Now that the dogs are relatively stink-free, and the house is too, I thought I’d share what I’d culled from the vet and various web sites that worked (and what didn’t) when treating a skunk attack.
Treating skunk-sprayed dogs:
- Keep the dog OUTSIDE. Away from any furniture, cars, etc. Anything the dog comes near will have to be deskunked.
- Get an old towel and wipe down the dog before attempting to wash off the skunk spray. The spray is oily and wiping off excess will help. You won’t be able to see it—it isn’t a “black or dark film” despite what some web sites say. And the odor is so offensive that you probably won’t be able to tell early on exactly where the skunk sprayed. Just wipe the dog down, and assume it got the face, the chest, the torso.
- Washing. Regular shampoos won’t do a thing against a direct skunk spray. Don’t waste your time. What our vet recommended (the morning after) was 1 quart hydrogen peroxide mixed with 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 teaspoon Dawn dish detergent. Mix it up in a bucket and use it immediately. Apply to the dog, let it soak in for 10 or 15 minutes, rinse, and if the dog smells okay, then shampoo with dog shampoo and rinse. If the dog’s still stinky, repeat the whole process. That treatment worked great on my one dog that has a coarse coat, but not as well the other one with a very thick, but fine coat.
- There are also products specifically packaged for skunk stink removal – like Skunk Off and Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover. I bought the former from my vet and used it on my one dog when she continued to stink after repeated peroxide baths; unfortunately, that product smelled like an Amtrak bathroom (still better than skunk). The Nature Miracle product, which I purchased a day later at That Pet Place, smelled much better (lemony), and came in a bigger bottle at a better price. It worked as well, which still wasn’t terrific given my dog’s very dense coat.
- Use pure bleach to soak any sprayed metal dog tags (rabies vaccine tags, dog licenses, etc.).
- Soak collars in vinegar, water and baking soda.
- After you’ve cleaned your dogs, take a shower and shampoo your hair several times. Otherwise, YOU will smell like skunk.
- Do NOT bathe your dogs in tomato juice. Seriously. (What a mess.)
Treating skunk stench inside the house:
- Get that Nature Miracle Skunk Odor Remover (or similar product) and put it full-strength in a spray bottle. After testing for color-fasting (DO this step; I won’t confess what I stained in case my husband reads this), spray curtains, carpets, sofas, bedding, inside closets, etc. within the house. I even used it to treat the inside of our car, which was stinky from being inside the garage where the dogs hung out after the first two regular shampoos at 10 pm didn’t work.
- Wash any exposed clothing, sheets, etc. ASAP, using a capful of Nature Miracle Skunk Odor Remover in washing machine. If you don’t have that handy, put some white vinegar and baking soda in with the wash. (I ruined my knock-off Uggs by wearing them when I first washed the dogs and then waiting a week to try to deskunk them. Glad they were knock-offs.)
- Use neutralizing deodorizing sprays throughout the house. And then place Citrus Magic solids upstairs and downstairs.
- Sprinkle baking soda on carpets and vacuum.
- Boil some cider vinegar on the stove. It will help cut the lingering skunk odor in the kitchen area. Plus it reminded me of steamed crabs, which made me happy in the midst of a very bad few days.
- For a natural room freshener (which my kids LOVED), take some cotton balls and soak them in vanilla extract. Put them in a small dish or bowl and place in bedrooms. Nice!
- If it’s winter, or summer, and heat or air has been running, the skunk smell could be in your HVAC system. Get a new air filter. Remove old one, get a non-corrosive, inflammable neutralizing spray; turn on heat, spray in front of the intake vent for 3 – 6 seconds, and then let heat run for 6 – 8 minutes. Then put in the new filter.
Treating skunk spray outside:
- Treat the sprayed area. If the skunk sprayed near your house, treat it, or the horrible stench will linger. Spray a mixture of one part bleach, 12 parts water on any concrete or other non-porous surfaces. I used this to treat our sidewalk near where the skunk sprayed and it killed the stink on contact. I also used it to treat our garage floor.
- For grassy areas/bushes (ground zero for our skunk was a bunch of mums near our garage), add 1 teaspoon of Dawn to the bleach mixture, and spray area. It will not kill the plants, but it will kill the smell.
Now, if someone could please tell me how to teach my stupid dogs not to chase after skunks, I’d be really appreciative. I don’t think they’ve learned their lesson.