iStock_000004745224XSmall (1)

Very little in nature is more noxious than the smell of a skunk. But skunks bring other problems to your pets, too.

If your cat or dog has gotten into a tussle with a skunk, it is likely your first concern will be to de-skunk your pet. Unfortunately skunks are primarily nocturnal creatures, meaning it’s likely that you’ll be attempting a late-night de-skunking at home before getting your pet to a professional groomer.

Most experienced de-skunkers, including many groomers, rely on canned tomato juice baths, baking soda preparations, commercial shampoos or dishwashing soap to defuse the smell of a skunk. Often these treatments will need to be repeated a time or two before the smell begins to fade.

A good post-bath spray of cologne can help a bit, but nothing can completely cover up or eliminate this odor. However time works wonders, and eventually your pet will smell normal again—even if it does take a week or two.

Finally, remember to be gentle with your pet if he or she has been sprayed. It’s likely that your pet has just received the scare of a lifetime, and your admonishments will only make your pet feel more miserable than he or she already is.

Other Considerations

Thankfully, a foul smell is usually the worst part of a run-in with a skunk. But for the pets that actually do manage to get into a tussle with these smelly critters, there can be more severe health risks as well.

Skunks and Rabies

Skunks are commonly regarded as the second-most rabies infected hosts (next to bats) in the United States. For this reason, pet owners should be certain that their pets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccination, especially if a run-in with a skunk is likely.

Skunks and Parasites

It is not uncommon for skunks to host parasites that can wreak havoc on your cat or dog’s health as well. Fleas are a common risk with skunks, as is the round worm Baylisascaris columnaris. This parasite can be ingested by a pet through eating the feces of an infected skunk, and can cause severe neurological or ocular damage if not treated.

Infections From Skunk Bites

As with most animal bites, there is the potential for infection in an untreated animal bite. If you find (or even suspect) that a skunk has bitten your pet, contact us for an appointment.

Trash Talk

Finally, keep in mind that skunks are typically drawn to your property in their search for food. To help reduce the chances of an encounter with a skunk, keep your yard and property free from food debris and your trash bins battened down tight.

Likewise, if your pet becomes agitated that there is an after-hours intruder in your yard, don’t let them go bounding out to investigate. Chances are, it’s a skunk.

If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s involvement with a skunk, or if you are in need of an appointment with one of groomers for a de-skunking, please don’t hesitate to contact us.