Our Dogs and their Black and White Enemy

Our Dogs and their Black and White Enemy

This is such a lovely time of year. We have been enjoying the beautiful colors and warm temperatures which have been perfect for evening walks with our four legged family members. The sun is setting earlier these days which means our walks are a little darker and unfortunately, at times, stinkier. Let’s be honest, we all know that smell, especially this time of year. It sometimes lingers in the air when we leave our homes first thing in the morning, or as we swerve around the pungent and somewhat flattened  little bodies on the road. We usually don’t give it much thought other than knowing that unmistakable odor.

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Now as kids, we loved Pepe le Pew. He was cute, funny, and who could resist his charming French accent? I’m sure we wouldn’t feel the same way if we could have actually smelled him through our T.V. sets, while watching Saturday morning cartoons. If you own a dog, there’s a good chance that you have had a one-on-one encounter with the dreaded black and white.  If you haven’t, consider yourself extremely lucky.

May was one of those lucky pet owners. Her doodle Molly would go out at night, do her business as close to the house as possible, and come right back inside. During her twelve years in this world, not one encounter with this smelly creature. Sawyer, well he hasn’t been so lucky. Three weeks ago he had another direct hit, his third in three years. What is it about dogs and skunks? And why is it always right in the face? And since we’re talking about them, what purpose do skunks serve other than stinking things up?  Our backyard is Sawyer’s domain. He loves to spend warm afternoons and evenings outside watching over his kingdom, or lurking in the bushes waiting…..

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Sawyer says, “Those skunks better stay out of this yard. I’m on duty here.”

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Do you see him?

You would think that after his first rumble, he would have learned his lesson. Unfortunately, no. So, as his loving owners who do not want to give him another skunk bath, and continue to smell the invisible beast clinging to him, us, and our house for months, we have taken matters into our own hands. First of all, this is a great product to have around in case you or your pet get skunked.

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You can order it on Amazon or pick it up at your local pet store. It works well for that initial punch before getting your dog to the groomer for a skunk bath. Now, for the next few weeks, until our black and white enemy goes into hibernation, we are going on patrol before letting Sawyer out before bed. We take a high powered flashlight to the yard, sweeping every nook and cranny and clap loudly to scare off potential intruders. Then Sawyer comes out under our watchful eye and high beam, he takes his final potty break for the evening, and in he goes.  Does he like this? Absolutely not, but it’s peace of mind for us, and really that’s all that matters.

Fortunately for June, her Gatsby is a bit of chicken, but he too has had a couple of encounters with the skunk.  As a puppy he got an indirect hit (probably because he ran as fast as he could away from it) and then a couple of years ago a glancing blow on the side of the face and neck.  Of course we did not realize this until he came flying in the house, terrified.  Skunk smell on the side of the road while pungent is fleeting.  When the smell is in the house and on your dog, it is so much stronger, almost a burnt smell, along with the skunk stink.

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I’m scared of skunks (and the dark and Buffalo Bills football games)!

So out to the back patio we went for a little bath with the hose and a flashlight.  But first a quick Google search on how to remove skunk smell, from your dog.  We now keep the ingredients for this remedy in the house in case of an emergency.

1 quart hydrogen peroxide

1/4 cup baking soda

1 teaspoon Dawn dish detergent

Some tips too.  Keep this mixture out of your dog’s eyes, nose and mouth.  Only wash the affected area of your dog.  Skunk spray is oily (hence the Dawn dish detergent) and if you shampoo your whole dog it may just spread the skunk oil over his entire body.  Our groomer actually told us to apply the above like a paste to the affected area before wetting him down.  And because Gatsby is a golden retriever and a double-coated dog, the stink is even harder to remove so a few baths (and time) are recommended.

June and her husband also have taken measures to avoid the skunks, if at all possible.  Because our walks are often now when it is dark outside, we have really loud conversations (sorry neighbors if you get to hear our discussions about work, politics, or family dynamics), we walk in the middle of the street (of course keeping a close eye for cars), and we scan the surrounding yards and bushes.  We often see skunks in the yards on our walks but if they hear us they usually run the other way, but we also wear athletic shoes in case we have to make a run for it!  Gatsby also wears a light on his collar, which is in part to give us light to see, and also because he is afraid to walk in the dark (I told you he was a big chicken).

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Guarding the yard for skunks?

If you have skunks in your yard, make sure you do not have grubs in your grass.  Grubs are the skunks favorite meal.  Also, you can buy fox urine granules that you sprinkle around areas of the yard where skunks like to hang out.  We have an overgrown weed garden in the back near our shed which seems to be a favorite skunk pathway, so we apply the granules there and have actually seen them turn and walk the other way.  You can buy them at a hardware store like Ace.  Finally, because we seem to think animals can understand English, June often yells outside “Any skunks out there?” and when there is no answer figures it is safe (hee hee).  And June’s husband, frequently reminds Gatsby that skunks are are not his friends.

Hope these tips help if your four-legged family member has a run-in with a skunk.  While they sure look pretty their scent is only one that a mother can love.  Have a good weekend –May and June

“What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.”
Author: Abraham Lincoln

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