Holy Cow That Stinks – Dog and Skunk Encounters
Just thinking about the smell, the nightmare, the panic; having a dog be sprayed by a skunk is scenario that fills all dog owners with dread.
Obviously, the best way to avoid this predicament is preventing your dog from encountering a skunk. But that is easier said than done as there are dogs and skunks seemingly everywhere, and sometimes they do mix.
Skunks are most active at dawn and dusk during the warmer months. When threatened, they are capable of spraying an incredibly foul-smelling, oily substance over substantial distances. As a result, dogs that get sprayed tend to take the brunt of it in their face and front. While it is unlikely to cause permanent damage, time is of the essence. The longer the spray sits the worse it is for you and your dog, and the rancid smell of untreated skunk oil can last for months.
Below, we have outlined a procedure that we have been using for years. It is based on science rather than old wives’ tales, it works like a charm and costs next to nothing. Keep the following items at hand year-round but make sure they are relatively fresh. Going to the store after your dog has been sprayed wastes valuable time:
- A set of old rain gear and rubber boots, as well as latex gloves (for you!).
- One 16 fl oz bottle of hydrogen peroxide, one box (1 lbs) of baking soda, one tablespoon of Dawn (or similar) dish soap and a bowl. This will be sufficient for a medium size dog. Double the ingredients for a large dog or if you have two dogs that have been sprayed.
- An outdoor place with access to plenty of water (garden hose or buckets) and a tree or stake to tie your dog’s leash to.
Follow the steps below for a clean, fresh, stink-free dog:
1. Put on your protective gear and sequester your dog outside. Skunk oil transferred to rugs and other items in the house will last a long time. Having a helper will make things easier.
2. Mix hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap in a bowl, using your gloved hands.
3. Wet down your dog briefly and immediately take small portions of the mix and rub it thoroughly into the dog’s coat. Use more where the dog got sprayed (the front presumably) and less in other areas but work the mix into the entire coat if you can’t see where the dog got sprayed. Use a cloth around the face of your dog and be careful around eyes, nose, and mouth. Use only half of the mixture you made, you will need the other half later on.
4. Let the mixture have contact with your dog’s coat for about ten minutes (not longer!). Rinse the dog with plenty of water.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4, using the other half of the mixture you had set aside earlier.
6. Dry off your dog and marvel in the fact that you went from smelly horror to a fresh dog in 30 minutes.
As a sidenote, basic science is the reason that this mixture works so well. It causes a chemical reaction that transforms skunk oil into an odorless and water soluble substance that you can simply rinse off.
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