Debunking and De-skunking

Dogs and skunks go together like … well … like two things that probably shouldn’t ever go together, but often do! It’s the nature of a curious dog like me (and yours too, I bet) to sniff around a new neighbor in the backyard. Since dogs and skunks don’t quite speak the same language, even a well-meaning mutt like me can illicit a stink attack from an unsuspecting skunk. And at this time of year, when skunks come out of their dormant periods and begin the mating season, it’s very likely that your four-legged friend may run into one! They say curiosity killed the cat, but really, I think curiosity stink-bombed the dog. So, how do you remove the decidedly skunk-y odor from your dog’s fur if he happens to get too close? We’ve got some helpful tips from Vet Street. 

Take Preventative Measures 

The best way to avoid getting sprayed is to make sure your backyard isn’t a skunk’s paradise. So, remember these tips: 

  • Don’t feed your dog outside, as anything left over is practically a formal dinner invitation for a skunk. 
  • Be especially attentive at night. Skunks are primarily nocturnal, so that’s when they are more likely to be active. It’s a good idea to do a visual sweep of the backyard when letting your dog out at night. 
  • Block access to sheds and open areas underneath your house or deck, where skunks might try to make homes. 
  • Remove tree stumps and piles of brush, which might also be attractive to skunks 
  • Make sure garbage and compost bins are secured.

But if Your Pup Gets Sprayed … 

Surprisingly enough, all that stuff about tomato juice is more folklore than fact! Try these tips if Fido gets a little too close. 

The right remedy is a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and soap. Hydrogen peroxide oxidizes the sulfur compounds, which neutralize the smell, and the soap gets rid of the oily residue. But don’t let your pet swallow the solution and don’t get it in an open cut or your dog’s eyes (hydrogen peroxide can potentially cause extreme harm). If your dog has been sprayed in the face, seek immediate veterinary attention. 

So Long, Skunk Smell Mix: 

1 quart hydrogen peroxide 

¼ cup baking soda 

1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid
Bonus Tip: Get Up-to-Date! 
Skunks, like other wild animals, are capable of transmitting rabies and distemper (no thank you!). With springtime around the corner, now is a good time to make sure your dog is vaccinated and up-to-date on all of his necessary shots. He might not be a big fan of the vet, but it’s for his own good! At least, that’s what I tell myself every time my humans take me. And hey, one quick trip to the vet means that I can frolic all spring without a care in the world!

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