I remember a few years ago one summer night I let my dog out to do his business before bedtime. When I opened the door to let him back in I was faced with the most foul smell I've ever smelled. I knew right away it was skunk. He had been sprayed right on his chest! He ran into the house and into his crate, I frantically got him out, then he ran into our bedroom carrying that odor all throughout the house with him! Now there's an experience you will never forget! We quickly scoured the internet in search of a solution to get him cleaned and deodorized and also to get the smell out of the house. Just what we wanted to do at 1:00 in the morning! Here are a few tips I've come across and what personally worked for us...
The skunk is not an aggressive animal, but if threatened it will act in self-defense. When a skunk is startled is makes a warning sound like a purr or growl before emitting its sulphuric spray (mercaptan). It will warn its target by raising its tail, standing on its hind legs and stomping its feet. The oily spray is not only extremely foul smelling, but very hard to get out of a dog's fur. The quicker you act, the more chance you have of removing the odor. If you don't act quickly, skunk odor can remain for up to two years, especially when the dog gets wet.
Store Bought De-Skunking Products
There are several commercially made skunk odor removing products you can buy in most pet stores or on the internet. Most of these work well. You might consider purchasing a product to keep on hand.
Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover
Earth Friendly Skunk Odor Remover
Earth's Balance - Skunk Free
Petastic - Skunk Odor Eliminator
BioWorld Odor Neutralizer (BON-CC-41)
You may not always have any of these products on hand when your dog gets sprayed by a skunk, and usually the encounter happens at night when pet stores are closed, so here are some alternative home remedies...
Tomato Juice Method
Saturating your dog's coat in tomato juice and then bathing the dog with dog shampoo is a controversial method. Some say it works, most say it doesn't. Some say it will leave your dog's coat all red. Tomato juice only masks the odor, but doesn't remove it. You'll end up with a dog smelling of skunk AND tomato juice!
Hydrogen Peroxide/Baking Soda/Dish Soap Method
This is the method we used and it worked wonders. Use paper towels to wipe off any oily spray that has not yet soaked in to the fur. In a bucket or bowl, mix 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of dish soap (Dawn is preferred). The mixture will fizz. Wet your dog and thoroughly massage the solution into the coat. You might want to wear a pair of rubber gloves. Be sure to avoid eyes, nose, ears and mouth. Use a washcloth or sponge and gently and carefully wash face if necessary. Let the mixture stand for 5-10 minutes. Rinse the dog thoroughly. Repeat if necessary with a fresh batch.
WARNING: Do not store unused portion of this mixture in an enclosed container. it will fizz, creating pressure and could be explosive. Discard any leftover.
This method works because skunk spray is composed of a low molecular weight thiol compound. In industrial applications, alkaline hydrogen peroxide is used for scrubbing similar compounds from waste gas streams. Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, when combined, become a "chemical engine" for churning out oxygen. The soap breaks up the oils in the skunk spray, allowing the other ingredients to do their work.
You can use a little milk for the eyes and nose if they were sprayed on the face.
Removing Skunk Odor From the House
Depending on the season, open windows if you can, and turn on fans.
You can sprinkle baking soda on carpets and allow to sit overnight then vacuum up.
Using several ceramic or glass bowls, try any of the following and place the bowls around the house (out of reach of pets or children) to soak up the odor:
Saturate cotton balls with real vanilla extract, place in bowls
Apple cider vinegar (organic is best)
Fresh coffee grounds
We did the coffee grounds and apple cider vinnegar and the smell was all gone in a day.
For your clothing, soak in vinegar overnight, then Dawn dish soap, then launder.
Sources: dogbreedinfo.com; drydog.com; wisegeek.com; dogs.about.com; petcare.suite101.com; home-remedy.org; grandmashomeremedies.com; buzzle.com
Education is the first step in pet poison prevention.
Pet owners should take the time to educate themselves on the various, sometimes unexpected, pet poisons in their environments. The Pet Poison Helpline provides an extensive list of poisonous items for pet owners to be aware of, but here are a few of the most common items seen by veterinarians:
Many people believe certain dog breed, such as huskies and malamutes, are capable of living outside all of the time because of their thick coats. However, no dog breed should be consistently left unprotected outside. According to the City of Cincinnati, when the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, a pet owner should not leave their dog outside for longer than sixty minutes without adequate shelter. For outside dogs, owners should provide a warm, dry, draft free shelter with fresh, unfrozen water. Heated water bowls are a great option to ensure consistent access to unfrozen water. Owners should also feed their outdoor dogs more during the winter because their bodies use more energy trying to keep warm. In 2016, the City of Cincinnati passed an ordinance with further restrictions and shelter guidelines for dog tethering and weather conditions, which can be found by clicking here
A common winter hazard that vets encounter consistently with cats is engine belt injuries. Cats will climb into cars to keep warm, and without knowing they’re there, people will start their cars and harm the cats. Before starting your car in the winter, it’s advised to give the car hood a few raps to make sure there are no cats cozied up inside.
Pets start an estimated 1,000 fires per year. While this isn’t a huge number, it’s easily preventable. Pet owners should identify the risks in their home and make sure they’re contained from pets. Risks to consider include, open flames such as candles, space heaters, stovetops, fireplaces, and frayed wires chewed by puppies.
Even if all fire hazards are contained from pets, there’s still always a chance of a house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) , there’s a home fire reported every 86 seconds in the United States. So while the hope is that you and your pets never have to face a fire, it’s important to have a plan.
In case of a fire, pet owners should hang window clings that let firefighters know there’s a pet in the home. The ASPCA offers a free Pet Fire Safety Pack that includes a window decal. When leaving home, pet owners should know where their pets are and keep them close to exits if possible. Pet owners should also consider investing in monitored smoke detectors that alert homeowners of a fire when they’re not home and automatically dispatch firefighters.
Getting your dog microchipped is an easy and relatively inexpensive procedure that drastically increases the odds that your pet will find its way home if it’s ever lost. A microchip is a tiny chip that’s about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique identification number. It’s injected into a pet’s skin between the shoulder blades on their back. When scanned with an electric scanner, the chip will show the unique identification number and manufacturer of the microchip. This unique identification number will be linked to the pet owner’s contact information in the microchip manufacturer’s database.
If a stranger ever finds your dog, a shelter or veterinarian can scan your pet for a microchip. Once they have the identification number and manufacturer from the chip reading, they will call the manufacturer in search of the pet owner’s contact information. Therefore, if a dog owner moves or changes their contact information, it’s extremely important for them to update the contact information associated with their pet’s microchip identification number.