Skunk Dogs

If you have never experienced the pleasure of your lovable, cuddly pooch running up to you in excitement and leaning against your leg in happiness, then suddenly smelling that one stench – you know, that one particular, overwhelming smell of musk meets dirty socks meet dead animal that’s been simmering out in the hot, humid sun for days – then you’re missing something.

Skunk Dogs

Recently, both of our dogs managed to find such a smell.  Thankfully, their encounters with skunks were from a distance this time, as the smell didn’t overwhelm you on impact.  Mostly.

I’ve had to wash “skunk” out of dogs enough time I’ve almost – almost – gotten used to it.  I said almost.

We’ve tried tomato juice, tomato sauce, instant coffee (used to cut the hog smell right out of my dad’s hands after work), skunk-off products, Fabreeze (don’t judge), Bounty sheets, smelly soap, and just about any other smell-butt-kickin’ product out there.

But the one thing that has done the job above all else – a mixture of things almost every household has.

Dog De-Skunking Recipe:

1 quart hydrogen peroxide
1/4 (ish) cup baking soda
1-2 tsp Dawn dish soap

Mix together and use immediately.  Do not get it in their eyes or mouth.

Why this works:

Dawn cuts through anything, but the chemical reaction of the baking soda and peroxide actually helps to neutralize the skunk spray and therefore the smell.  The spray isn’t just a smell – it’s a substance.  Tomato juice, for all its popularity, just doesn’t cut it.  Soap, even the smelly stuff, doesn’t do it either – you need whatever makes the fizz from baking soda and peroxide to cut whatever it is that comes out of that skunk’s butt.

How we do it:

Keep the dog out of the house if possible (unless it’s going to run off and find another skunk!  And not every dog is welcome in the house, but keep it corralled for a garden hose).  Get your materials ready.  We usually put the baking soda and dawn in a bowl (do not put it in an enclosed container and shake – or you might get Old Faithful in your bathroom).  Stick the dog in the shower, dump the peroxide in the bowl, mix, and start pouring over the dog, rubbing it in.

It’s highly recommended to wear gloves – the reaction can irritate your hands, especially if you’re sensitive.  It’s also recommended to leave on the dog for 5 minutes, but I figure if my hands are irritated (because I’m a rebel and don’t wear gloves), then I’m not leaving it on my dog for that long.

Scrub it in, do your best not to get it in their eyes and mouth (although the face is where they tend to get sprayed; but peroxide is also used to induce vomiting if they ate something bad for doggies), rinse it off, and follow with a general soap/shampoo.  Even the dogs that come in unbearable will be good for moderate cuddling that night!

Has your dog ever been skunked?  Have you had to call the local pizza joint for tomato sauce?  Tell us your Skunk Dog story in the comments!

Melby on the Hunt


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