Pet Sprayed By a Skunk? Here’s What to Do

Pet Sprayed By a Skunk? Here’s What to Do

Skunks like to hang out near forested and grassy areas, so there’s a chance your pet may encounter one if they spend enough time outdoors. Here, a Woodland Park veterinarian offers a step-by-step process for pet owners to reference if their pet comes back smelling like skunk.

Check the Face

Before doing anything, look at your cat or dog’s face. Can you detect any of the skunk’s spray in the eyes, ears, nose, or mouth of your pet? Since skunks’ spray contains chemicals that can easily irritate these sensitive areas, your pet might need a veterinarian’s attention. Also pay attention to your pet’s body language—if they seem to be in pain or discomfort, or keep pawing at the face, gently rinse the affected areas with cool water and take your pet to the vet’s office.

Check the Body

Now look over your pet’s body. A skunk’s spray isn’t his only weapon—they also have sharp claws and teeth that could harm your pet. If your unsuspecting cat or dog has gotten too close to the wild skunk, he could be physically injured. Look for scratches, cuts, bite marks, or open wounds of any kind. These may need to be treated by a veterinary professional to prevent infection, so call right away.

Rinse and Wash

If your pet doesn’t seem to be hit in the face and doesn’t have any injuries, you can set about washing the smell out. You’ll need a shampoo that is specially formulated for cats or dogs; don’t use human shampoo, as it is too sensitive for pets’ skin and may dry it out.

Fill up the tub or sink with a few inches of warm water. Put your pet in it—you may need to use treats to entice them in—and gently pour some water over your pet’s body to get them wet. Now, put a small dab of the shampoo on your hand and begin massaging it into your pet’s coat, starting from the neck and working your way down. Once your pet is completely shampooed, rinse them off thoroughly and dry them with a towel.

Consult your Woodland Park veterinarian for more advice about cleaning out skunk spray, and have their phone number on hand in case of emergencies.

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