Don’t Get Skunked!  – Skunks are also looking for mates 

February 28, 2024

A few weeks ago we wrote about how coyotes are out and about and more likely to be seen by people in the spring due to their mating season.

Well…They’re not alone. Most wildlife have their mating seasons in the spring so the babies will be born when food is plentiful. This includes a not-so-subtle woodland creature, the striped skunk. One of our dog-walking friends’ dog just had a run in with a skunk and, no surprise, the skunk won.

For people, avoiding skunks is really not that hard. If you have a sense of smell, they give you fair warning. Their odor is not hard to miss. Here’s what Mass Wildlife says:

Here is a link to the fact sheet from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife: LIVING WITH WILDLIFE STRIPED SKUNKS IN MASSACHUSETTS

The striped skunk is a common mammal found throughout most of Massachusetts, except for the Elizabeth Islands and Nantucket. They are highly adaptable and use a variety of habitats including meadows, farmlands, woods, wetlands, beaches, and agricultural areas, as well as urban and suburban developments. In Massachusetts, their predators include Great-horned owls, coyotes, foxes, and domestic dogs.

Most problems with skunks come from the last name on the list – domestic dogs.  

Most dogs are born with a prey drive. My dog’s favorite activity involves chasing squirrels. The reason it’s fun is because the squirrels understand their role, and RUN!  

Skunks have their own defenses and it does not include running.  

So, what do you do when your dog gets sprayed?

There are several articles on “what to do.”  Most of the advice is the same, but there is a slight difference depending on what you read. Here are a few samples:

One tip for dog owners is to be prepared. Skunks are nocturnal, so if your dog does get sprayed, it’s likely to be at night. Running to the pet store to buy skunk shampoo is an option, but most likely not ideal in a rush to get your dog taken care of. All these articles mention a homemade version. You cannot mix this up in advance, but you can collect all you need and set it aside.

What I have -for lack of a better term- is a skunk kit. It is kind of “In case of fire break glass” plan. I printed the recipe with all the components in one place. This way, if your dog does get skunked, you’re not searching for instructions and supplies

Here’s my kit:


  • 1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide (available at any pharmacy)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap
    Caution:  Do not mix in advance
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Bobbi Tornheim
February 28, 2024 7:43 pm

I believe that hydrogen peroxide looses its potency over time, so you may want to check its date. Cheap enough to replace if it is old. Having a kit is a great idea. Thanks.

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