Sorting out the Stink: Removing Skunk Smell from Dogs

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Your dog has just been skunked, and gone from 'best buddy' to ''Billy no mates"  in a nano-second. To restore their former sweetness means getting rid of that awful stink, but what's the best way to do this?

Skunk Smell Trivia

But first, some skunk trivia.

Skunk spray is the animal equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction. It certainly destroys all hope of getting up close and pawsonal to your pet! But did you know:

  • The vile smell is down to sulfates (think, rotten eggs) and thiols (a substance added to natural gas to alert us to danger).

  • The stomach-turning stench is manufactured in the skunk's anal glands, beside the rectum.

  • Once deployed, it takes the skunk 10 days to manufacture a new batch of deadly smell.

Sorting out the Stink

What are the best bets for restoring sweetness?

#1: Commercial Products

OK this may sound a cop-out, but some commercial formulations are extremely effective - you just need to know which ones to choose.

We recommend:

  • Skunk Off: Made by Thornell and retailed through your vet this is available as a deodorizing spray or shampoo. Thornell specializes in odor removal products and are trusted by vets to do the job.

  • Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover: Does what it says on the bottle. It uses enzymes to break down the molecules causing the bad smell. It must be left on the dog for 10 minutes then rinsed well.

  • Massengill: Formulated as a human feminine hygiene product, when diluted to 2 ounces per 1 gallon of water it makes an effective rinse for skunk stricken dogs.

#2: Home Remedy

So your dog just got skunked and you haven't got a commercial product. Fear not! This home formulation is tried and recommended by many. The recipe requires:

  • 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide

  • ¼ cup of baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap

Combine the ingredients together immediately before use (don't make and store!)

Use paper towel to blot off any excess skunk oil from the dog's coat. Then soak the dog in this solution, but take care not to get it in their eyes. Rub it into the fur and then rinse well.

Also,  be aware that peroxide can bleach dark colored fur.

#3: Tomato Juice

Actually, just kidding, this one is an urban myth that's not advised.

Many people recommend soaking a skunked dog in tomato juice, as the acidity of the juice may help neutralize the odor. Unfortunately, a dog's skin is very sensitive and many develop severe dermatitis (skin inflammation) as a result of contact with tomato juice. This one is therefore best avoided since you may sort the stink but be left with a very sore dog.

And finally...

If your dog is skunked, make life easier on yourself by keeping them outside while you get changed into old clothing. Grap plenty of paper towel and towels you can dispose of afterwards. And to avoid getting the smell on your hands, wear disposable latex gloves whilst washing the dog.

 

In an ideal world, plan ahead and purchase a bottle of anti-skunk shampoo, but when the horse has already bolted, go for a home solution instead. Just be aware that peroxide can bleach fur and soft furnishings, and if this is a concern... then good luck with a clothespin on the nose as your next best option!