Unlike our favourite Looney Tune Pepé Le Pew, real-life skunks are not sociable rodents who frolic in the open looking for love. Rather, they hide in dark areas scouting for food and, unfortunately for man’s best friend, do not appreciate playful natures of any kind; in fact, they retaliate in quite an extreme manner. When a dog sticks its nose where it doesn’t belong, it becomes victim to the skunk’s defense mechanism and is attacked with a putrid smelling spray.
Removing the odour is quite a challenging process. Since we rarely have skunk shampoos at home, here are some homemade recipes so you can act fast and get rid of that stench quickly.
Skunks are waddling, black and white rodents with long, bushy tails that are part of the weasel family. Mostly active in the warmer months, skunks like to come out in the morning and at dusk to find their food because it is generally more quiet and they can move anonymously. They are non-aggressive animals and prefer flight over fight, but they certainly are not passive when faced with an enemy. They deter predators and other intimidating animals by spraying a mix of sulfur-containing chemicals, which are produced by two glands on each side of the anus. The spray can reach up to five meters and has a nauseating odour that can stick for months if it is not taken care of quickly. When dogs get sprayed, it is important to get rid of the smell immediately or it will stink up your entire home.
The most determining part of successfully removing skunk smell is how fast you can respond. When your dog runs home scared after being sprayed, it is important to act quickly because the longer you wait, the more the odour seeps into their fur and becomes increasingly difficult to expel. Once your dog has returned from the woods with its tail between its legs and you can smell the putrid scent, you must keep your dog outside and immediately change into clothes you don’t mind throwing out afterwards. Grab a pair of disposable gloves and get to work.
Check for Bites
Skunks prefer to use their defense mechanism if a foe gets too close, but that doesn’t mean they don’t bite. Skunks are common carriers of rabies, so if your dog is bitten, it is crucial to bring the dog to the vet immediately.
Store-bought shampoos are definitely a viable way to eliminate skunk smell. The only issue with these soaps is that people rarely buy them in anticipation. There are many factors that make finding skunk-off shampoo at any moment’s notice quite impossible. Perhaps you are out camping and far away from commercial activity, or it’s after hours and the stores are closed. The most crucial part of removing skunk smell from you dog is to do it immediately. The longer you wait, the harder it is to get out and the more treatments you’ll need to perform.
You might be surprised to hear that giving your dog a tomato juice bath doesn’t work. We’re not quite sure where that myth comes from and why so many people believe it, but it simply doesn’t get the smell out. Here is a homemade solution that actually works, and most store-bought shampoos use similar ingredients:
- 1 liter of 3% hydrogen peroxide
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of dishwashing soap
Soak your dog’s fur with water and then apply the mixture to the fur, being careful to avoid its eyes. Let the shampoo work for 10 minutes and rinse with water after the time is up. If the smell is still present after the first wash, repeat the process until clean.