If you have ever been sprayed by a skunk, you know what the odor smells like. It’s pungent, repugnant, and difficult to wash off. However, dog owners need to be aware that for our canine friends, getting sprayed by a skunk is not only smelly but dangerous.
Spray Can Be Fatal
New research shows that skunk spray contains a toxic element similar to garlic and onions that can cause fatal damage to dogs. In these cases the dogs have a reaction to the skunk spray itself and may develop vomiting or diarrhea. If the condition is not addressed quickly by a veterinarian, death can result. Unfortunately, a curative treatment is not yet available but fluids can help the animal recover.
Although rare, skunk spray can give dogs a form of anemia known as Heinz-body anemia. If this occurs and the anemia is not treated quickly, then the illness can also lead to death. This issue is similar to the reaction in dogs who’ve eaten garlic or onions (poisonous to our furry friends). There is a treatment available for skunk spray-related anemia but many pet owners don’t seek it because they’re unaware of the symptoms. They include:
- Discoloration of the skin
- Sudden onset of weakness
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Pale mucous membrane (e.g. lips, mouth, gums)
- Reddish brown urine
When dogs are sprayed by skunks, they are also often bitten. If you smell skunk spray on your dog, be sure to look for bites. Even small bites can lead to infection and possibly Rabies. It is always best to take your dog in for treatment before an infection develops. It is also important to make sure that your dog has been vaccinated against Rabies to offer protection from animals who carry the virus, including skunks.
Prevention Is the Best Medicine
The best medicine is prevention. To prevent your dog from the potential dangerous effects of skunk spray, ensure your dog has been fully vaccinated. If you live in a wooded area where skunks tend to live, install a fence that can keep your dog in your backyard and not romping through the woods where he could encounter a skunk. The next preventative step involves hiring a company with skunk removal services to remove any skunks that frequently come on to your property or who have acted viciously toward your dog in the past.
For more information about the dangers of skunk spray and what to do in case of an incident, please contact Liddle Rascals at 416-356-5886. We have been safely and expertly removing wildlife for 15 years. Liddle Rascals can help you relocate a backyard skunk to a new home where he cannot disturb your pets.