The days are getting shorter, temperatures are beginning to fall, and the animals outside are getting bolder as they single-mindedly prepare for winter’s chill. Just when you think it’s safe to go for a nice evening walk… SKUNKED!
So, that funny-looking black-and-white cat wasn’t a cat, after all—and you have the stinking-to-high-heaven dog to prove it. What do you do now?
Growing up in California, skunks were an integral part of every summer. Back in the bad old days, treating a skunked dog meant clamoring around for gallons of tomato juice, endless cleaning up of said juice, and—adding insult to injury—discovering your dog still smelled horrible! Everyone was miserable, and there was little to do but wait for the stench to dissipate… which usually happened right about the time the dog got sprayed again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Most dogs are surprisingly slow to learn that chasing a skunk never ends well. This means we, as dog guardians, have had a whole lot of opportunities to figure out what works to get that nasty stink out of our furry friends. The recipe below is cheap, easy, and effective. I keep the ingredients in a bag in the pantry, right by my back door—so I can grab it and use it on the dog outside, with the hose. (Better yet, put it in a small plastic bucket.) I marked the bag “SKUNK KIT” and put instructions inside, in case I’m lucky enough not to be the one doing the de-skunk-ifying (hope springs eternal). This system is so easy, the trickiest part is remembering to restock the kit after using it.
Of course, you can always take your skunked dog to a professional groomer—PetSmart has salons in more than 1,000 locations across the country—but give this a try in the meantime. I think you’ll be surprised by how effective a 5-minute bath with this concoction can be!
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 1 quart hydrogen peroxide (3% solution)
- 2 teaspoons dish soap (preferably Dawn)
I also add a teaspoon measure and a ¼-cup measure, plus an absorbent towel or two.
Combine the baking soda, peroxide, and soap in a bucket or bowl. Add up to a quart of water (just reuse the peroxide bottle) to make more solution as needed for a larger dog. Saturate any stinky fur, avoiding eyes and nose. Let sit for 5 minutes. Rinse well with clear water and towel dry.
That’s it! Don’t forget to restock the kit!