However upsetting it is for your dog to be sprayed by a skunk, it’s not a medical emergency—even though it may be painful. The dog’s eyes may be irritated and even become temporarily blinded. You may be able to smell the dog a mile away, but think about the poor victim! He or she must deal with the odor at ground zero and has a sense of smell thousands of times more sensitive than yours.
Hunting dogs are the usual victims, as their foraging takes them deep into the woods. City dogs are not immune, however, as skunks invade urban areas in search of pet food and trash cans. Their spray can reach a target up to 10-15 feet away.
Dogs that get sprayed by skunks should be kept out of the house until they’re washed thoroughly. Otherwise, you’ll find that the whole house is permeated by the penetrating smell. When you go outside to clean the dog, wear gloves and old clothes that you can throw away when you’re done.
The first step is checking the dog’s eyes. If they’re watering or red, he or she probably took a direct hit. It’s best to use a sterile saline solution, such as that made for contact lenses, to wash them out. If you don’t have lens solution on hand, run water gently over the eyes for 5 to 10 minutes to decrease the sting.
Before you get the dog wet all over, comb out the fur. When water hits any snarls, the fur turns solid and you’ll have to cut out the mats. To keep the dog quiet during cleaning, you’ll need to leash him or her to a post or other stationary object. There are a number of skunk odor removers listed on Amazon, all rated by customer. Many professional groomers recommend Massengill brand douche (3 oz/gal water). To use, pour over your pet and allow to soak for 15 minutes before rinsing with plain water. This should be followed with a bath using regular dog shampoo.
It may be a few days before you’ll want to bury your nose in your dog’s lovely fur!