
Cleaning Up Your Skunked Pet
If your dog or cat has been skunked...
1. Keep them outside or in a well-ventilated area while you change into old clothes that you won't mind discarding after the cleaning if necessary.
2. Find where on your pet the skunk oil has contacted, typically on the face, neck and shoulders as they investigated the skunk. Blot the area carefully with paper towels or disposable rags to remove as much oil as possible, but do not rub the fur or otherwise spread the oil over the rest of their body.
4. Use high-quality de-skunking products or solutions, or make your own from the formula discovered by chemist Paul Krebaum in 1993:
- 1 quart hydrogen peroxide (three percent solution)
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1-2 teaspoons dish soap (preferable a de-greasing brand such as Dawn)
- 1 cup water (optional – leave out if the smell is particularly strong on your pet)
5. Work the solution well into the affected area of your pet's coat, using a washcloth to delicately treat the face if necessary. Allow the solution to sit for 5-10 minutes for the best results, but take care to keep your pet from licking at the solution.
6. Rinse your pet thoroughly and repeat the treatment if necessary.
Homemade solutions can develop pressure and should not be stored; check the instructions on any commercial solutions to see if they can be kept on hand for longer periods of time.
With these steps, it is possible to eliminate unpleasant odors your pet brings home after encountering a skunk. While all of the scent may not be gone after repeated washings, the remaining odor will eventually wear off and your pet will not soon forget the cost of being curious with a skunk.
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