Category Archives: Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

Why are Skunks so Common Now?

Even just five or so years ago, it seemed rare to see a skunk wandering around my residential neighborhood—almost unheard of ten years ago. Usually I’d see them at dusk while camping or walking around the state park, but not in my neighbor’s yard. What happened?

Dog nose to nose with a skunk

Dog and skunk

  • A rabies epidemic in the 1980s and 90’s had killed many skunks in the Chicago area, and now their population is rebounding. Skunks are the main carrier of rabies in the Midwest.
  • Few natural predators prey on skunks. Only the grey-horned owl and red-tailed hawks actively prey on them, while coyotes and foxes eat them. Most of these predators are rare in my area.
    • Cars are the chief predator of skunks and their population is measured by road kill counts.
  • Used to humans. Skunks know we fear their smell and can come within 20+ feet before feeling threatened. This is why they we see them so often.
    • Skunks that are sick from rabies can act bolder or aggressive. Beware of any skunk acting strangely or out during the day—it may be rabid.
    • Time of year—late summer and early fall is when I see them the most. This is when young skunks are venturing away from their mothers. Skunks are out during mating season in late winter. They do not hibernate, but slow down and are inactive (torpor) in their dens during the winter. They may emerge on warm winter nights.
  • Availability of the following—so clean your yard and secure your property.
    • Food—skunks are omnivores and eat a variety of food, including the trash left in your yard or garbage can. They prey on beetles, grasshoppers, grubs and worms, plus bird eggs, small rodents and frogs, but will also dine on fruits, berries and mushrooms. Often they are seen under fruit trees or digging in lawns and gardens. Small holes in your lawn can be from skunks digging for grubs.
    • Shelter—skunks like to make dens in tree hollows, brush or wood piles, and underneath porches and sheds.
    • Source of water within two miles of their den.

Do skunks always spray?

Skunks spray as a last defense. They may growl, spit, fluff their fur or shake their tail. Usually the tail shake is what catches my attention with the flash of white in the darkness. If the intruder (your dog) doesn’t leave, then it will lift its tail and spray its powerful odor.

Almost all of my dogs have had very close encounters with only one spray occurrence. Most of the time I’ve realized the critter was a skunk and ordered my dog back, and fortunately, they listened and avoided the spray. Buffy was on a 15-foot retractable leash and yanked out of range before it sprayed. The spray range for skunks is about ten feet.

The only occurrence of spray was in my yard when a skunk sprayed the fence and Chipper was close enough to get some spray on his face, which he immediately rubbed on Buffy.

How to bathe your dog

Don’t let him in the house or rub against you or another dog or you will have more cleaning to do!

Forget the tomato juice; instead use the following—it really works!

  1. Dawn Dish Washing Liquid
    2. Hydrogen Peroxide
    3. Baking Soda
  • Mix 1 – 2 ounces of dawn dish soap with a gallon of water.
  • Add 1 ounce of hydrogen peroxide (per gallon)
  • Add 1/4 cup of baking soda.
  • Mix these items well in a bucket
  • Once you wash the dog with this solution, give him a regular bath.

Check my blog on bath at dogs and skunks–how to prevent the stink.

Skunk diseases

Most of us dread skunks because of the stink and having to bathe our dogs. But here are more reasons to keep your dog away. They carry many diseases, such as:

  • Rabies – beware of skunks out during the day, skunks acting aggressive, having an unsteady gait, drooling or foaming at the mouth.
  • Leptospirosis
  • Canine distemper
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Roundworms

Has your dog encountered a skunk lately? Please comment below and sign up for future posts by email.

Read more at:

Skunk Facts

That Stinks: Chicago Suburb Battles Feisty Skunk Population

Skunks: Why Are There So Many?

Why You Are Smelling Skunks This Week

Photo by Dreamstime

This is a Wordless Wednesday blog hop. Please visit the other blogs listed below.

Blogpaws wordless Wednesday

When your Dog has the Runs—Should You Visit the Vet?

On Monday, I arrived home later than usual after work and found my husband scrubbing the carpet, a roll of paper towels lay on the floor and a scowl across his face. Buffy, my tan cocker spaniel had made a huge mess all over the living room rug. Diarrhea.

Buffy at the vet

Buffy sticking out her tongue at me at the vet’s office.

Continue reading

After You Scoop—Where Do You Drop the Poop?

Do you throw your dog’s waste in the nearest trash can? I actually plan my dog walks to go past several garbage cans so that I don’t have to carry the poop bag very far. Do you do this? Dogs going for a walk

Do you take your dog to parks where they provide bags so you don’t have to bring your own? Continue reading

Oh My – She Lost an Eye

On Tuesday, I took Buffy to her eye doctor to get the pressure checked in her eyes. Her right eye had jumped from 15 to 30 in the two weeks since our last visit.

Cocker spaniel before eye surgery

Last photo of Buffy with both eyes, even though she had no vision in her right eye.

Once the pressure reaches 35, then dogs experience a severe headache, like a migraine. Continue reading

Does Fido Fear or have Fun on the Fourth?

Do you stay at home on the Fourth of July to calm your quivering dog?

Does your dog pace around your bed keeping you up all night or poke you constantly while you can barely hear the distant rumble of thunder?

Many Dogs suffer from Thunderstorm Anxiety

Chipper, my 12-year-old cocker spaniel, has thunderstorm anxiety. He also trembles during visits to the vet; pokes me when he hears firecrackers; pants during car rides; and resists me when I trim the fur on his paws. Continue reading

Low Budgeting the BlogPaws Conference

Although the Sheraton Hotel at Myrtle Beach was 998 miles from my home north of Chicago, I really wanted to bring Buffy, my cocker spaniel to the 2017 BlogPaws conference. Having a dog is an easy ice-breaker and I really missed having her with me at the last conference in Phoenix.

Cocker spaniel next to BlogPaws sign

Buffy at the BlogPaws conference.

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Cocker Spaniels Union

I have two cocker spaniels and Chipper is the union steward of local 633. He is always informing me (his employer) when it is time to eat, when to get treats and which type. He makes sure we follow the cocker spaniels union contract at all times. He warns us if we are late in providing these benefits and if we are in danger of violating the contract.

Cocker spaniels wearing bandanas

Buffy & Chipper in their Cocker Spaniels Union Local 633 bandanas.

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Chipper’s External Brain

When Chipper was a young puppy he developed double pneumonia. My mom nursed him back to health, but he always seemed mentally slow, probably because his body fought off the sickness instead of developing. He needs his little sister, Buffy, to tell him what to do.  Although Cocker Spaniels are not known to be smart dogs, Chipper seems especially dumb, even for a Cocker. But he makes me laugh – a lot! Continue reading