The Bottom Line

Skunks spray come repel potential predators with a foul-smelling, oily secretion stored in their perianal glands. For humans, it normally does not an outcome in much more than momentary irritation. In dogs, in addition to wake up it have the right to rarely cause a more serious condition in which the red blood cells room destroyed. Leaving skunks (as well as all wildlife) alone and making your home less attractive and also inaccessible come them room the secrets to prevention.


The full Story

If over there is one continuous in nature, it’s the evolutionary arms race in between prey and predator. While some prey protect themselves by biting, stinging, camouflaging, trickery, or envenomation, skunks room equipped through a distinct weapon—a pair that perianal sacs that secrete a smelly, oily liquid. They usage this foul-smelling secretion to save their predators in ~ bay. Yet is there an ext to skunk spray (also referred to as skunk significance or skunk musk) than simply being smelly? What’s in it, exactly? Is the harmful to humans and animals?

What is skunk spray?

Skunk spray is a yellow oil the is volatile, which means it conveniently evaporates and becomes a gas. Skunk spray is make of necessary sulfur-containing thiols, which space responsible for its properties odor. Sulfur has actually an smell often defined as spoiled cabbage or rotten eggs. Good examples that thiols room mercaptans, which are included to the otherwise odorless organic gas supplied by your energy company. The odor warns you the gas might be leaking right into your home.

Despite its little size, a skunk can eject approximately 5 mL of this oil every gland (so as much as a total of 10 mL, which is 2 teaspoonfuls) at their target and for approximately an impressive 20 feet with terrific aim. Once in the air, the odor is detectable at concentrations as low as only about 1 component per exchange rate (ppb). This is the indistinguishable of one paper in a roll of toilet file stretching from brand-new York to London.

Can skunk spray hurt me or my pet?

When human being are exposed, particularly if sprayed into the eyes, it can cause short-term stinging, burning, redness, and also tearing. This have the right to make it challenging to open up the eyes for a couple of minutes. Breath it in can irritate the lungs. The odor has the potential to worsen asthma symptoms, yet this is quite rare. The smell have the right to be nauseating.

While skunk spray is finest classified as an irritant, rare yet important results have been described in dogs. If your dog is sprayed in eyes or mouth, friend might notification drooling, vomiting, red and swollen eyes, sneezing, and temporary blindness. A more serious syndrome, in i beg your pardon the skunk spray damages the red blood cells, has actually been defined in dogs complying with heavy exposure, but it’s rather rare.

What should I execute if i or my pet space exposed?

Decontamination is key. It not only removes the oil from where it was sprayed (e.g., skin, eyes, mouth) but will also assist break it down and also neutralize it so you don’t have to smell that anymore.

Whether ~ above skin or fur, use the complying with recipe:

1 quart of 3% (household strength) hydrogen peroxide ¼ cup the baking soda 1 teaspoonful of liquid dish detergent

For the to be effective, this solution has to be used automatically after mixing. Use for 5 minutes, then rinse; repeat as needed. The hydrogen peroxide acts as an oxidizing agent, changing the framework of the thiols into non-smelly compounds. The dish detergent cuts the oil and also makes it much easier to to wash away. Do not use this mixture come the eye or mouth. Rinse eye gently with room temperature water because that 15 minutes. If in the mouth, rinse through water and spit.

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For meaningless objects, use 1 cup of bleach in a gallon of water. Wash contaminated clothing with heavy-duty laundry laundry detergent or borax. Over there are also several advertising products easily accessible for purchase.

Don’t underestimate the power of new air—when indoors, open up some windows to let new air in and ventilate the space.

Does tomato juice work?

No, it has not been proven come work. The myth might have to be perpetuated by a phenomenon recognized as olfactory fatigue. Olfactory exhaustion is once your nose merely adapts to the consistent presence of a details odor and also stops smell it.

When should I seek medical care?

Check the webrememberingsomer.comCONTROL® online device or contact regulate at 1-800-222-1222 for guidance. Together a basic rule, you must seek medical evaluation if you’re having severe or persistent symptoms of irritation. Because that instance, if you’re having actually persistent pain, discomfort, or redness in your eyes even after rinsing through water or if you’re enduring persistent respiratory symptoms prefer coughing.

If her dog or cat is sprayed directly in the eyes, consult her veterinarian promptly. The ASPCA additionally recommends acquisition your pet come a veterinarian right away if symptoms such together lethargy, weakness, or a change in urine shade occurs or if you notice pale or brown gums a few hours or days complying with exposure.

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Is there danger for rabies indigenous skunk spray?

In the US, skunks can bring rabies. However, that is not transmitted through call with your anal gland secretions. It’s sent through saliva or through the bite of one infected skunk. Rabies is deadly. If you or your pet have actually been bitten by a skunk or if you space concerned about exposure to its saliva, seek instant medical evaluation and also treatment.

Do skunks always spray once threatened?

No, skunks carry out not constantly spray when they feeling threatened. They commonly show warning indicators first, like raising your tail, stomping their feet, and hissing or charging if your striped figure isn’t warning enough. They only spray if these initial warnings space ineffective. This is since one spray depletes their life-saving defense and also refilling the glands can take approximately 10 days.

What have the right to I do to protect against exposure to skunk spray?

Skunks room usually nocturnal, which means they room most active at night. They are sensitive to light. Having actually a motion-sensing light outside your home can scare lock away. They also like come make homes under decks or porches or close to brush or timber piles. Block access to or remove these. Leave wildlife alone and teach children to execute the same. There space actions you deserve to take to avoid skunks from finding shelter and food near your home. Us recommend following the Centers for condition Control and Prevention’s (CDC) avoidance tips to defend your family, pets, and also home native wildlife.

If friend or her pet have been sprayed by a skunk, usage thewebrememberingsomer.comCONTROL®online tool or contact 1-800-222-1222.