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What is Skunk Spray?

If your dog comes upon a skunk, his natural instincts will lead him to approach the animal. This is a very hazardous move that nearly always ends in malodorous consequences. Should your pet be sprayed with a skunk, you would be wise to contact your veterinarian, who can determine just how seriously the spray has affected your canine family member.

Skunk spray is a very volatile mixture. A canine who is sprayed by this normally docile animal can suffer the toxic effects for months. The strong, musky scent emitted by the skunk can cause great physical and emotional trauma for your pet.

Skunk Spray Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $350

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Skunk Spray in Dogs

Due to the intense odor, you will have no problem figuring out what is distressing your pet. Most cases of skunk spray seem to hit their mark, right in the face of their target. Besides the smell that will encompass your dog, you may see the symptoms below.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Squinting due to pain in the eyes
  • Tearing in the eyes
  • Rubbing of the face and eyes
  • There may be temporary blindness
Types

The spray emitted by the skunk will have four types of possible effect on your furry family member.

  • Ocular

    - the eyes usually feel the worst effects

  • Oral

    - your pet may get sprayed in the mouth (for example if he is barking when the spray hits)

  • Dermal

    - spray may touch the skin

  • Respiratory

    - your dog will most likely breathe in fumes

It should be noted that documentation shows two cases of Heinz body formation (which causes severe anemia), were reported in two dogs that were sprayed by skunks. One case stated the dog recovered after supportive care and therapy. The second dog (who had a history of being sprayed 5 times in the past), had a seizure and died 12 hours after a skunk spray.

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Causes of Skunk Spray in Dogs

In the warmer months, the chances of meeting up with a skunk increase. Their taste for berries, garbage, lawn insects and other attractive food sources bring them closer in proximity to our homes.

  • The aim of a skunk when projecting his spray is remarkably accurate
  • Skunks have 2 anal glands which can spray the odorous substance contained within up to 15 feet, or 5 meters away
  • There are 7 components that make up the skunk’s odor
  • The severity of the spray effects depends on the proximity to the skunk and whether the spray goes in the face
  • Dogs who get sprayed while in the den of a skunk could suffer very intense effects
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Diagnosis of Skunk Spray in Dogs

Bring your dog to the veterinarian immediately if he has been sprayed by a skunk and is showing intense discomfort. Not only will he be surrounded by a never ending odor, the sensations in his eyes, nose and mouth may be causing him to feel nauseous. Your pet may unintentionally cause secondary injuries due to scratching his eyes, or biting his skin.

It is also wise to have your dog checked by the veterinarian in case your pet was bitten by the skunk. Skunks are known to carry the rabies virus. The veterinarian will also verify if there has been stress to the cornea of the eye (which can cause temporary blindness).

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Treatment of Skunk Spray in Dogs

If your beloved pet has had a large amount of spray enter his eyes, your veterinarian is the best person to perform an ocular wash. Her steady hand will assure a full rinse is accomplished. If the damage to the eyes is extensive, your veterinarian may suggest that your dog be monitored at the clinic for a couple of days because the eyes can rapidly deteriorate. A complete blood count and serum chemistry may be advised.

Your veterinary team will begin an intravenous treatment if it appears that there is a chance of serious consequences due to Heinz body formation. Blood transfusion has been given to animals in the past for this condition, but it must be noted that Heinz body formation from skunk spray is extremely rare.

If the main concern that you and your veterinarian have is the strong odor emanating from your pet, she can advise you on how to rid your pet of the smell. The clinic may have chemist created solutions on hand for purchase (the option most certain to give success), or you can try a combination of peroxide, baking soda and a small amount of dish soap, being extremely careful not to get the solution in your pet’s eyes.

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Recovery of Skunk Spray in Dogs

You may notice a skunk odor in your dog’s fur for months after the event. If you used a commercial product from the veterinary clinic, the smell will likely be less evident.

Other than the lingering smell, your pet could have residual effects from the skunk spray such as eye issues, or nausea from a terrible taste in his mouth. Allow him rest, and give him more than one bath. It may help reduce the toxic effects he is feeling from the constant strong odor.

Rid your yard of any debris that may make a nice skunk den. Close up openings under your porch and other areas where a skunk may take up residence. Because these creatures are nocturnal, they should be away from their den at night, allowing you to repair the openings. Do not leave food or garbage lying around as this may attract the skunk to your home.

If you feel that your pet is not recovering from his skunk encounter, take him back to the veterinarian for further examination.

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Skunk Spray Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $350

Average Cost

$250

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Skunk Spray Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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American Eskimo Dog

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Heavy Breathing

I let my dog out one last time for the night and my dog was sprayed by a skunk directly in the face. I gave her a bath and immediately cleaned out her eyes with cold water. She was drooling during her bath. She is a lot better, but she is breathing very fast and seems uncomfortable.

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello I'm sorry that your pup was sprayed by a skunk. Good job for bathing her right away. If she is breathing fast and seems uncomfortable, I recommend that you take her to a veterinarian for an exam. They will want to look her over to make sure she isn't painful, etc. Good luck.

Aug. 2, 2020

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Treeing Walker Coonhound

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Bumps On Skin

My hound mix was sprayed by a skunk on 7/23. He was cleaned immediately, but his mouth smells like skunk. I used multiple products and after applying skunk off spray, he developed skin issues and has bumps all over his neck and head (where he was sprayed). They developed on 7/24. He is not vomiting, has no diarrhea that I have noticed, but seems miserable. My vet was contacted and provided a recipe to clean him and said not to worry about it. I am now worried about it.

July 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I'm sorry that happened to him, and I understand your worry. One thing that you can try before a Veterinary visit is to give him a dose of Benadryl. The safe dose of Benadryl for a dog is 1 mg per pound, so a 50 mg dog would get 50 mg of Benadryl. If it is a local reaction to the irritant of the spray, that may help. If it does not help, then it would be best to have him seen by your veterinarian, as he may need something stronger to help with this. I hope that everything goes well for him!

July 26, 2020

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BO

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wheaten terrier

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8 Years

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Critical severity

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4 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Fever

my dog was sprayed in the face by a skunk. We did all the treatments and bathing, even shaved his face ( this made a big difference getting rid of the smell ) one week later he began to urinate on the floor. I thought maybe he had a bladder infection but he was also very lethargic and gagging so we went to the vet. The vet said he has seen dogs die from severe skunk spray to the face. I had no idea this could happen. My dog needed antibiotics and iv fluids. He said the dog can go into respiratory, renal or liver failure .

Sept. 7, 2018

BO's Owner

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Charles

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Labradoodle

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

My dog was sprayed by a skunk about 5 days ago. Our roommate was walking him and claimed he had no clue that he was sprayed so didn’t inform us. I didn’t realize until the next day (14 hours later) and I sprung right into action using the hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap remedy and flushed his eyes with a dog eye wash which worked like a charm regarding the smell. I have done my best to rid the smell in the home as well but Charles hasn’t returned to his normal self. He hasn’t eaten his dog food since the event and has vomited twice. He’s normally a picky eater but it’s been several days and i can’t get him to eat his dog food for the life of me. I’ve been feeding him a unseasoned cooked ground turkey which is the only thing he hasn’t snubbed. I’m worried that because he had the spray on him so long that it caused a more serious issue. I don’t know if this is normal after being skunked but any insight would be appreciated.

Aug. 8, 2018

Charles' Owner


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3320 Recommendations

Since Charles was exposed to the skunk spray for a long period of time I would recommend visiting your Veterinarian since skunk spray may cause severe gastroenteritis, heinz body anaemia among other bad stuff; there is nothing productive I can recommend that you can do from home and should have Charles checked to be on the safe side due to the length of time between exposure and bathing. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/skunk-spray-toxicosis-odiferous-tale?id=&sk;=&date;=&pageID;=2

Aug. 9, 2018

Exactly what is Heinz body anemia?

Aug. 18, 2018

Gail F.

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Jax

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Rottweiler

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3 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Drooling

My dog went outside and got very close to a skunk. I know the skunk sprayed because i was able to smell it. But when I checked on my dog, he seemed fine. Nothing was on him and he didn’t smell at all. After about 20min, i noticed he was drooling a lot and panting. He also started rubbing his face. I cleaned his face off and cleaned out his mouth. This all happened at night, so he fell asleep after but I was able to see that he’s still drooling and breathing a little heavy. Any advice will be appreciated!

July 18, 2018

Jax's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

It sounds like Jax did come into contact with something irritating about that skunk if he was close to it and was irritated afterwards. If he continues to drool and breathe heavy for more than an hour or so, it might be a good idea to have him seen by a veterinarian to make sure that he is okay.

July 18, 2018

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Rah

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Golden Labrador

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10 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Enlarged Lymph Nodes

I have a yellow lab/golden retriever mix. He was sprayed by a skunk directly in the mouth. The next day, I noticed swelling in the throat. He was veterinary treated with antibiotic, but at the conclusion of treatment, the swelling came back. A second round of antibiotic did not take care of the swelling and he now has swelling in his back legs as well. He has been tested for lymphoma, but that has come back inconclusive twice. Can the inhalation of the skunk spray be the cause? The two veterinarians that have treated him do not feel the skunk incident is related to his issue.

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Berkley

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Golden Retriever

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9 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Stink
Fur Discolouration

Both my dogs got sprayed on our walk this morning. My Golden was rolling through the grass at every opportunity after that. His chest, ears and front paws are now a darker colour. Does anyone know if the skunk spray changes the dogs fur colour or is it just dirt from rolling in everything possible after the fact? The rest of him is normal colour and he wasn't just rolling his front end.

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Luna

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Labrador Retriever

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22 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Restless

My dog got sprayed in the mouth we bathed her several times and the smell is almost gone. She is just very restless she is eating, drinking and urinating normally. Is this typical after being sprayed?

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Bear

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Shar Pei

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5 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Out Of It

My dog got sprayed by a skunk 6 days ago only in the face so eyes and mouth. I instantly took him outside and cleaned him with the dawn dish soup, baking soda and peroxide. The smell was almost gone then I came home tonight to his whole neck super Swollen. He won’t do much but lay there and not interested in anything going on.

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Tina

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Chihuahua

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5 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Sneezing

My dog Tina (size of chihuahua) got sprayed on head by a skunk yesterday night. I washed her immediately with Downy dish soap , then rubbed her with argan oil (it worked perfectly before and this time too). She vomited today a few times and sneezes a lot uncontrollably. Also I found a "piece of yellowish mucus on her face and on the floor after sneezing. I'm pretty sure it's skunk related, but is there any idea what was that mucus and how dangerous it is? Her eyes look healthy and her mouth is pink inside.

Skunk Spray Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $350

Average Cost

$250

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