Monday, October 09, 2006

Coping With Mr. Stinky

A Close Call For The Great Skunk Hunter

The other night I let Nova out the front door, usually she goes quietly down the steps for a little exercise. Instead, she charged into the dark barking like a coon hound on the trail. Nova, dear reader, is a 5lb Pomeranian. She weighs less than our cat, however, she is under the illusion she is a Great Dane. Suddenly, I am aware of a smell, it is not fall leaves, or apples it is SKUNK. I start calling Nova, but kind of under my breath because I don’t want to upset our guest. She stops and looks at me right at the edge of the steps. After a few more whispered commands, “NOVA, you come here RIGHT NOW!!” She finally turns and gets close enough for me to scoop her up and close the door. A close encounter of the stinky kind! Now, any time after early evening she only goes out in the fenced yard.

It is fall in northeast Ohio, and that means a very active skunk population. In our area the striped skunk is common and beneficial to gardeners because they eat insects, moles and other garden pests. Skunks and dogs, however, are natural enemies. Because skunks hibernate they must double their weight for the winter. They are also nocturnal and most active in cool weather. Fall evenings and nights are the perfect and most likely time for a skunk vs. canine encounter.

While some dogs will continue to pursue and kill a skunk even after they are sprayed, most obey common sense and back down. Perhaps they know that the skunk can have up to 5 more sprays in the chamber and so make a quick if none too graceful exit. To prevent your dog from meeting up with Mr. Stinky you can take precautions. Walk your dog on a leash in the evening and anytime you think there is a chance of encountering a skunk. Skunks will give a warning of stamping their feet, and then raising their tail. However, they have poor eye sight; you can stand still and let Mr. Stinky wander off on his business.

If the worst should happen and your dog is unfortunate enough to be sprayed by a skunk here are some tips for getting rid of the smell. Combine 4 cups of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide with 4 tablespoons of baking soda and ¼ cup of Dawn dishwashing soap. Protect your dog’s eyes from the solution by putting some Vaseline above the eye on the brow. Put cotton in your dog’s ears. Rub the solution in starting with the head being careful not to get solution in the eyes, mouth or ears. Rinse off. Shampoo your dog again with ¼ cup Dawn and ¼ cup of Dog shampoo. Rinse off.

Check your dog to make sure he has not been bitten. Skunks can carry rabies and if your dog has been bitten contact your veterinarian.

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1 comment:

Jenn said...

Nova is a beauuutiful girl!