Be prepared before you experience a dog-skunk encounter.
Stock up now on the items you need to rehabilitate a stinky dog.
If you have the supplies, you won’t have to scramble if your dog gets sprayed at 10 p.m. or 6 a.m. or a few minutes before your mother-in-law arrives for dinner.
Dog-skunk cleanup items
The items you need to cope with a dog-skunk encounter include: 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 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 an even bigger area to clean up.
Start with two baths
After you’ve rinsed his eyes give your dog TWO baths with dog shampoo.
Don’t be stingy with the soap and don’t wait. The longer you wait, the more skunk spray is absorbed into the hair shafts and the harder you’ll have to work to get rid of the smell.
Also, the longer your dog has undiluted skunk spray on his body, the more odor will be absorbed into your draperies, carpet, and any other porous material in your home.
Bathe now, not later.
Use vinegar and vanilla to cut the stink
After bathing and rinsing twice, use your vinegar at a ratio of one part vinegar to two parts warm water, (or use a commercial deskunking product) and let the dog soak for 10 minutes.
Keep the vinegar away from his eyes.
Then bathe him again to get the vinegar smell out. The vinegar is like the acid in tomato juice, which 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 the dog’s whole body. Don’t rinse.
Now you have dog that smells a little like skunk, a little like vinegar and a lot like a vanilla wafer. Much nicer.
– By Terry Jester
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.