First thing’s first, let me explain something about skunk smell for the benefit of the uninitiated out there. All of my previous experience with this delightful scent has been from the comfort of a car, driving by an area where a skunk had either sprayed or met its unfortunate demise. And, honestly, I didn’t see what the big deal was. Sure, it’s not something that I’d recommend as an option for a Glade Plug-In, but what was all the hoopla about?
Then, my pup Priscilla got skunk’d. Now I know. Oh boy, do I know. As a kid, I watched a lot of cartoons. Pepe Le Pew was among the selection and I always found his escapades to be entertaining, but I never quite got the fear that was in the eyes of his little lady victims. (On a side note, I think that they could do a whole season of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit just based around Pepe Le Pew.) Just look into the eyes of this cartoon cat. She is horrified, confused and desperate to escape the assault on her senses. (Not to mention the embrace of an unwanted suitor. Get a clue, Le Pew!)
Something had to be done about Priscilla immediately. I had an hour and a half drive ahead of me, and I couldn’t imagine doing so with this utterly stink-contaminated dog sitting in the back seat. This is one of those times that I truly thanked all of the digital deities for the internet. Should you ever go through this experience, let the terror and befuddlement pass as quickly as possible and then follow these simple steps.
Step 1: MacGyver Mode
Yes! All of that 80’s television is finally paying off!
Hopefully, you will have these basic items available in your home. If not, I suggest that you finish reading this article and then run to your local pharmacy and purchase them.
- 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide
- 1/4 cup of baking soda
- 2 Tablespoons of dishwashing detergent or liquid soap
- Old towels
- Unicorn tears (optional)
DO NOT BRING YOUR DOG INTO THE HOUSE UNLESS YOU PLAN TO MOVE TO A NEW HOUSE! You can sit them down for a lecture later. Now is the time for action!
- First and foremost, check to make sure that your dog has not been scratched or injured in any way. If he/she has, get your vet on the phone.
- Next, in a bucket – or other container – mix together all of the above ingredients, except the towels. It will make a nice fizzy sound. Mix it until all of the baking soda is dissolved. You’ll have a nice paste-like mixture. If you have a big dog like I do, add a little lukewarm water. You will want to use this solution immediately.
- If you are wearing clothes that you care about, change. If you have a HAZMAT suit available, now is the time to use it.
- Do not wet your dog first. Being careful not to get any of the solution into your dog’s eyes, ears, or mouth, aggressive rub down the affected areas. To be safe, I covered my whole dog and recommend that you do the same. Dip a washcloth in the solution and carefully apply to your dog’s face, again, avoiding the eyes, ears, and nose.
- Now, wait at least 5 minutes. It is a good opportunity to try to explain skunks to your dog.
- After lecture time is done, rinse your dog. In all likelihood, it will still smell but hopefully not as bad as before. Repeat steps 2 through 6.
- Thoroughly dry your dog. For some reason, the wetness seems to activate the smell.
Step 2: Further Action
Congratulations! You are now ready to give your dog yet another bath. It should be safe to run to your local pet store and pick up a skunk smell remedy. I used Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover. It seems to have mostly done the trick. Follow the instructions. It is basically the same process as above.
Odds are that your house is probably a wee bit on the stinky side. Open all of your windows to air it out. I mixed some of the Nature’s Miracle with some Febreeze and sprayed that around. I also liberally sprinkled my house with baking soda, let it sit for half an hour, and then vacuumed. My house is now skunk-smell-free.
I’ve been told by others that have gone through this that I should be prepared to be the proud owner of a stinky dog for 6 months to a year. It seems that getting wet will reactivate any residual smell. I honestly don’t detect it on her unless I bury my face in her neck and inhale, but my wife doesn’t feel the same.
Note: Don’t use tomato juice on your dog. It is a myth and really just temporarily masks the odor. Plus, I’ve read that, if you use it on a white or light colored dog, it can dye them pink (which honestly made me tempted to use the tomato juice).
If you have had a skunk encounter with your pup and have a solution or remedy that you recommend, by all means share it below!