If you’re like me, you’ve put your dog in many outdoor situations. Sometimes, dogs come back with a few burrs on them, other times they come back with something far worse.
Last summer, I drove from Minnesota to Nebraska with my dog, Luna to see my sister-in-law in Lincoln. Quick fact: there are more skunks in big cities than in rural areas (where I live.) Our two dogs were off playing around while we were distracted by a bonfire. From the corner of our eyes, we saw a white flash enter her shed. Not thinking much of it, we checked on the dogs and let them wander off together again. Suddenly, we heard a whimper. We called the dogs and they both came back at once, looking guilty and bringing a putrid smell.
Step 1- Immediate Action
Low and behold, they found a skunk. My dog had been the one to take the full spray, with a few fumes on my sister-in-laws dog. Luna’s front and face took the brunt of it, her eyes bright red.
Looking back, if we had not acted immediately, I’m sure the smell would have remained on her for much longer. Hopefully, you’re around when your dog is first sprayed!
Step 2- The Ingredients: Hydrogen Peroxide, Dish Soap, and Baking Soda
I know you’re thinking tomato juice, but it’s actually a myth! Besides, who has gallons of tomato juice laying around, anyway?
What you need is hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and baking soda. You mix these three ingredients together in a small container and lather into your dog’s fur.
For my experience, we didn’t have hydrogen peroxide. This worked to our advantage, the dish soap and baking soda concoction was safe enough to rub into Luna’s eyes. Literally, massaging soap and water in her eyes. The next day, her eyes were full of mucus but they weren’t red! If we hadn’t had washed them, they would have continued to smell.
Step 3- Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Since Luna’s ears stand up, they fell victim to the spray. The process of washing out her ears seemed to be more painful than her eyes, but even humans don’t like getting water in their ears!
Next, you wash their chest and body as many times as you’d like. And don’t forget the paws!
After the skunk antidote, you wash with dog shampoo. The perfume somewhat helps the smell. But mostly it’s to help hydrate their skin from drying out from the peroxide.
Step 4- Throw Everything Away
It was a sad day for me when my sister-in-law told said that her collar couldn’t be save. It was a recent purchase from Etsy and I couldn’t throw it away without a fight.
I washed it, laid it in the sun for days on end, soaked it in lake water, all fruitless efforts. Two months passed when I realized that my sister-in-law was right, it needed to be thrown away.
So, sorry everyone! But that cute collar/ harness/ leash, needs to go in the trash. And when you purchase a new one, I suggest going on Etsy and ordering through Walk The Dog Store. (They make matching friendship bracelets!)
Step 5- Dentastix
One thing you cannot forget about: their mouth. I swear, this is the worst part of it all. Their bad breath will linger for at least two months! On my drive home I stopped at a Target and grabbed Dentastix (only brand they carry.) I’m sure the other types of breath freshener treats will work just as well
Before I gave her daily Dentastix, her breath was unbearable. After a few days it began to tone down.
Note- Water Innacts the Smell
One thing to note, water wakes up the smell. If you visit water, you will drive home with a dog that reaks.
So, when you’re bathing the dog for the upteenth time, it’s not that your efforts aren’t working, it’s that the water is making it heightening the smell. Once your dog dries, you will notice it’s not all in vain.
It took my dog the rest of summer to quit smelling (about two months). I live on a small farm and my dog is mostly outdoors. I’m sorry to those that don’t have this option after a skunk vs. dog battle.
Since this trip, Luna has had one other encounter with a skunk. This time she was nearly hit, knowing what the tail up sign means, she scampered away. Hopefully your dog learns their lesson, too!