Pet Talk – Week of March 30, 2022

Five a.m. and it started to permeate my dreams. First a light scent, then a little stronger. Finally breaking through and waking me ever so gently.

I started sniffing around the house to rule out an appliance malfunction, then I opened the door to the porch and was assaulted by the reality that someone had made an acquaintance with a skunk, somewhere close.

Yes, it’s that time of the year. For weeks now I’ve been able to let Scruffy out without worrying about him making friends with a striped “kitty cat,” and now we’re back to the nighttime routine – turn on the outside lights, look left, look right, sniff the air, and then when convinced the coast is clear, let the Scruff out for a few minutes of potty time. 

Spring brings with it some specific challenges for our pets. Skunks being one of them. I wanted to make sure you are prepared. I personally keep ingredients available to make a “de-skunk” wash. 

The recipe is one quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, a quarter cup of baking soda and a teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap, preferably Dawn. Mix together and rub it into your pet’s fur, rinse thoroughly and then shampoo with a pet shampoo. 

They do sell commercial shampoo for deskunking and there are other formulas, but the most important thing to remember is to be prepared because I can tell you from experience, Rover doesn’t usually get skunked during convenient times, nor do you want to be running into Walmart smelling like Pepe LePew to buy the ingredients after the fact. 

The first thing I saw on Facebook after smelling LeSkunk was a message  that ticks have been spotted in the greater Bangor area already.  I strongly recommend that you discuss flea and tick prevention with your vet. I know they sell flea collars in the stores but not all are equal in effectiveness or safety.  

Your pet’s vet is the appropriate counselor on this issue. Ticks are not just incredibly gross, but Lyme disease is in Maine and is a nasty disease, trust me, I’ve had it, I know. 

Mud season is another challenge, and we aren’t just talking about a little dirty fur, although that in and of itself can be frustrating. But imagine you have four feet, you go outside in your bare feet, and you get mud all caked between your toes and then you come in the house and it all dries to cement.  Not comfortable.

It really doesn’t take much to clean those feet off a little, not just to keep your floors squeaky clean but because your pet will appreciate it. 

And last, for today, but not least, is that spring is the time that the animal shelter seems to see the most influx of stray animals, it’s warming up, Scruffy has been inside most of the winter, when he does go out he can’t wait to get back in, but now, oh now it’s heavenly, above freezing, new scents in the air with critters coming out of hibernation, plants beginning to bud out, so many wonderful smells to follow, so much fun to have, so many reasons to run and play and romp, and uh oh, before you know it, he’s left the yard, has headed down the road, and has forgotten his way home.  Please make sure to tether your dog in your yard if it isn’t fenced, to protect him and keep him safe.  Take him for long walks, blow the stink off yourself AND your pet, but make sure he is on a leash. 

Welcome spring, enjoy and protect, your pet will thank you.

The Houlton Humane Society is located on 263 Callaghan Road, Houlton, ME. Officials can be reached at 532-2862 or via email at

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