Skunks are actually quite reluctant to use their world famous spray, since they do not carry around a lot of it — just 15 ml (compare that to the 250 ml in a small cup of coffee), good enough for just five squirts. Besides, it takes a while — up to ten days — to replenish. Anybody whose dog has been at the receiving end of a skunk’s spray will have difficulty believing that such a small quantity is involved; as a matter of fact, all they want to know is how to get rid of the awful stink. Follow these simple steps to banish the odor.
Secure Your Dog Outdoors
Getting your dog sprayed by a skunk is bad enough; if you allow him to come indoors, it is more than just possible that some of the spray will rub off on to your favorite soft furniture — you don’t want that!
Use strong well-fitted rubber gloves. These will be easy to clean later. Alternatively, put on a pair of disposable latex gloves. Also, it could make sense to change into a set of old clothes, possibly the ones you last painted your house in … if you still have them, or some other clothing that you don’t mind discarding.
Locate the Offending Spot
A typical squirt from a skunk is just three ml. That’s less than a teaspoonful. So it’s likely that a very specific area of your dog has the vast majority of the spray. Locate it; then, over the next few steps, focus on it.
Use Absorbent Tissue
Carefully apply absorbent tissue to the targeted area to mop up what you can. On completion, place all the tissue into a ziploc plastic bag before disposing of it along with your regular garbage.
Prepare the Krebaum Solution
Many consider the homemade solution, a formulation devised by a chemist, Paul Krebaum, to be the ultimate de-skunking solution. This is how to prepare it: using a two litre container, gently mix one litre of fresh three percent hydrogen peroxide, 50 ml of baking soda and a teaspoon of liquid dish soap. The mixture will fizz; that’s normal.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
- Lather, as vigorously as feasible, the affected area
- Cover with a towel to prevent your dog from shaking off the solution
- Wait for about five minutes
- Rinse thoroughly
- Repeat several times to remove the odor completely. In the last lather, use all the remaining solution over the entire body.
A Regular Bath
Finally, give your pet a complete bath using his regular shampoo. Dry your “sweet-smelling wonder boy” with a towel or let him air dry. Don’t use a hair dryer because that could cause any remaining skunk spray to solidify, thus slowing its dissipation. If skunk spray does solidify, it will be very difficult to get rid of it; he would carry a faint odor with him for days. Not very nice at all.
Do not attempt to store any remaining “Krebaum” solution since a sealed container can explode. Also, solution stored in an unsealed container will quickly lose its effectiveness.
It is quite possible that besides being sprayed, your dog actually had a physical encounter with the skunk. You need to carefully examine him for bites. Any broken skin demands immediate veterinary attention because skunks are carriers of rabies.
Close encounters with wildlife tend to provide a sort of high to a dog, so it is quite possible that your pet has managed to elude you long enough to taint items in the house. If there’s removable fabric — for example, your pet has managed to brush some of the skunk’s spray on to your clothes — run them through a regular laundry cycle adding about half a cup of baking soda to the usual quantity of soap. Don’t use the electric dryer; instead, hang dry the clothes outdoors.
A Final Word
Skunks are cute animals … at a distance. If your dog has a close encounter, you can convert that disaster into a fun hour playing with homemade chemicals and water. Get your kids to help. One thing’s for sure: your dog will love the attention.
Calvin is the co-founder and one of the main contributors to dogtemperament.com. He has been an avid dog lover all his life. He enjoys researching and sharing great ideas on how you can avoid common pitfalls of dog ownership and build the most loving and enjoyable relationship with your dog.