Dealing With Skunk Smell
Skunks are extremely helpful creatures. They enjoy dining on destructive pests such as insects and rodents. Yet skunks cause intense feelings of fear and disgust for many individuals. This is because of their characteristic smell and the fact that they can spray this scent on people and their pets.
In Southern California, the most commonly seen skunks are black with white stripes. They have a bushy, squirrel-like tail. Skunks are pretty comfortable in suburban areas and are often found in parks and under wooden decks. They are nocturnal, and typically begin foraging for food at sunset.
Why skunks spray
Regardless of what you might believe, skunks do not enjoy spraying people. In fact they will only spray if they feel genuinely threatened. Skunks spray when defending their young and when they are cornered. However, spraying is never their first defense. A skunk will growl, spit and use other tactics in an attempt to threaten their attacker first. If all of these methods fail to work, they will lift their tail and release their strong smelling spray at their target.
While people typically leave skunks alone, dogs tend to be a little more persistent. This is why you often hear about dogs getting sprayed.
What to do when your dog gets sprayed
If your dog has been sprayed by a skunk, you must take immediate action. Skunk spray odor can last for months and often gets worse when your pet becomes wet. Complete removal of skunk odor isn’t usually possible, even with multiple baths, so you must chemically alter the compounds in the spray to eliminate the smell.
While there are several commercial products available to remove skunk odor, most pets are sprayed late at night or early in the morning, when pet supply shops are closed. At home, you can mix 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of dish soap. The soap breaks up the oils in the skunk spray, allowing the other ingredients to do their work. After applying this solution to your pet, you will need to thoroughly rinse them with water. Be very careful not to get the solution in your pet’s eyes and mouth. You can use a sponge to apply it around their face, if necessary.
After treating your pet at home, you will need to replace the lost moisture to their skin. Consider bringing them to a professional groomer for a soothing oatmeal bath and conditioning treatment.
Claws N Paws Day Spa offers quality pet grooming for dogs and cats. For more information about removing skunk odor, or to schedule a grooming appointment, please call 714-962-1005.