Thursday, January 14, 2010


With all this talk about The Skunk Incident, I thought I might pass on a few tips and shortcuts I've learned over the last few years.

De-Skunking Tips for Dogs

  • Be prepared. Starting in spring, I make an Emergency Skunk Kit: One large box of baking soda, a gallon of distilled white vinegar, a small bottle of apple cider vinegar, two large bottles of hydrogen peroxide, baby wipes, rubber gloves, Dollar Store leashes, and a couple rags.
  • This is most likely going to happen at night. If you have more than one dog, check and see if each was skunked. They will be scared and shaky and possibly foaming at the mouth with significant nasal mucus in response to the spray.
  • Take off the dog's collar. Trust me, it's too much work to get the odor out, especially if it is leather. Pitch it, but make sure to get the license and ID tag off first!
  • Use the cheap-o Dollar Store leash as a lead by creating a slipknot. (Put the connecting end through the loop and it should cinch around the dog's neck.) This will keep the dog from slipping the collar if he tries to pull away. Check periodically to make sure you aren't pulling the lead too tight.
  • Bathe the dog first with regular dog shampoo. Skunk spray is oily and this will help break up the oils. Rinse throughly.
  • Lather De-Skunking mixture (recipe below) into your dog's fur, starting just behind the ears and cover the whole body. Use a washcloth on muzzle taking care to avoid the eyes. Let the lather sit for three-five minutes. Or, in my case, while you lather up the other dog.
  • Rinse throughly. Towel dry with a towel you've been meaning to throw out because you've had it since college. Use toweling dry to pet, talk in happy tones, good dog pep talk and give the pooch a biscuit.
  • Use the baby wipes two times a day to gently wipe muzzle, forehead, and area in between eyes.

De-Skunking Tips for the House

  • Close all the open windows for at least five hours. This prevents more of the "skunk cloud" from drifting into the house.
  • Turn on all fans that push the air out of the house, not recirculate.
  • You'll need eight small glasses. I use juice glasses. In four, put in 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. In the other four, put 2-3 tbsp of coffee grounds. Put one of each cup in the main rooms of your house. The vinegar absorbs odors, when it starts to get cloudy in a day or two, dump it.
  • Fresh Wave natural odor products work the best. I'm not saying this because they are all natural. When it comes to skunk, I personally don't care much about chemicals and how harmful they are as long as they get rid of that God-awful smell. The odor absorbing crystals and spray are not cheap, but worth every penny.
  • Oust. Oust. Oust. Every hour or so, just walk through the house spraying. (Not where candles are lit!)
  • Febreez odor neutralizing candles are pretty awesome. I'm not sure they do anything, but made me feel like it was getting better.
De-Skunking YOU:
  • Yup, you smell. If you care about the clothes you were wearing through the dog de-skunking, strip down and put them straight into the wash with two cups of vinegar. If your washer has an option for an extra rinse cycle, add another cup during that cycle. Dry as usual.
  • If you were part of the skunking (ninja skunk attacked while you were on a walk) one of the best ways to get the smell out of your own hair that doesn't involve peroxide is feminine douche. I'm not joking. Massengil could re-brand their entire line of non-scented douche as Skunk Be Gone. It works for the dog's fur, too-- and can be used as a second line of defense for breeds with thick undercoats.

De-Skunking Mixture:

Mix in a metal bowl:
1 quart hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
and 1 teaspoon liquid soap (any mild dish detergent)

Update: April 24, 2010

If your dogs have managed to kill a skunk like mine did yesterday, don't forget to hose down the kill site. Otherwise, you might have a dog who wants to relive his victory and roll in the grass where the animal had been.

Oh, and someone sent me this link I thought I would share Mythbusters: Ancient Death Ray Skunks

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