HELP! MY GREYHOUND GOT SKUNKED!
Skunk habitat is widespread and if your Greyhound gets curious about one, they may end up with a face full of stink - the result of a skunk that felt threatened by a predator, whether it be your too-curious dog or a fast-approaching vehicle. And they can hit a target with accuracy — taking aim at a perceived danger that is as far as 15 feet away. A skunk’s stench is the result of sulfur compounds that smell a lot like rotten eggs, and it’s meant to smell bad in order to ward off a predator. Skunk oil—and its smell—can linger for up to a year if not entirely removed from your dog’s skin and coat, which makes effectively cleaning your dog quickly after a skunk incident essential.
When dogs get sprayed by a skunk, they exhibit many of the same symptoms humans do. The most notable is the smell. You might also see some or all of the following immediate symptoms:
- Red eyes
- Rolling around on the ground
- Rubbing the face
- Temporary blindness
The blindness caused by a skunk’s spray is temporary. Skunk spray is known to cause breathing problems in humans, so it is important to watch your dog closely in case they develop it as well.
Act quickly and keep your hound outdoors. It’s common for dogs to get sprayed right in the face, so his impulse will be to run into the house to rub his face all over your furniture in an attempt to ease the agony. Rather, wrap him in a towel and check his eyes. Skunk spray is very irritating to dogs. If you notice their eyes are red or watering, rinse them with cool water or with some eyewash solution (human eye wash/drops are OK).
To neutralize the odor associated with skunk spray, you need to break down the oils so that they can be washed off the fur or skin.
Chemists have developed several commercial products. Nature’s Miracle and many others are readily available on Amazon, at pet stores or your veterinarian. If skunks are common where you live, it might be a good idea to have some on hand, hoping (like with insurance) you won’t need it!
However, you can concoct a good substitute with ingredients you probably already have on hand: hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish liquid.
- 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap
The dish detergent breaks down the oil so that it can be washed away, while the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda act as oxidizing agents, changing the chemical structure of the smell into odorless sulfonic acid compounds. To be effective, the solution must be used while 'fresh', or still bubbling, and must be applied directly to the sprayed areas.
Wearing rubber gloves, work the solution into your dog’s coat, washing him thoroughly. Don’t leave the solution on his fur for too long since peroxide can bleach his fur. Then rinse completely. You might have to repeat the process more than once.
Be careful with this solution - never use solutions that contain peroxide near the eyes. The peroxide can bleach any material it may come in contact with (such as your clothes or furniture). Also, do not keep this mixture if you have left-overs, as it can explode.
When using the homemade product, it is common to notice the skunk smell every time your dog gets wet over the next few months. This rarely occurs when a commercial odor eliminator is used correctly.
Shampoo your dog - using a regular dog shampoo or skunk dog shampoo to remove any residual solution and to leave your dog smelling clean. Towel dry and let him finish drying in a warm, sunny room.
If any of the skunk smell gets on you during the bathing process, wash your clothes in regular laundry detergent and 1/2 cup of baking soda.
HOW TO MINIMIZE SKUNK ENCOUNTERS
To avoid a skunking, remember the black and white critters are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. Although you are often able to detect the telltale smell of a skunk before it gets too close, sometimes there may be no warning that a skunk is nearby.
If skunks share your neighborhood, take steps to make your property less attractive to skunks. Eliminate readily available food sources such as garbage or pet food.
Consider leaving a light on in the yard or accompanying your dog outside when you let them out in the evening.
You can also set up solar lights so that your yard stays lit throughout the entire night—making it a less desirable place for skunks to frequent.
Automated sprinklers set to turn on throughout the night may also be a good way to deter skunks from roaming your yard off hours.
Board up or otherwise block access to sheds and areas beneath your deck or porch. Remove piles of brush or wood and any dead tree stumps that might make an appealing shelter to a skunk.
If your dog has been sprayed by a skunk, keep an eye on them for a couple of days, in case they have an adverse reaction. You particularly want to be aware that skunks can carry rabies, so a skunk bite can be very dangerous. If you have any questions about treating a dog sprayed by a skunk, contact your veterinarian. They can run tests and determine if the skunk bit your dog.