Joseph has first-hand experience removing skunk odors after his dog, Kiera, was skunked in his backyard.
Help! My Dog Got Sprayed by a Skunk
Since skunks are nocturnal animals, they rarely attack during the day. The bulk of the attacks happen at night, and odds are you will be unprepared if your animal is sprayed. Be ready. We were lucky enough to have some of these items in the house when my dog got sprayed:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Dishwashing detergent
- Baking soda
- Air freshener (Ozium works great)
- Assorted old towels and sponges
I'm going to tell you how we cleaned our dog, and how we attempted to clean the house. Here's the story of how it all went down.
What Not to Do During a Skunk Attack
- Panic: We did because we didn't know what to do. Print out the advice in this article and attach it to your fridge with a magnet. You'll always have it ready.
- Take your pet to the vet: The vet will discourage this unless the animal has been bitten. Feel free to call an emergency vet and get their advice. They'll probably give you the peroxide recipe.
- Don't keep anything that may have been sprayed: Whatever it is, throw it away (it's not worth keeping and will make your cleaning efforts futile).
Our Skunk Attack Story
It's an attack that changed our lives forever. It happened at approximately 10:30 pm one night. My wife and I had just finished watching a DVD, and we were about to go to bed. I knew our 100 lb best friend, Kiera (our 8-year-old Labrador-Shepherd mix), would have to go outside and answer nature's call. She had been pretty quiet during the movie.
I accompanied Kiera to the back door and turned on the backyard floodlights, opened the door, and watched her wagging tail as it descended down the four concrete stairs to the backyard. The $1400 investment we made to fence in the yard of our new house was money well spent. Kiera could roam the yard unencumbered by her leash and stay outside as long as she pleased while she did her business.
I walked back into the kitchen and poured myself a drink of water. Through the open kitchen window, I saw Kiera take off after something near the shed. I assumed it was one of the neighborhood cats, and I prayed it was one of the neighborhood cats. It wasn't one of the neighborhood cats; it was our worst nightmare.
I ran to the door as Kiera was running back to the house. She was whimpering, foaming at the mouth, and her eyes were bloodshot. As she came up the stairs, I grabbed her head to see what had happened. That's when I noticed the smell.
Fresh Skunk Spray Is Something Else
If you've ever smelled a freshly attacked animal, it smells nothing like the strong odor you may smell driving down the highway late at night. It was a smell like nothing I ever imagined—a super strong combination of burnt rubber, garlic, onions, and vomit. It almost knocked me down. Kiera, terrified, ran into the kitchen and then the living room. There was no stopping her.
Realizing that a skunk just attacked my baby (and braving the smell as best as I could), I called for my wife and together, we inspected every inch of Kiera's body to make sure that she hadn't been bitten. Skunks are notorious for rabies, and even though Kiera is always current on her shots, we weren't taking chances.
By the time we were done with her physical exam (no bites, thank you, God!), my wife took Kiera into the shower to flush out her eyes, and I ran into my office to hit up the net to find out what to do. I am ashamed to admit that I was never ready for a skunk attack. I had never even thought of it because skunks aren't abundant in our area.
Emergency Skunk Attack Kit
What to have on-hand in case your animal is attacked by a skunk:
- 32 ounces of hydrogen peroxide
- 1/4-1/2 cup of baking soda
- 1 good squirt of dishwashing detergent such as Dawn
- Something for mixing (a one-gallon plastic water jug is ideal)
After you use this mixture, be sure to dispose of it. It will explode if kept in a bottle.
Instructions for combining:
- Mix all the ingredients together and apply the combination to your animal. Be extremely careful not to get any inside their eyes or ears.
- Shampoo the animal in this mixture for at least 10 minutes, and then rinse completely.
- You may have to apply this mixture the next day, as we did. It did take most of the smell out of the dog's fur, but her face and nose still smelled brutal. We attempted to use diluted vinegar on a cotton ball. It's a slow process.
Cleaning Supplies for a Skunk Attack
- Several old bath towels
- White or apple cider vinegar
- Ground coffee
- Ozium air spray (check any auto supply store)
- Carpet foaming spray
- Tranquilizers (take as directed)
We didn't try tomato juice. Not only did we not have any in the house, I read that it was ineffective.
Get Rid of Skunk Odor in Your House
The house was another problem all its own. Every room stunk. It was HORRIBLE! I learned that skunks do not spray urine, but a musky oil from sacs located near their anus. This oil spreads over your animal and anything he/she touches and is extremely difficult to remove.
At the time of the attack, I had the central air conditioner running, which I'm certain made things worse as it carried to every room. I shut off the air and opened all of the windows. I turned on the ceiling fans and started wiping down the furniture. We have leather furniture in the living room, and I wiped it down with straight white vinegar and did not rinse it off. I did the same to the Pergo flooring. The carpets we sprayed down with a canned commercial carpet cleaner (the foamy stuff), and I placed several small bowls of ground coffee and white vinegar around the house. The coffee is supposed to absorb the smell, and it did a fantastic job.
Kiera had a difficult night sleeping. We all did. I gave Kiera one of her puppy tranquilizers and then took a human tranquilizer myself. My wife went to bed with two Advils due to a horrible migraine (if you're a migraine victim, you can imagine skunk smell is not a good thing to be around).
I threw away the clothes we were wearing. They were just pajamas, so it wasn't a huge loss. We also had to toss several towels that we used to dry Kiera off. A few throw rugs also made their way to the garbage bags. I also made sure to change the filters in the air conditioner. The basement still smells as I cannot open the windows down there. I considered a professional cleaner specializing in skunks, but it's expensive, and we have a high homeowner's deductible.
Be Prepared for a Future Attack
Are we now prepared for a possible future attack? You bet we are. The next day, we stocked a special skunk section in the basement complete with hydrogen peroxide, dishwashing detergent, extra boxes of baking soda, air freshener (Ozium works great), vinegar, and assorted old towels and sponges.
I also wondered what attracted the skunks to my yard because all of our trash is in a covered canister. (Skunks eat anything including roadkill, which is why they are great candidates for rabies.) It's also early autumn, which I found out is mating season for skunks. I also have a shed in the yard, and it's possible that a new mom could have made her way underneath to have her family. Rather than close the bottom of the shed in (which would be not only cruel but stupid), I placed several mothballs underneath it and around the area. Ammonia-soaked rags are supposed to work well, too.
Feel free to comment with your skunk stories, remedies, and household purifying tips. I hope you enjoyed this article and have never ever had to use it in an emergency!
© 2007 Joseph Addams
encountered on August 04, 2010:
I live on an acreage and have had plenty of skunks. One sprayed under my deck right by the fresh air intake. This was the middle of winter (2 weeks before Christmas) and 3 in the morning. My guess is a coyote tried to get it judging by the tracks in the snow. Took 6 months before we could get rid of the skunk smell in the house. NO air fresheners worked - especially that Febreeze crap. Baking coffee grounds worked to mask the smell for about an hour. I tried the mothballs to keep the skunk away from the house. That did not work in the slightest. I watched the skunk walk right over those and believe me I was generous with the mothballs. My house just stunk of skunk and mothballs. I have since closed up the deck.
The best deterrent is a trap. I knew skunks were around and left them alone before the incident. They started the war. I am just finishing it. So far 13 in a year and a half. My guess is that neighbours probably leave catfood or garbage out that the skunks like and for some reason they like to live in my yard.
Unlucky on July 22, 2010:
Hey people , since yesterday i started to hate skunks .
Was cooming back from a party , 3 in da moornin , and was a bit sleepy , as it was a Wednesday everybody put out their garbages out ... I was walkin really silently , and suddenly like 4-6 ft in front of me i got face to face with a skunk. Seeing as i seen my friends dogg gettin sprayed by skunks and i now how bad is it i freaked out and as soon as i saw it i run back but he managed to spray a little on me . Thank god it sprayed me just on a side and just a little , but i feel da smell hella hard . :( i took a shower with tomato juice and vinegar and after rinced my whole body with soap a couple of times , it did seem better do . :( And im really pissed off as i dont want to throw my clothes , like its not ussal daily clothes , its clothes for going out .... Plus my gucci shoes smell hella bad , but they are practically new , so i dont feel like throwing them out . I cleaned them as well as i could and let them outside on balcony on fresh air . Didn't washed my clothes yet , let them outside as well .. Smells horribly . Do u people think i can still wear them after they gettin washed ? Like i really hope that the smell will dissapear as soon as possible . Argh..
Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on July 16, 2010:
Hi Kelli, I would still stick with the mothball and ammonia soaked rags. Skunks don't like them. It's been proven. In fact, I proved it in my yard, I don't know where this wildlife guy got his education about skunks, but they don't smell bad to themseleves and they don't smell bad to each other. Wanna know why? THEY DON'T SPRAY EACH OTHER! Save your $300 and set out some ammonia. Get the good stuff, like Parsons. Stay away from the diluted dollar brands. Trust me. It works.
Kelli on July 09, 2010:
I have a family of five living right outside my front door. I had a Wildlife management guy over last night who saw our mothball attempt to deter. His point - think about how badly they smell - do we really think they are going to be offended by mothballs or ammonia? Good point.
It's going to cost me $300 to have them professionally removed from the property. 1) I hate to do it as I love animals 2) I hate to spend that kind of money.
Any thoughts/experiences having them live on your property without issue? I have no outside pets, so we really need to worry about ourselves as we enter/exit our house.
Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on May 20, 2010:
The poor thing. She went threw a traumatic experience. I'm glad she's feeling better. Good luck.
Mary Ann Laun on May 19, 2010:
Our 13 year old golden mix pound puppy was hit in the face and throat last night. I washed her face and eyes and gave her milk to drink to neutralize the taste in her mouth. Today we took her to the vet because she was acting so lethargic and strange...staring at the wall. Her pulse (normal is 100) hiked up to 180 and the vets thought she might have a heart attack any minute...Ventrial tachycardia, they called it. They don't think it is related to the attack, but we can't help but think it is related. We brought her back home tonight and she got her favorite El Pollo Loco...she ate well and seems to be on the mend.
Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on April 22, 2010:
Hi curious....the skunks (and other yard animals) won't go near them. They repel...just like they do with moths.
curious on April 20, 2010:
Do the moth balls harm or just repel?
oliviA on March 18, 2010:
i think skunk slayer, thats a goodidea.
Skunkslayer5000 on August 23, 2009:
Its 3 am and i was just outside having a cigarette... i heard a noise and turned around and thought i saw my can because it wasn't scared of me... seconds later the damn skunk ran right at me and once three feet away i saw the white stripes and ran myself. Suprisingly didn't get sprayed. Takin the rifle out tomorrow. Gonna blow it in half.
Pam on April 21, 2009:
We had a similar experience the night before last, but we have THREE dogs. Fortunately, only one got hit by the spray, but unfortunately, in our panic we let her walk into the house and down the stairs, where we bathed her in tomato juice (we had no peroxide and it was late). She didn't smell bad afterwards, but our house did! So we cleaned up as best we could, put out coffee, lit candles, etc. Had a sleepless night and had to work yesterday. We don't know where the skunk(s) could be living, but suspect it's in an inaccessible area of our deck. Okay - so LAST night, the same thing happened - but it was even worse, because one of our dogs cornered the skunk where it could not escape and the skunk sprayed her directly in the face - AND the other two, as well! This time it was early enough to get the peroxide and that combination did work. We used tomato juice, also - bathed our dogs first in the tomato, then with soap, then with tomato again, then soap again, then the peroxide mixture, then soap again, then cream rinse. I have to say, it did seem to work, but our whole house reeks! In our panic to try to get the dogs away from the skunk, we let the one who was directly hit in the face go into the house, where she immediately started frantically rubbing her muzzle all over our white carpet. Today - house still reeks, and we are supposed to have a dinner party in 3 days. And of course we didn't get much sleep last night, either. Obviously we won't be stupid enough to let this happen again tonight, but it's very inconvenient as far as letting the dogs out. Ugh! As bad as the whole experience was, though, I have to say I'm envious of Vagirl3 - I wish that was the worst experience of my life!
Pam on April 21, 2009:
We had a similar experience the night before last, but we have THREE dogs. Ugh! As bad as the whole experience was, though, I have to say I'm envious of Vagirl3 - I wish that was the worst experience of my life!
Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on October 31, 2008:
Thanks for checking in. I hope that you're ok and that Sampson is recovering from his ordeal. Trust me, the house is going to take awhile to get back to normal. Hopefully, it's not too cold where you live and some windows can stay open.
I'm sure you've done it, but check under the deck and make sure there are no gaps where your new friend could be living.
lynsam on October 31, 2008:
On October 26, 2008 @ 9:00 am my dog Sampson was outside and all of a sudden he started crying like you wouldn't believe. I ran to our sliding door and looked out to see my dog on our deck with a skunk. The skunk was attacking Sampson. I opened the sliding door to let Sampson in and the skunk followed right behind him trying to get into my house. I stupidly wasn't thinking and I had to kick the skunk in the head to keep him from coming inside in which I had no shoes on. After Sampson got into the house he immediately ran into our livingroom and leaned up on a cloth chair. I ran to him to make sure he wasn't bleeding which means I did touch him with my bare hands. The skunk stayed in our yard wandering around climbing back onto the deck. The police were called and they just watched the skunk. They didn't believe he was rabid because he seemed to know where he was going, he wasn't disoriented etc. Sampson was taken to the vet and they shaved his tail and found bruising but they couldn't say if he was bitten or not. Because I could have had contact with the skunks salvia, I had to go to my doctor and be checked to see if I had cuts on my hands and/or feet. If I had any cuts I would have had to get shots because they didn't know if the skunk was rabid or not. Well this whole ordeal has cost me over $600.00. My home still smells like skunk 5 days later. I will be placing mothballs all around my yard this weekend. I want to thank rockinjoe for his ideas for getting skunk smell out of the home. Believe me this weekend I will try them all. I hope never to see a skunk again. Also, after this interaction with a skunk I would not recommend having one as a pet.
Vagirl3 on July 21, 2008:
This sounds just like what happened to my collie Abby at our river place last year. It was by far the worst experience of our lives. We were trying to extend our long weekend and head home for work early on a Monday morning. Long story short we let Abby out before got into the car and walked back inside to get the last of our things.....then we smelled it....I couldn't see her...it was totally dark and she came whimpering around the corner.....eyes watering and mouth foaming....I thought she was going to die...so she came inside and i tried washing her just in the shower b/c we had no internet. Well long story short we had to get her in the car and take the longest 90 minute drive home in our lives!!! I kept the window open and she had her nose out the window the whole time. Once home I hit the internet and found the same solution you used (only after we tried tomato juice which didn't touch the smell). After we used the solution by boyfriend could put his face right in her fur. We also washed her with it again the next day. We had to head back to our vacation home after a week to de-skunk....luckily it was limited to a small area in the den and of course the shower. I scrubbed the carpet with the same solution and it worked wonders. Sorry you had the same experience....but it is great to know someone really understands how bad it is!!
ForTheLove from Godforsaken, Iowa on October 24, 2007:
Excellent hub you've got here! I've never been sprayed by a skunk, but my uncle did have one as a pet... Look for my upcoming skunks as pets hub ;-)
Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on October 12, 2007:
Thanks for the education, Hillbilly Gardener. Although I doubt I'll be taking one in as a pet anytime soon, I do have a newfound respect for the skunk. I haven't seen any in the yard since the incident, (which is a good thing, because my wife is totally freaked out), but I'm definitely an animal lover. Thanks for the facts. (That would make a great Hub, by the way!)
HillbillyGardener from Bolivar on October 12, 2007:
Havin' grown up with skunks and also having had several as pets (they are extremely good pets), both scented and descented, let me clear up a few misconceptions.
1) The incidence of skunks having rabies is extremely low (contrary to what the news tells). If you listen to the news, they will make you believe that all skunks are foaming, seething, attack anything that moves rabies machines. Nothing could be further from the truth.
2) Skunks are naturally very shy and NEVER attack. Yet they are attacked at every oportunity by everything both four and two legged. Skunks will only spray if attacked or startled as a natural defense mechanism.
3) Skunks are instinctively curious and friendly. Wild skunks can be taught to trust humans and will actually learn rather quickly to eat out of your hand without doing any harm to you. They will actually learn to enjoy you presence.
4) While they will occasionally eat a free meal of garbage, they much prefer to spend their evenings digging and eating the grubs that are destroying your lawn as well as a whole host of other insects that you don't want around.
5) The best AND SAFEST WAY to rid your pet or yourself of skunk odor is to bathe well first with warm water and soap and then rinse well with tomato and lemon juice and let it soak for a few minutes.
Skunks make excellent, gentle, curious and playful pets that are easily leash trained. Skunks are also quite clean and can be house broken realatively easily. If the skunk is not descented (illegal in most states thankfully as this is it's only means of defense), simply attach a small bell to the laces of your shoes so that you do not startle them and you will never bother you.
the "Hillbilly Gardener"
gredmondson on October 02, 2007:
Thanks for this Hub. A few days ago I was driving into our garage at night (the garage is behind the house at the end of a long driveway) and I was surprised to see a skunk meandering across the concrete just in front of the garage door. He was coming from where we have some avacado trees, and I have since wondered if skinks eat fruit. It ws a large, adult skunk. We live in the city (central coast of California), but on two acres, and there is a vacant lot behind our house, so maybe the skunk is surviving there.
Are skunks dangerous to cats, dogs or other pets?
Although skunks are treated like pets in some parts of the world, they are pretty demanding pet that you can have. In case they live next to your suburban home there are some facts which you have to know in order to protect yourself and your pets as well. Skunks are incorporated in the family of marten, weasel, badgers and skunks. They came in America 300 years ago in ships where they were used as controllers of mouse and rat population since they had greater success in it than cats. Throughout history they have been used to chase and kill rabbits, and in some part of England they are still trained so. If you are having rabbits as a home pet, and your house is nearby skunk habitat, think twice.
If you need skunk help, click the nationwide directory of Professional Wildlife Removal Companies, and you'll find a skunk expert in your town or city.
Skunk belongs to family of carnivores. They have rough and hard canine teeth with very strong grip and bite. Small skunks have elongated and elastic body covered with soft fur with short and very moving legs. Their ears are small and soft, and their tail is long and covered with fur. Their eyesight is weak, they are often deaf, but they have an incredible sense of smell. As we all know skunks have a specific smell. In the breeding season the odor is more intensive and represents one of their main weapon when in conflicted situation.
To prevent them from visiting your house yard never live food outdoor after feeding your pets and by all means never feed them in order to domesticate skunks, after all they are wild animals. Another think you should never do is living your garbage cans opened. It represents food supply for them. All this is to prevent them from paying you a visit, and endangering your pet security. How can they harm your pets? The most important is that you are aware that skunks can pass bacteria and viruses on your pets if they are near them. The most harmful disease they can pass to humans and pets too is rabies. If you are seeing skunks during the day it can indicate that something is wrong with them. In situations like this is better to be safe then sorry meaning one should stay away from them. Best to do in cases like this is to contact Animal control and they we know best how to deal with it. Considering all this one should reconsider decision on having them as a house pets. Read the full guide What Are The Symptoms of A Sick Skunk? For more information on how to get rid of skunks, go to my skunk removal information page.
Select Your Animal
Raccoons Raccoon Removal Information & How-To Tips
You might think raccoons are cute little fellas after watching Guardians of the Galaxy or other funny movies. But in fact, they are fierce and vicious little killers who hunt for sport.
A raccoon can definitely kill or wound a very small dog but bigger dogs will typically win the fight. But this doesn’t mean that the dog won’t get wounded badly or fatally.
Raccoons are amazing swimmers and they will often try to take the fight to the water. This might often cause the dog to drown after getting several bites or scratches on the front or in the face. Raccoons have been known to go after the eyes or leave deep bites that can even penetrate the skin and puncture the lungs.
Raccoons will typically hunt at night so if you keep Fido indoor during the night you will probably not have any bad experiences with raccoons.
How to Get Rid of Skunk Stink on Dogs
Summer months, with their sunny days and warm nights, are prime time for critter activity. Cityside and countryside, animals are out and about, searching for food and a good place to raise their young. Skunks are no exception, and while they aren’t looking for trouble, they know what to do when it finds them.
Skunks tend to mate in February and give birth to a litter of kits in May or June. So, by late summer, young, inexperienced skunks are beginning to venture out into the world. (Skunk, meet dog.) If we’re our dogs’ best friends, the striped skunk has to be one of their worst. Even the skunk’s scientific name—Mephitis mephitis, from the Latin word meaning “stench”—references the eye-watering odor of their defensive spray.
HOW DO SKUNKS SPRAY AND WHY DOES IT SMELL SO BAD?
It’s only natural that our pooches would be interested in a critter that goes by the name of “polecat,” but woe to those who get too close—a single encounter can leave them stinking to high heaven.
Skunks are armed with dual scent glands, one on either side of the anus, each of which holds almost an ounce of malodorous organic chemicals strong enough to repel a bear. They also get points for distance powerful muscles surrounding the glands can propel the musk several feet from their body. The odiferous, oily liquid is extremely volatile, meaning, it vaporizes quickly and soaks into everything it touches.
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As to why it smells so bad—here’s some data for your inner chemistry nerd. The pungent odor, which can be described as a mix of rotten eggs and burning tires, comes from volatile organosulfur compounds called thiols, mostly E-2-butene-1-thiol and 3-methyl-1-butanethiol. Thiols are backed up by thioacetates, which, on their own, aren’t especially stinky until they get wet. Thioacetates are why you need to resist the urge to wet down your dog before you attempt to de-skunk him. Water plus thioacetates equals an even smellier dog and a less-effective remedy.
If your dog is sprayed by a skunk, before you wash him, check to make sure he hasn’t taken a direct hit to the eyes. If he has, veterinarian Rebecca Burwell, DACVO, of Eye Care for Animals in Santa Rosa, Calif., recommends using an artificial-tear solution or eye wash to flush out the eyes, and a visit to the vet if they become red, squinty or develop a discharge. A trip to the vet is also recommended if he’s been scratched or bitten.
Fortunately for canine victims, the total volume of spray is small and permanent injury is rare, although there have been reports of serious consequences, and even death, from severe exposures. The thiols in skunk spray can remove an electron from the iron atom in hemoglobin, resulting in an anemia that causes lethargy, black feces and brown urine. According to Mary Thrall, DVM, MS, DACVP, “Life-threatening anemia doesn’t happen very often, but owners should be aware of this possibility, and have their animal checked following a direct spray.”
HOW TO GET RID OF SKUNK SMELL ON DOGS
Several over-the-counter deodorizing products, most of them featuring enzymes, are available in pet supply stores and online. Here’s a good, science-based recipe for a homemade remedy that breaks up the oils and tamps down the odor, developed by chemist Paul Krebaum in the early 1990s. Note: This mix is relatively mild but must be kept out of the dog’s eyes, ears and mouth!
• A clean plastic bucket in which to mix the ingredients.
• 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. (Other strengths are not recommended. Peroxide is usually sold in pint bottles, so you’ll need two. Use fresh peroxide from unopened bottles.)
• 1/4 cup baking soda. (Do not use washing soda, which is much stronger and will burn your dog’s skin.)
• 1 to 2 teaspoons of a liquid detergent. (Softsoap and Ivory Liquid are preferred)
• Latex gloves are also a good idea.
How to Use It:
1. Apply to the DRY dog, working well into the fur.
2. Let stand for about five minutes.
3. Rinse with tepid water.
4. Repeat if necessary. (And yes, it’s likely to be necessary.)
Do not store this mixture it loses its effectiveness and, more importantly, it releases oxygen gas, which could cause a closed container to explode. It may bleach the dog’s fur (but better that than the smell!). And remember, the sooner you deal with the skunking, the better. Left alone, the smell sets and is harder to eliminate.
Why It Works
This de-skunking mixture contains hydrogen peroxide, a strong oxidizing agent that reacts with the thiol (SH), removes electrons and adds oxygen atoms to generate an odor-free sulfonic acid (SHO3). Baking soda buffers the acid, and detergent helps remove the oily, hydrophobic (water-repelling) sulfonic acids.
HOW TO REMOVE SKUNK SMELL FROM YOURSELF
If you’re the one who got skunked, your first step in neutralizing the odor is to bathe. Wash your entire body with deodorant soap or a grease-cutting dish detergent. Wash your hair with a shampoo made for oily hair.
You can also take a baking-soda bath. Pour 2 to 4 cups of baking soda into hot water, soak for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse well under the shower to remove the residue from your skin.
No, Tomato Juice Doesn’t Work
A widely held urban myth claims that a tomato-juice bath eliminates skunk odor. Sadly, it’s not true. Tomato products may help mask the odor, but they do not oxidize or destroy the thiols or thioacetates that cause it. (The same goes for remedies containing beer and oatmeal.)
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ENCOUNTER A SKUNK
We asked a trainer for advice on keeping dogs away from skunks. Here’s what she had to say.
If you spot a skunk while out walking with your dog, immediately stop and maintain your distance. Leash and/or keep your dog close and slowly retreat, encouraging your dog to follow you. When you’re beyond the 10- to 15-foot spray range, move away and continue your walk in open areas, avoiding brush and the wooded areas where skunk encounters are most common. Or, if your dog is already “on point” and close to the skunk, call her to come and quickly walk in the opposite direction, urging her to follow you. This is when a solid recall really pays off!
Despite their odoriferous reputation, skunks are generally easy-going animals and do not bother people unless harassed. They use their powerful defense only when they or their young are threatened and they cannot escape. Dogs, following their curious nature, may heighten the “threat” from the skunk’s perspective. If you find yourself with a skunk problem, the Humane Society offers some compassionate advice.
Skunks aren’t fond of being out in the open, and they’ll tend to stick to any cover they can find. Get rid of any junk, such as piles of lumber and old cars, to minimize potential den spots. Block any openings under buildings so skunks can’t hide under there at night or turn the space below your house or tool shed into a comfy skunk den.
If you find that a skunk is sleeping in your yard, use the radio to make him sorry he came. Set a radio near where skunks may be hiding and turn it on. Tune it to a talk radio station for best effect. Put the radio where it can’t get wet and just leave it on. Don't block the skunk’s escape with the radio or you might find you’ve made him afraid to come out from his hiding spot. Once your unwelcome guest leaves, block the hole so he can’t return.
De-skunking your dog
Skunks live all over the place and if your dog gets curious about one, they may end up with a face full of stink. If your pooch gets sprayed, there are ways you can rid them of the scent without having to buy up every can of tomato juice in the area.
Over-the-counter products (such as Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover) are a quick fix, but if you don't have that on hand, you can prep the solution below.
Step 1: Keep your dog outside
You'll probably want to keep your dog outside while you get it together so they don't carry the smell indoors. Check their eyes if they're irritated or red, immediately flush them with cool water.
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Step 2: Mix the Ingredients
- 1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide (available at any pharmacy)
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap
Wearing rubber gloves, wash your dog with this solution immediately after they've been sprayed. DO NOT get the solution in their eyes. (If you don't have peroxide, baking soda, and liquid soap on hand, use vinegar diluted with water.)
Caution: Do NOT store this mixture or make it ahead of time, as the mixture could explode if left in a bottle.
Step 3: Clean and rinse
Rub the mixture through their fur, but don't leave it on too long (peroxide can bleach fur). Rinse them thoroughly.
Step 4: Shampoo
Next, wash your dog with pet shampoo and rinse thoroughly. By now, they should be de-skunked and smelling sweet. Thoroughly towel-dry your dog, and be sure to place them in a warm, sunny room for the next couple of hours so that they don't get chilled.
If your dog rubbed some of the stink onto you, you can rid your clothes of the smell by using regular laundry detergent mixed with a half-cup of baking soda.