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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.

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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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toy austrailian shepherd

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

For about a week now our Parker has had crusty raw matted eyes and around his mouth is pinkish/red and raw which looks like a burn. His breath is awful. He is really lethargic and kinda hides away most of the time. We have no idea what is going on. He likes to dig in the yard and he has found animal bones he was chewing on. It almost looks to me like he was pepper sprayed. Any ideas?

Dec. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. From your description, it seems that Pepper may have a really bad infection, and does need to be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Whether it was caused by digging or something he chewed on or some other problem with his mouth, he needs treatment. I hope that he is okay.

Dec. 26, 2020

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Rottweiler

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

A skunk sprayed in my dogs mouth , is skunk spray toxic to dogs and is there anything I can give her orally to help or sooth her and stop foaming at the mouth

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. . Skunk spray is not toxic, but does taste bad. Washing her mouth out with plain water will help. If you are concerned, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any treatment that they might need.

Oct. 13, 2020

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German Shepherd

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Decreased Appetite Not Being Active

I’m not sure what’s going on with my dog. As of yesterday she’s been very inactive and barely wants to eat which is very unusual for her. She also started to get really yellow eye discharge a few days ago not sure if that’s related. Other than that she has been drinking water and had to feed her bland chicken and rice for dinner last night

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. . If she is still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for her. I hope that she is feeling better.

Oct. 17, 2020

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Rottweiler Lab cross

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Almost 3

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Skunk Spray

Raw sores in the corners of her lips near

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in my reply, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. That area looks very sore, and possibly infected. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 19, 2020

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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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1 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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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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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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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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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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