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If you've had the pleasure of knowing any dogs in your life, you probably know that their favorite scents aren't always too fresh or conventional. You might adore the smell of peonies, but your pooch might prefer something along the lines of yesterday's garbage. You both might have an aversion to skunk spray, though.
Introduction to Skunk Spray
Skunks are equipped with some of the most well-known defensive mechanisms around -- their signature spray. They use this unpleasant smelling spray to drive predators away. The greasy spray is emitted out of scent glands that are situated right by skunks' anal regions. Young skunks gain an understanding of this protective technique by observing their mothers in action.
Skunks tend to be rather tame creatures. It isn't common for them to initiate confrontations, whether with humans or fellow animals. When they spray, it usually means that they're shocked or extremely frightened.
Deterring Dogs and Other Animals
Skunk spray can frequently deter domestic canines. Dogs aren't the only animals that often aren't big fans of the stuff. Coyotes, bobcats and foxes all regularly run away from it, abandoning the hope of a skunk meal.
Dogs Adore Odoriferous Things
No two dogs are exactly alike. One dog might truly be repulsed by skunk spray, while another might find the stuff rather fascinating. Pooches often adore pungent things, sometimes even to the point that they excitedly rub their bodies into them. If your dog is making you wrinkle your nose, it could be because he just rolled around over the remains of a dead skunk that sprayed the area. Decaying skunk remains, old trash and other animals' stool matter -- some dogs like it all. Their penchant could be an innate one. If a dog in the wild smells of skunk spray, it might make his own individual smell less noticeable to prey.
A Skunked Dog
If your poor pooch ever gets sprayed by a skunk, don't panic. Pet stores stock many types of removers formulated specifically for eliminating persistent skunk odors off dogs. If the spray enters your pet's nose, mouth or eyes, however, get him urgent veterinary care.
When a dog gets "skunked," it usually indicates that he didn't pay attention to any of the signals the skunk gave off beforehand, whether elevating his tail into the air or thumping his feet. Most dogs aren't driven away by these actions, however.
- American Animal Hospital Association Healthy Pet: Skunk Smell
- Vetstreet: The Smell of Happiness - Why Dogs Like Things That Stink
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: Land Mammals - Skunk
- The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook; Betsy Brevitz
- The Dog Bible; Tracie Hotchner
- Everything Dogs Expect You to Know; Karen Bush
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Skunk Spray and Your Dog
- The Humane Society of the United States: De-Skunking Your Dog
- The Humane Society of the United States: What to Do About Skunks
- Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images