As I am trying to put the finishing touches on the website my husband runs in with our dog Winston saying he got sprayed by a skunk. At the time we were living in an apartment with no access to a hose or a place to isolate him. Immediately I start searching for answers by googling “sprayed by skunk.” Most articles discussed homemade bath recipes but we were most concerned about any injuries or first aid we needed to administer.
Dave thought he took it mainly in the face-not good but he wasn’t bitten or visibly injured. The only concern were his eyes. He was rubbing them and they were red and teary. We called our sister in law, who is a vet, to help us determine if we needed medical attention. She seemed to think it was okay to watch him and so we shifted gears to focus on the smell. Several articles conferred that tomato juice is not the way to go and the newest homemade concoction includes-baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and dishwashing detergent.
Here are the ingredients, keep them on hand
-1 quart hydrogen peroxide
-¼ cup of baking soda
-1 tsp of dishwashing detergent preferably Dawn (any will do)
***if you have a large dog you may need to double, triple the recipe
My sister in law sent a link to the very same concoction from Dr. Karen Becker. Read the article for helpful detailed directions on how to administer the bath.
I sprinted off to the nearest pharmacy to buy the critical ingredients, some gloves, and dog shampoo for after. I wished I had received my sister in law’s email first so that I could have bought enough ingredients for 2-3 treatments instead of just one. I got back, quickly made the recipe in a old juice container and Dave headed off to the self cleaning car station (only outside water source) at the apt. complex by himself because one of us had to stay with the kids. Once he left I was able to read the full article outlining the steps to treating your dog (NO WATER first). I quickly called Dave trying to stop him from putting water on the dog but I was too late.
Directions were to apply the solution directly on your dog and lather it in then let it sit until the smell subsides 5-10 minutes. Wash and repeat as necessary. ***But be very careful with the face, especially the eyes because the solution has hydrogen peroxide and could burn the eyes. Dave had enough for only one treatment, washed poor Winston off with practically a power washer and came back. He hadn’t done his face yet (bad idea with power washer) and that was the part that smelled the worst. I located a small amount of hydrogen peroxide I had, mixed up a smaller batch in a juice box, got some towels and a sponge so we could gently apply the solution on his face, around his eyes.
We snuck Winston into the bathroom, passed a sleeping child, and washed his face and gave him a warm rinse before drying him off. All his hair in the bath stopped up the drain-oh well. He was trying to rub his eyes on me a lot. As soon as we toweled him off we put him on the little porch to dry off. He proceeded to throw up a significant amount. Thank goodness he was on the porch. It literally smelled like he had eaten the skunk. I was worried that he might be really sick and that maybe we should take him into the vet. Back to the search engines.
On all accounts nausea and throwing up seemed common after a skunk spray but the main concern were the eyes. According to a client sheet by Cheryl Yuill, DVM, MSc, CVH, if sprayed in the eyes there’s concern because “it can damage the delicate cornea of the eye and cause temporary blindness.” I called back our sister in law to see if we should go the emergency vet clinic. She thought not but said she would not be the one to tell us not to go. I called the local emergency pet clinic, Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners, to inquire about wait and cost. They were extremely cordial and said no one was waiting and it was $85 which to me seemed pretty reasonable for an after hours emergency clinic. I told the receptionist what happened and said we were concerned about the eyes and that he had thrown up. She checked with a tech and confirmed everything we had already done-bath ingredients-careful with eyes, vomiting normal and said to flush the eyes with water if possible.
While I was writing the article, Dave was off on another pharmacy run of which he has been to three because most close at 10p.m. to get saline solution and gentil, an eye lubricant to help Winston’s eye discomfort. While it was challenging couple of hours (fun Friday night) and a comedy of errors, at least the kids were asleep and we were able to give Winston our full attention. All in all, it’s good to know what to do when you are sprayed by a skunk, however unlikely.
(Originally written August 2012)