How do I treat my dog if it's been skunked underground?
Assess the situation. Once the dog is out, whether dug to or out on his own violation, examine him. Look at his overall appearance. Is he having difficulty walking/standing? Is he throwing up? What color are his gums? Looking at a dog's gums gives you an idea of the status of his circulation. As shock progresses gums will go from healthy pink, to pale pink, to white, to blue-purple. This is a reflection of the body shunting blood away from non-vital peripheral tissues. In advanced shock the gums are bluish because the oxygen in the blood remaining in this tissue has been used up. If you are not familiar with the appearance of normal gums, look at your dogs gums so you will be. A dogs whose gums are slightly pale, vomits once or twice and is having a LITTLE difficulty walking will likely recover completely within a few minutes. This behavior is typical of a dog who has been sprayed but gets out of the hole quickly. Let the dog rest and allow small drinks of water. Keep a close eye on the dog - he should recover to normal behavior and gums should return to a healthy pink within about 30 minutes or less.
The dog should be seen by a veterinarian if full recovery is not achieved, or if he seems to recover but then deteriorates. The dog that has been trapped in a hole and/or sprayed in the face is more likely to be in serious condition. Gums may be very pale or blue-purple, the dog may be staggering or unable to stand, may be staring blankly and may vomit several times. This dog should receive veterinary care IMMEDIATELY. Treat the areas of the skin which have been sprayed as soon as possible, but DO NOT delay getting to a vet. Treat the areas of skin which have been sprayed as soon as possible with one of the methods listed above.
When contacting a vet about a dog you feel must been seen INSIST the dog be seen immediately!
When contacting a vet about a dog you feel must been seen INSIST the dog be seen immediately! Tell him/her that the dog was down in a hole when sprayed and could not escape from the fumes, and that you know of dogs in similar situations who have DIED because they went into shock. Tell the veterinarian what color the dog's gums are, if he is having difficulty walking/standing, if he is staring blankly and how many times he has vomited. This information will help the vet understand that the dog really is in serious condition.
Wherever you are hunting, and whoever you are hunting with, make sure there is a vet within thirty minutes in case of emergency.