Skunks are often cute and harmless animals from afar but once they spray, that is never the case; skunks are not the greatest choice of company to have wandering outside of your home and can easily become a nuisance to you, your family, pets and property.
Skunks are notorious for their rancid skunk smell. As a means of survival, animals develop defense mechanisms that help them survive in the wild and fend off predators. These methods include camouflaging, poison and the emission of foul odors -including skunk spray.
Skunk odor is a common problem that can be detected far from the targeted area due to its very distinguishable and foul smell. Skunk spray is a blend of sulphurous oils that are released when a skunk feels threatened, in order to fend away any predators. Skunks often spray this as their last defensive resort, because their bodies produce and withhold a limited amount of the skunk oil.
Skunk spray contains the compound known as thiol which is also present in rotting flesh and feces, giving it its strong and putrid scent. The odor is bad enough on its own but can only get worse once combined and reacted with water. This chemical reaction makes all attempts to wash the odor away backfire on a skunk’s threat. It also contains the compound thioacetate, which makes the smell last longer and harder to get rid off.
Skunk Spray and Domestic Pets
In addition to wild animals being sprayed, it is also quite common for skunks to spray domestic house pets as well, so it is important to take precautions for the safety of your pet. If your pet comes home with their fur smelling like skunk, there are a number of odor eliminating methods that you can try at home.
- Option 1: It can be difficult to remove the pungent skunk odor from thick dog coats but Paul Krebaum’s “baking soda and peroxide” formula can get the job done.
Mix the following ingredients in a bucket:
- 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
- 1/4 cup of baking soda
- 1 to 2 teaspoons liquid soap (not detergent)
Wash your pet thoroughly and massage the solution into the fur, letting the solution set for roughly 5 minutes or until the odor is gone. Repeat if necessary. Allowing it to set in the fur gives way for the chemical reactions between the solution and skunk oil compounds to take place; the oxygen molecules from the soapy solution bond to the odor-causing thiols, resulting in a neutralization reaction and the skunk odor finally eliminated!
It is recommended to wash your pet outdoors as soon as the solution is mixed. Moreover, the solution can bring a stinging sensation to the eyes and open cuts, so it is important to be mindful while washing your pet near the eye area and to do so while wearing gloves. Note: for bigger pets, add lukewarm water as needed to obtain full coverage.
- Option 2: There are numerous skunk odor removal products that you can purchase over the counter. Skunk shampoos, deodorants and sprays can be used to rid your pet of the skunk stench and will provide the odor control your pet needs.
Skunks And Pet Health Risks
Skunk smell is horrid and the pungent spray is not only harmful on the nose – it also poses multiple health risks. When a skunk sprays relatively close to an animal’s face, it can bring serious discomfort and in many cases, temporary blindness. If your pet has been sprayed in the face, make sure to flush the eyes and mouth with water immediately. Skunk spray can also cause animals to vomit, squint, drool, sneeze and have seizures.
The thiol component in skunk oil leads to the destruction of red blood cells, resulting in anemia. As a consequence of skunk spray, there have been a few cases of anemia among house pets. A dog was reportedly able to recover through a mild case of anemia. Another dog suffered from a severe case of anemia, and passed away after undergoing a seizure.
If your pet has been a victim of skunk spray, take the extra step forward and inspect the animal’s skin for any possible bite marks, seeing as skunks are one of the most common carriers of rabies. If your pet has been sprayed, the encounter with a rabid skunk is very unlikely. Although healthy skunks are most likely to spray other animals while rabies carrying skunks are more likely to exhibit extremely aggressive or fearless behaviour, it doesn’t hurt to check your pet for any bite marks.
Skunks and Rabies
Rabies is a viral disease among mammals that not only poses a threat to animals but to humans as well. It is transmitted through the spread of saliva, from bites or exposure to open wounds, and affects the central nervous system.
Some rabies symptoms include behavioural changes, loss of appetite, excessive drooling and becoming partially or completely paralyzed. Rabies is quite often fatal at the appearance of clinical signs; the infected can die within 7-10 days after showing symptoms.
In order to reduce the risk of obtaining rabies, have your pet under supervision while wandering outside; do not leave them unattended. Also, common rabies carriers (skunks, raccoons and foxes) are most active at night so try to let your pets out during the day as much as possible.
Skunks And Property Damage
From their rancid skunk spray to the possible transmissions of rabies, it is clear to see how skunks can pose a threat to you, your family and pets, but these creatures can be problematic towards your property as well. Skunks have a nasty habit of destroying home gardens by eating their way through fresh fruits and vegetables. They sometimes like to scavenge through human trash as well.
Another issue that skunks bring forward to homeowners is physical lawn destruction. Skunks like to dig 3-4 inch deep holes in the ground while on the search for small insects to eat. They also like to dig burrows under buildings and porches.
How To Avoid Skunks
Despite the many problems that skunks may cause, there are a number of ways to avoid these nuisances and to keep these creatures away from you, your home, your family and your pets.
Skunks are most active at night so to avoid them from sneaking around your property in the dark, consider installing lights in your yard and keep existing lights on to ward these rodents away. Investing in lawn motion detector sprinklers is also an open option to ward off unwanted pests.
Skunks are problematic because of their dietary habits. They dig holes in the ground and eat homegrown gardens, so installing fences and securing trash bins shut can discourage skunks from wandering onto your property!
If you notice signs of wildlife in your house give us a call. At SOS Wildlife Control Inc., we provide wildlife control services for residential, commercial, and industrial clients, guaranteeing effective results every single time. Let us help you solve your wildlife problems. Taking action before it’s too late will help eliminate animal damage repair costs. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year for emergency services, and can easily be reached at 1-800-981-0330. Don’t wait, call us to schedule an appointment for a thorough inspection, removal and prevention to help evacuate all your unwanted wildlife guests in the most humane way possible.
Call SOS Wildlife 1.800.981.0330