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Ask AKC: Dog Meets Skunk

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

Dear Lisa: My Chow Chow just met "Pepe Le Pew." Need I say more? I gave him a bath but he still stinks. I've heard of some other remedies, including a tomato juice bath, but what really works to rid of the skunk smell from his coat? --Odiferous in Ohio
As dog owners we all have our favorite "skunking" stories. Mine includes my dog's facial skunking the morning my grandmother came to visit my new home for the first time. I brought my squinty-eyed dog into the basement until I could bathe her later, after my luncheon. Big mistake! By the time Grandma arrived, my house had lost that "lemony-fresh" smell. What replaced it could only be described as pungent enough to wrinkle the nose of an old Swiss woman.

Rule number one: Do not bring the dog in the house if you can avoid it. As long as the skunk oil remains on the dog's coat, it will remain in the air that you breathe. Getting a proper remedy to remove the oil as soon as possible is the key to fresh air.

Over the years I have tried several remedies including the popular Bloody Mary mix (hold the celery) to pour over my dog's head. While these homemade remedies are great for masking the odor they do not eliminate it.

The Best Solution
I don't remember when or where I learned about the following solution but the first time I used it, it was an instant success. The recipe is as follows:

1/4 cup of baking soda
1-2 teaspoons of mild dishwashing detergent like Ivory Snow
1 quart of 3 percent Hydrogen Peroxide solution
Mix in a bucket and use immediately
Work the foaming mixture well into the coat
Leave on for five minutes
Rinse with warm water
Follow with dog shampoo if desired

The quicker you can get the dog in the tub the better the result since the oil hasn't saturated into the hair yet.

Use Caution
Be careful around the dog's eyes as this is a potent formula. Don't use a higher than 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution as it may burn. Mix it fresh, use it and discard it. If you store this mixture in a closed container it will explode. The hydrogen peroxide may bleach the coat (think bleached blond) so be careful on those black dogs. The less time the solution stays on the less likely for bleaching. But ultimately the choice is yours -- a bleached beauty or a wrinkled nose.

 

If you have a question, send it to Lisa at AskLisa@AKC.org and she may select it for a future column. Due to the high volume of questions she cannot offer individual responses.

Comments (12)

  • 10 Apr, 2009

    Any reputable Veterinarian has a product that can instantly elimantate skunk odor. And it's also safe for your pet.

  • 1 Apr, 2009

    There is a new product called Zero here is the url http://www.petproductadvisor.com/store/mc/zero-odor-cat.aspx?utm_source=...

  • 1 Apr, 2009

    I can testify to the baking soda, peroxide and dish detergent remedy. I had a min pin/Maltese mix breed dog that loved to chase skunks...I don't think her smeller worked very well. She's been gone 4 years now, and I haven't had to use it since.

  • 1 Apr, 2009

    There is a truly wonderful commercial product called "Skunk Off". Most vets and horse supply stores carry it. I poured about a cup of the product into a metal tub we kept outdoors and swirled it around. Then I led my dog in and doused her with it over and over again. 15 minutes later she was odor free and it didn't seem to bother her eyes at all. I learned my lesson and keep at least half a bottle on the shelf at all times!

  • 1 Apr, 2009

    I use a version of this a lot since skunks are in abundance where we live and my 4 dogs always get sprayed. Dawn dish soap breaks up the oil in the skunk spray fastest... also, skunks hate stinky things... so if you know where they come through a fence, or such, either spray a bit of ammonia or spray it on strips of old cotton cloth and tie it to the fence or bush... they stop coming around. It works.

  • 1 Apr, 2009

    I use a version of this a lot since skunks are in abundance where we live and my 4 dogs always get sprayed. Dawn dish soap breaks up the oil in the skunk spray fastest... also, skunks hate stinky things... so if you know where they come through a fence, or such, either spray a bit of ammonia or spray it on strips of old cotton cloth and tie it to the fence or bush... they stop coming around. It works.

  • 1 Apr, 2009

    I use a version of this a lot since skunks are in abundance where we live and my 4 dogs always get sprayed. Dawn dish soap breaks up the oil in the skunk spray fastest... also, skunks hate stinky things... so if you know where they come through a fence, or such, either spray a bit of ammonia or spray it on strips of old cotton cloth and tie it to the fence or bush... they stop coming around. It works.

  • 1 Apr, 2009

    I use a version of this a lot since skunks are in abundance where we live and my 4 dogs always get sprayed. Dawn dish soap breaks up the oil in the skunk spray fastest... also, skunks hate stinky things... so if you know where they come through a fence, or such, either spray a bit of ammonia or spray it on strips of old cotton cloth and tie it to the fence or bush... they stop coming around. It works.

  • 1 Apr, 2009

    I use a version of this a lot since skunks are in abundance where we live and my 4 dogs always get sprayed. Dawn dish soap breaks up the oil in the skunk spray fastest... also, skunks hate stinky things... so if you know where they come through a fence, or such, either spray a bit of ammonia or spray it on strips of old cotton cloth and tie it to the fence or bush... they stop coming around. It works.

  • 1 Apr, 2009

    We have used this recipe on our two babies, Heidi and Tate, and it does work wonders. However, it does generally take more than one application to get rid of the odor and most of the time the smell doesn't disappear completely.

  • 1 Apr, 2009

    We have used this recipe on our two babies, Heidi and Tate, and it does work wonders. However, it does generally take more than one application to get rid of the odor and most of the time the smell doesn't disappear completely.