Last week as we sat out on the back patio of our new (rental) home waiting for the temperature to drop just a degree or two, we saw a little family of skunks casually walk out of a pile of brush in the back of our yard and through a small hole in the fence.
I knew exactly what that meant: I had to prepare for the eventuality of the dog getting sprayed by the skunk. Awesome.
I also, fyi, gave the kiddos a little education on what a skunk looks like, what the difference is between a skunk and a cat or a skunk and a squirrel, and why exactly it’s so important for us to NEVER go close to one.
I did a little research, but I’ll be honest: I didn’t prepare a thing. I took a few precautions, though. I took the dog for a walk before bed instead of letting her poke around in the dark backyard for 20 minutes; I didn’t let her out in the backyard unless there were humans out there with her. When that smelly moment came, however, it was about 10am and I was outside with her. (Though thankfully not close to her.)
I was hanging laundry on the line when I first smelled it. After a while, it dissipated but came back full-force when the dog walked over. Whoops. My dog got skunked. We tied her to the front of the back yard (so she wouldn’t get skunked a second time) and headed out to the grocery store for some de-skunking ingredients.
Fortunately for all of us with curious or rodent-hunting dogs, it’s really cheap to de-skunk a dog, and you might even already have the ingredients in your pantry.
A few things to remember as you get ready to de-skunk your dog:
Never let a skunked dog back inside your house before you’ve cleaned the skunk oil off. That smell is potent outside and even worse inside. It is way easier to de-skunk a dog than it is to de-skunk your couch.
Don’t touch the skunked dog with your hands or your clothes. Again, skunk oil is potent, and a friend of mine had to throw away an outfit because the oil had worked its way into the fibre of her clothing.
How to De Skunk a Dog
Here’s what you’ll need:
Tomato Juice (optional)
1 bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1 Tbsp Dawn Dish Soap
Your Dog’s Regular Gentle Shampoo
A basin or bin that your dog will fit into
An old towel
Here’s how you do it:
- Don your rubber gloves. Put the dog in the basin, remove collar or harness (set aside).
- [optional step. This one is an age old skunk remedy, and I thought, while I'm at it, I might as well.] Pour the tomato juice over the dog and work in with your fingers. Give your pup a nice little massage. Hose off, empty the basin, put the dog back in.
- In a bowl, mix together the peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap. Using a cupped hand or a mug, ladle the mixture all over the dog (avoiding eyes, ears, nose, and mouth) and again, massage into the fur. The baking soda and peroxide will neutralize the odor as the Dawn cuts the oil. Don’t leave on too long, as the peroxide can irritate your dog’s skin and bleach his fur. Rinse well with the hose. Repeat if you’re still smelling some skunk.
- Finish with your dog’s regular shampoo as per instructions on the bottle.
- Towel the poor dog off and give her a few treats.
- Soak the collar or harness in the leftover peroxide mixture for a few minutes, then rinse it off and let it dry.
If you don’t get all of the oil off the first time around, the smell will come back, so it’s important to do a thorough job the first time around. However, if you do have to repeat it, it’s not a huge deal. Just keep a few bottles of peroxide in the cupboard , because chances are, if it happens once, it’ll happen again. Our furry friends are lovable, but they don’t always learn from their mistakes.
Smell ya later, guys.
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