By Terry Jester
Be prepared before you experience a dog-skunk encounter. Stock up now on the items you need to combat a stinky dog.
Don’t wait. You may find yourself needing these simple items at 10 at night, 6 in the morning, or just minutes before your mother-in-law comes for dinner.
The items you need to cope with a dog-skunk encounter are: Sterile eye flushing solution (available at any drugstore), dog shampoo, one gallon of white vinegar, (OR a prepackaged deskunking product such as “Skunk Off"), and a few ounces of imitation vanilla extract.
When you see (or smell) that your dog has been “skunked," first determine if the dog has been sprayed in the face. If so, immediately use the eye flush in order to get as much skunk spray as possible out of your dog’s eyes. Skunk spray looks like tiny yellow strings.
The skunk spray will not cause permanent damage to your dog’s eyes but it will hurt and cause your dog to rub his face on everything creating a bigger area to have to clean up.
After you’ve rinsed his eyes give him TWO baths with dog shampoo. Don’t be stingy with the soap and don’t wait to bathe him. The longer you wait, the more skunk spray is absorbed into the hair shafts and the harder it will be to get rid of the smell.
Also, the longer your dog has undiluted skunk spray on his body the more the odor will be absorbed into your draperies, your carpet, and any other porous material. Bathe now, not later.
After bathing and rinsing twice, use your vinegar at a ratio of one part vinegar to two parts warm water, (or your commercial deskunking product) and let him soak in that 10 minutes.
Don’t get the vinegar in his eyes. Then bathe him again to get the vinegar smell out (it’s the acid in tomato juice that does the same trick but vinegar is much cheaper. Plus, you never, ever, want to put tomato juice on a light colored dog unless you really like the color pink).
Next, pour a solution of a few teaspoons of vanilla extract diluted in a gallon of water over his whole body. Don’t rinse. You’ll now have a dog that smells a little like skunk, a little like vinegar and a lot like a vanilla wafer. Much nicer.
Terry Jester is a nationally recognized expert on companion animal behavior. She is regarded by The Humane Society of the United States as being, “Humane and effective in dealing with problem pets and their owners." Connect with Terry on her website.