It is easy to identify skunks around your home. They look cute but they have a nasty spray. Many people worry when they find a skunk on their property or when their pets get sprayed by a skunk. Most of the time, the skunk will not attack pets, but when they feel threatened by them, then they will spray. A sprayed pet will not have any problem other than it will smell for many days. When the pets have been sprayed, they may act as if they have been blinded and their tear production will increase while the color of their eyes will turn red. In this case, use a saline solution to rinse the eyes of the pets. The next thing to do is try to reduce the smell of the skunk spray. If there is a chance that the skunk has also bitten the pet, you have to ensure that the pet gets the rabies booster vaccine. Rabies cannot be spread by the spray, but it can be transmitted through blood or saliva. The daytime vet is capable of boosting the rabies vaccine of the pet if you are concerned, but this will not be an emergency.
Skunks are more active during the night. They may be attracted to your home because of a pet food bowl, compost piles and open garbage containers. It is good to get rid of these attractions or to cover or protect them when possible. Use a leash when you let the pet outside if you suspect that there is a skunk on the property. The skunk will give a warning before they spray and small skunks are also able to spray.
Sometimes an attacked pet may suffer skunk toxic shock syndrome on rare occasions. This is when the spray contains a compound that may destroy the healthy red blood cells of the pet. The animal will experience weakness and pale gums, which will progress to anemia, seizures, diarrhea and vomiting. When the pet develops these symptoms after being sprayed, it has to be examined by a regular veterinarian.
Even though the instances of a skunk having rabies are low, you have to be careful when dealing with a skunk or your pet if it has been attacked. Normally, skunks are shy and they will not attack, but when they are attacked, they may defend themselves. When attacked, the first level of defense is spraying. If your pet has been sprayed, then you should not panic. Use soap and warm water to rinse it or use lemon and tomato juices.
We are the Pest Education Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on wildlife and pest removal education. Our approach utilizes Integrated Pest Management, a strategy advocating prevention and humane methods.