Emergency & Critical Care

Recently, our team of emergency and critical care doctors have seen a rise in dogs being sprayed by skunks. Here are some recommendations if your pet ends up in this stinky situation:

  • After exposure, remove as much of the skunk spray as possible by bathing your pet.
  • Some over-the-counter products such as Skunk-Off or Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover may be helpful. These products are commonly available at pet stores. Or, if ordered in advance in preparation of exposure, these and similar products can be purchased through internet pharmacies.

    Alternatively, a home remedy to remove skunk odor may be used as well.

    Mix: 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide
    1/2 box of baking soda
    1 teaspoon of Dawn dish soap
    The at-home remedy must be used within one hour of mixing the ingredients. AVOID CONTACT WITH EYES AND MOUTH. Rinse thoroughly after application. You may bathe and thoroughly rinse the pet with regular pet shampoo after treatment with the skunk remedy.

    • If your pet is showing signs of illness or injury, seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
    • Irritation from the spray often causes pets to rub their faces, roll, sneeze, and/or vomit, squint, and temporary blindness may occur. Severity typically depends on a pet’s number of exposures, proximity to a skunk when sprayed, and the area of exposure (face vs. legs or side). If an animal is sprayed directly in the face, ingestion or inhalation can occur. Often, symptoms following a skunking are mild, short-lived, and self-limiting. However, absorption of higher amounts of skunk spray, though rare can cause anemia. On the other hand, exposure to the eye(s) is more common, causing pain and can cause corneal ulcers.

      If your pet is showing symptoms of exposure to high amounts of skunk spray, especially to the eyes or mouth, we recommend contacting your family veterinarian or a local veterinary emergency hospital.