Handling Skunk Encounters: Tips for Dealing with Unpleasant Situations

Close encounters and Smelly Situations: Skunk Alert! 

Here in the golden autumn paradise of the Pacific Northwest, home of the Habibi Bear dog, the Original Teddy Bear puppy, the trees are turning and fall is all around us. Chilly mornings and sunny shorter days can also mean a sharp uptick in the possibility of wildlife encounters when walking pups outside. Coyotes are after deer who are very mobile and active in October. Skunks are out trying to eat enough grubs before they go into torpor, which is similar but not the same as hibernation, and the same goes for raccoons to a certain extent. In today’s post, we will be focusing on the less lethal and more annoying of the encounters: the humble striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis). 

In the fall at dusk, your chances of having a close encounter of the unwanted kind are pretty high as the little odiferous mammals wander from yard to yard trying to secure enough food to increase their fat stores before cozily settling down for the winter months. Although sometimes you can smell them before you can see them, it is not always the case. It is important to be fully present with your Habibi Bear puppy while walking outside to avoid running into a skunk or two, something that can be made more difficult due to their coat coloration and camouflage. 

Sometimes, your puppy might be whining and anxious to get outside in a hurry, and I strongly suggest (from experience) that if your pup is highly agitated (panting, whining, straining to get outside) that you open the door a tiny crack and give the air a sniff…before letting your furry puppy warrior outside to tackle wild intruders in your yard. Like they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a gallon of cure in this case! Believe me, there is nothing like thinking that you are letting your puppy outside for a poddy break in the dark only to be struck with the noxious odor of skunk spray in the middle of the chilling autumn night. Unfortunately for dogs and people, skunks can hit a target from as far as 20 feet away! 
If you have already had the unique pleasure of a skunk encounter with your Habibi guy or gal, congratulations for surviving one of the most taxing experiences of your life, trying to successfully remove the oily spray from your Habibi Bear puppy’s furry coat. 

Here is a tried and true recipe for breaking down the oily spray:

1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
1 teaspoon of Dawn liquid detergent (recommended for unique surfactant properties) 
¼ cup of baking soda

Mix all ingredients well and after rinsing your pup with water, wet with this solution, taking precautions to avoid puppy’s eyes and mouth. Lather well and let sit for 10-15 minutes, allowing the peroxide and baking soda to neutralize the oils, and the Dawn to break down the oil molecules to be washed away. Rinse thoroughly at least twice. In some cases, it may be necessary to bathe your pup every day with this solution, because unfortunately, this is not a one and done experience. It is really handy to have these supplies on hand just in case of a midnight “rendezvous”. If puppy got sprayed in the eyes, a plain saline eye wash will be necessary to remove the oily spray. Check for signs of excess salivation, and if so, contact your vet for medical advice. 

Have you had an unfortunate encounter of the smelly kind with your Habibi Bear puppy? How did you two fare? Drop us a line or comment below and share your story! We love to hear from our Habibi Bear Tribe and you know we are always here for you, cheering you on!