Pet Place: What to do when your pet tangles with a skunk
Mar 29, 2013 (The Akron Beacon Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Our dogs work as hunting partners. On daily walks, the female flushes out the prey, be it a vole, chipmunk or squirrel, and the male impatiently waits to make the kill.
Although only sometimes successful, it's what Jack Russell terriers do.
Keep in mind, our dogs do not run loose. All this hunting goes on at the end of a leash. Most of the time their reactions are so quick, it's hard to stop them. Their breed was created to rid the world of vermin and they take the job very seriously. Who am I to mess with Mother Nature
For the most part, this routine, which is the highlight of their walks, is commonplace and doesn't bother anything, with the exception of the intended prey.
That is, unless the prey is a skunk, then it's every man for himself.
Last spring, just as neighborhood skunks were leaving winter dens in search of food, Bosco was the first to pick up the scent of one and charged. Even after getting sprayed, the dog refused to back down until my husband separated skunk and dog and reeled Bosco in.
Gabby, who apparently has more sense, went as far away from the fracas as her leash would allow and sat watching.
Since we've had several of these run-ins, we generally keep a de-skunking product on the shelf. Unfortunately, not this time, but I still had a few tricks up my sleeve.
Forget tomato juice. It does not work and will turn your dog's white fur a pretty shade of pink.
Now, the trick with skunk spray is to realize a couple of things right off the bat.
First, the spray is an oil that will spread over an animal's coat -- especially if you put it into a tub of water and start spreading it around by shampooing the animal.
Second, time is of the essence. The longer it stays on your dog or cat, the longer the smell will last, no matter what you do.
Third, if the animal was sprayed in the eyes, call your vet immediately. The eyes will be red, watery and very painful.
Although Bosco's face didn't take a direct hit, I rinsed his eyes with a sterile saline eye wash I had in the cupboard, just in case.
I then used this homemade remedy, formulated by Illinois chemist Paul Krebaum, for his coat:
1 quart hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon liquid dish soap.
The solution must be mixed in an open, wide-mouth container, such as a bucket, because it will fizz and could cause a closed container to burst. The mixture is best used when freshly made or it will lose its effectiveness. It neutralizes the skunk spray by changing the chemical structure of its components.
Wet your pet's coat with warm water and thoroughly massage the formula into the coat. Be very careful not to get any into your pet's eyes, nose or mouth. You can use a wash cloth to carefully wipe it onto its face. Leave on for five minutes then rinse well. Repeat if necessary.
I followed this regimen two, then three times but could still smell the awful skunk spray. The poor dog and I were both getting weary of the process before I realized that the dog wasn't the only one who smelled bad.
The formula works on men, too.
For more information on ridding your pet, home or even yourself of skunk spray, visit: www.njspca.org/articles/NJSPCA_articles_how-remove-skunk-odor.htm.
Other animals in the news
Zoo events -- The Cleveland Zoo is throwing a Party for the Planet to celebrate Earth Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 21. Guests will receive $2 off the regular admission price.
The event will feature environmental education and family fun while celebrating the zoo's sustainability initiatives, bio-diversity and conservation efforts for wildlife and wild places.
An Educator's Open House will be held during the event, offering teachers information about programs offered by the Conservation Education Division. Registration is required and can be done at www.clemetzoo.com or by calling 216-635-3391.
The zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland.
Blessing of the Sheep -- Noon to 2 p.m. April 20 with bagpipes and herding demonstrations at the Spicy Lamb Farm, 6560 Akron Peninsula Road (off Boston Mills Road), Peninsula. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Contact Laura DeYoung at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thespicylamb.com.
Northeast Ohio Pet Expo Show & Sale -- 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 6-7, Eastwood Expo Center, Niles. Trainers, retailers, groomers, pet food manufacturers, pet resorts and lodges, pet service specialists, pet apparel, pet photographers, animal charities. Pet fashion show is 1 p.m. April 7. "Look like your pet" contest 2 p.m. April 6.
Admission is $5 for adults; children under 12 and pets are free. Pets are encouraged to attend as long as they are pet-friendly and owners are responsible for them at all times. For more information call 330-518-7794.
Kathy Antoniotti writes about pets for the Akron Beacon Journal. She is unable to help locate, place or provide medical attention for an individual animal. If you have an idea or question about pets, write her at the Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640; call 330-996-3565; or email to email@example.com.
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