Adventures in House Sitting. Chapter 1. Dealing with a skunk in the backyard

Thought I would share a unusual experience while doing a extended house sitting in the Southwest USA. I noticed a container in the backyard with a lid. Being curious I had to take a look see. Lifting the lid I was surprised to see a striped black and white skunk in a live trap. Not having a whole lot of experience with skunks I wasn’t sure “What to do with this critter ? “ I couldn’t leave it in the live trap to suffer.

So I immediately jumped on to Youtube to see how other people handled this issue. I learned that you had to be move slow and quiet around this guy so it wouldn’t spray. I contacted the home owner and neighbor’s to see what suggestions and hints they had. The home owner offered up his vehicle to relocate the skunk. I was reluctant to use my personal vehicle in case it sprayed.

So my wife and I covered up the live trap with a large towel and put him in the home owners van very slowly and quietly. We drove slowly and gingerly and finally found a spot not to far off the rural road where we left the trap open for him to leave, miles from our housesit.

We went back 8 hours later to retrieve the live trap. To our surprise the skunk was still in the cage. So it was time to get a little more aggressive. Tried tilting the trap on a 45 degree angle. The little guy was holding on with his little claws and wouldn’t let go. “Now What”. So we put him back in the van and decided to take him to another location deep into the forest away from the road.

We finally found a secluded dirt road in the forest. I was getting braver now so this time lifted the live trap fully 90 degrees vertical slowly and the skunk finally fell out and waddled away into the sunset. Needless to say I did’t reset the trap when we got back to our housesit one experience with a skunk was enough !

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Congratulations @Driven. I’ll share my one skunk experience, owning a dog where she was sprayed. I was one foot into our home, after picking up the dog (not doing a sit) before I realized the skunk had sprayed her, and it was late at night, so we weren’t able to deal with our dog outside. Needless to say, the smell came into our home, and was probably on me to some extent. What to do?

If you look online, I now see a remedy of a mix of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, or laundry detergent. However, at the time the remedy I found online was to wash the dog in a feminine douche (I never thought I’d be typing that on a forum :roll_eyes:). Off I went to the local drug store, not smelling too sweet probably, and bought what was needed. My husband stayed home with the dog. I can’t remember exactly, but my guess is he wasn’t willing to go to a drug store for that item.

While at the store, the person next to me started up a conversation, and turned out to be an animal trainer for guide dogs. She agreed that it was a great way to handle the problem, and also suggested I put out dishes of whole coffee beans around my home to absorb the smell. Another great suggestion and next day our home smelled fine (or so we thought maybe :thinking:). My husband had no intention of wasting those beans either, but given I’m not a coffee drinker, that was his call. The douche came in a two-pack, but thankfully I never had to use the second one. I kept it in a handy place for as long as we had the dog though. :blush:

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That is hilarious. Love it. I had to deal with the same issue on a previous housesit. Hiking with the hosts dogs I caught a glimpse of one of the dogs tossing a skunk in the air. When I got back to the house I had to wash down the dogs with that solution you mentioned. The home owner had left instructions in her guide on mixing the cleaning solution. Left the dogs outside for awhile to air out. All part of the experience !

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Maybe I’m aging myself, but I recall the trick was to bathe the dog in tomato juice. I used to have a Weim who I would take to the river flats of the Mississippi in St Paul. Winters were never a smell problem and despite her short coat, Lucy loved to play in the snow while I xc skied. But summer, she would find dead fish along the river bank and roll on them. I would use a mix of vinegar and water to rinse her and then dog shampoo.
Sam the Irish wolfhound x never had a skunk encounter but he did tangle with a porcupine one day. Fortunately, only a few quills and not too deep in his nose so I was able to remove them and on advice of the vet put on a topical antibiotic. Fortunately I got them out completely and no infection.

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@toml yes, I’ve heard of tomato juice too. I’ve also had similar to quills but with the teddy bear cactus in Arizona, where a spine lodged in the dog’s paw. Lots of blood and I was so worried but after cleaning the paw the bleeding quickly stopped. I was more upset than the dog. :woozy_face:

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@toml @Snowbird @Driven thank you for some great stories … checking the advice from the Humane Society about de-skunking dogs I believe this first piece of advice is somewhat of a given …

Step 1: Keep your dog outside

You’ll probably want to keep your dog outside while you get it together so they don’t carry the smell indoors. Check their eyes; if they’re irritated or red, immediately flush them with cool water.

They go on to recommend a home recipe shampoo

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@Angela, the first piece of advice is ideal. However, in my situation it was dark outside, with a fenced yard and possibly a skunk still in the yard. Also, if it was today, it’s currently -20 Celsius outside. :snowman_with_snow: Keeping the dog outside would then not be an option. As we well know, sometimes we need a Plan B. :woozy_face:

I do really appreciate the sharing of resources on the forum though. A general thanks to those who take the time to do that. :clap:

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@Snowbird agree with everything you’ve said and obviously circumstances around the situation must always dictate the actions we take.

Being outside at -20 for any length of time or bathing a dog in adverse weather or extreme temps is not an option of course … thank goodness for basements and more than one shower room.

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