Is Skunk Spray Harmful To Dogs?

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In addition to the obvious awful smell, pet owners sometimes wonder if skunk spray is otherwise harmful to their dog. This is a page about "Is skunk spray harmful to dogs?".
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September 19, 2006

Is being spayed by a skunk harmful to dogs? Two of my dogs was sprayed but I think one was sprayed in the mouth she was drooling really bad and foaming when it happened?

Stacey from Taylor. MI

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September 21, 20062 found this helpful
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The safest thing is to call the local vet. They will tell you for certain, even if you aren't a client. However, I'm quite certain the answer is 'no'. They can cause temporary blindness, but flushing with water will help that. The whole defense of it is the odor. If it were needed to be poisonous, I'm betting God wouldn't have made it stink so bad. :) Remember that skunks are carnivors, so if they aren't living under your porch or something like that - they're keeping the mice population down. Mice come in for the winter, skunks don't.

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By tone (Guest Post)
September 21, 20061 found this helpful
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If your dog gets sprayed. Immediately wash his body down with water and vinegar (mild) and or tomato juice and even peroxide or even soap and water. Keep it away from the face though. Just flush and flush that face with water. I got sprayed by a skunk as a child and it is painful.

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To the person that suggested shooting the skunks I personally think you are twisted. I don't care how much of a nuisance something may seem, we just do not kill it. Skunks are very beneficial to our environment. Just leave them be and they will leave you be,

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By Matt (Guest Post)
October 6, 20072 found this helpful
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My dog got sprayed by a skunk tonight. I took the persons advice above and called the 24hr vet. The nearest one is about 40 miles from me. The vet said no, it is not harmful, but very very uncomfortable. She said to flush the dogs eyes, and wash him with soap or shampoo. To flush the eyes, the vet suggested just to put the dog in the shower, and hold his eyes open with your fingers. Even if the dog doesnt like it, she said you need to overpower the dog and make it stand there for a good couple of minutes. This will relieve some of the pain from being sprayed. Hope this may help someone.

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September 23, 20090 found this helpful
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Skunk spray can be harmful to dogs. If the dog is sprayed in the mouth or eyes.

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Contact a vet immediately when this happens. If left untreated a dog can even develop anemia or kidney problems.

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September 18, 2019

My dog was sprayed by a skunk for the 2nd time in two months and so I am worried about him this time. Could it harm him at all considering it happened before so close together? I am really worried about him. Is there anything I should watch for after bathing him?

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September 18, 20190 found this helpful

Poor pup!! Just want for sinus issues--like runny nose, eyes, and heavy drooling. Most dogs are fine (angry and smelly) but have no long lasting effects from skunk sprays.

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Maybe going forward it is best to just keep the dog on a leash and away from the skunk zone until they are gone for the winter.

Prayers for the pup!! So sorry you both are going through this. It seems this year skunks are far more aggressive than in past years. Not sure what is up with that! It is a bit scary. You are the second person this week who said their pup had 2 sprays in a short time.

Our friend is now keeping their guy in the house and only taking him for controlled walks because the skunks around them are so aggressive. OY!!

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September 18, 20190 found this helpful

If the spray hits him directly in the face he can get ulcer's in the mouth or eyes , and tearing of the eyes,and runny nose.It is not permanent.

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September 18, 20190 found this helpful

There is no permanent damage. It is just a nuisance because of the smell.

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September 18, 20190 found this helpful

Yes, watch him! You could call your Vet for assurance!

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September 19, 20190 found this helpful

What an unpleasant experience for you and your dog - and - 2 times so close together.

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If your dog was sprayed in the face you might want to keep close watch to see if it seems to bother his eyes or continues to have a runny nose.

I'm sure you already have a good bathing solution recipe handy but I did read some interesting stuff about skunk spray that I had not heard before. Notes from one vet site:

"Additionally, a second group of chemicals in the skunk spray remain on the hair coat and become activated (and smelly) when they are exposed to water in the future. This explains why pet owners frequently complain about the skunk smell coming back when the pet gets wet long after the first encounter."

"Saline eye drops can be used immediately after exposure to start the decontamination."

Since you are concerned about his health after a second exposure this seems to address that:

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A trip to your veterinarian will be necessary if there is a spray in the face, a heavy exposure, or if your pet has red eyes, lethargy, vomiting, or shows any signs of illness after the exposure.

valleycottageanimalhospital.com/.../

Here are a couple of links that have instructions for bathing solutions:

www.humanesociety.org/.../de-skunking-your-dog

scienceline.org/.../

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September 23, 20190 found this helpful

Most dogs are fine but considering your dog is a puppy I would keep an eye on his eyes and make sure they are not red and runny with some gunk coming out of them. If you see this you should take him to the vet for eye drops or you can wash his eyes out with a saline solution.

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September 7, 2016

My Jack Russell mix was sprayed by a skunk last Friday. We cleaned his face and washed him up right away. But two days later he started coughing and throwing up. We brought him to an emergency vet visit and they told us that he has kennel cough. Last night as he is laying in bed with me coughing I was trying to comfort him and I smelt a strong oder of skunk only while he was coughing. He has done this a few different times today as well. He really hasn't been eating, drinking a little bit, and not quite himself. I am really starting to worry, but don't know what to do. His gums as still nice and pink and he is going to the bathroom regularly. I need help.

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September 9, 20161 found this helpful

You are thinking he may have aspirated skunk spray and it is in his lungs. It's likely he actually aspirated his own vomit. This could lead to something worse if not treated, such as pneumonia. Either way, he should still be treated because both conditions lead to fluid buildup in the lungs.

Was your dog boarded recently? Does he spend a lot of time with other dogs, like the dog park? If the answer is no, it is unlikely, though still possible, that he has contracted kennel cough. When a dog is coughing but there is no other obvious reason, vets just assume it's kennel cough.

Whether he has aspirated skunk spray, his own vomit, or has kennel cough, the ultimate outcome is fluid buildup in the lungs and it can become infected. If your dog's cough is productive, he might get rid of this fluid on his own. That may be what the "vomit" you are seeing really is. If he keeps coughing, becomes lethargic, stops eating, runs a temperature, etc. he has developed an infection and needs antibiotics right away. So all i can tell you is definitely keep an eye on it.

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