Cue the J. Geils Band:  "Love Stinks." While the 1980 song wasn't about skunk mating season, it certainly applies here.

Skunk mating season lasts through the end of March in Michigan, and that could certainly mean trouble for dogs and outdoor pets. After spending most of the winter underground, skunks are now out looking for food and male skunks are looking for love.

Skunks Are More Likely to Spray During Mating Season

Experts say skunks are more likely to spray during their mating season, which began last month and typically lasts through the end of March. They also note that skunks are usually inclined to run away, but do tend to spray if an animal or predator sneaks up on them.

Alexander Strauch is a veterinarian for the Michigan Veterinary Medial Association. He tells Bridge Michigan that while letting pets outside on their own may be tempting, it's not a good idea right now.

“Having a non-retractable leash is preferred because of the pet owners’ ability to manage the distance to which their dog is away from them more easily,” Strauch said.

How to Keep Skunks Away

  • Avoid making obvious homes for skunks. The animals seek out areas under porches , decks, and sheds, so try to seal off areas where they may be able to find shelter.
  • Remove any bird feeders that may spill seeds on the ground and bring pet food inside.
  • Ensure that garbage is stored in animal=proof containers.
  • Removing piles of leaves, brush, and sticks from your yard may also help deter skunks from making a home on your property.

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