What could have sprayed my dogs?

The dogs were outside last night in the walled back yard. They came running in–both looking rather displeased–and proceded to wipe their faces and necks on every wipeable surface. They also smelled really bad! It doesn’t smell like a skunk got them, since I’ve smelled plenty of skunks before. I can’t figure out what happened to them. My first thought upon sniffing their faces was, “hmm, burnt skunk?” The smell seems slightly familiar, but I’m not sure from where.

Are there any other critters that could have stinked them? I know that other animals in the weasel family can spray. Do they smell differently from skunks? What about insects? We have stinkbugs crawling around outside, and they stick their butts up in the air when bothered, but I’ve never detected an actual odor from them.

BTW this is in far west El Paso county (Texas, USA) right on the Rio Grande if that helps with identifying any possible fauna.

Pepper spray?

There are frogs in tropical Latin America that spit out a nasty smelling spit. But hardly El Paso weather conditions.

There are reptiles that secreet really foul smells from their skins when handled or bitten. And those are around the Southwest.

I have heard, but have never seen supporting evidence, that a skunk’s diet can change its odor. Once again I have heard, but not seen supporting evidence, the theory that different types of skunks have different odors.

My suggestion would be to take the animals out to the yard and see where they avoid. If it is next to an open fence or gate - I would bet someone was using a dog repelent on them.

Do any of your neighbors hate your dogs? Do any of your neighbors have dogs also? If they do, check and see if they have had a similar situation.


Could it have been a cat? I had a cat years ago that would spray the neighbor’s dog.

Thanks for the suggestions all. I’m a bit stumped. I guess someone could have sprayed the dogs with something, which would suck (but the little devils probaby deserved it). They would have had to come a good way off the street though to get to one of the gates. I don’t think it was a cat, but I’m not too familiar with cat urine. I’m not too worried if it doesn’t happen again (although the furniture smells funny now since they wiped their fur on it.)

It could have been skunk. A few years ago my neighborhood was suffering from an out of control skunk population and one evening our dog was sprayed in our backyard. I was surprised by the strong burnt oil type smell that permeated everything, since from a distance these skunks smelled like your typical foul odor type. I’m positive it was skunk though.

Our dog reacted the same way. As soon as we opened the door he rushed in and proceeded to wipe his face upon every carpeted/upholstered site he could find. There’s a cleaning solution at PetSmart you can use called Petzyme that will help neutralize the smell on your carpets & furniture. Repeated bathings of the dog didn’t seem to help much - every time we wetted him down the smell came out of his fur, but over a few weeks time even he went back to smelling like a dog.