Skunks are nocturnal animals--this means that chances are, when your dog gets skunked, there are no stores open and you can't run out and buy skunk odor neutralizer. Luckily, there are several home remedies for skunk odor you can put together with ingredients you probably have in your home right now. If your dog gets hit in the eyes or mouth by an irritated or scared skunk, she may need to be taken to your veterinarian in the morning. But until you can get her there, you can at least neutralize the smell.
Basic "De-Skunker" Recipe
There are many versions of the standard home remedy skunk odor neutralizer but most share three basic components in, more or less, the following quantities:
• 1 qt. (two standard bottles, available at any drug store) of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
• 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda
• 1 or 2 tsp. of dishwashing detergent or mild shampoo.
Many people customize this basic recipe by adding other ingredients such as:
• Medicated dental rinse.
• Tomato juice (though this is a well-known ingredient for fighting skunk odor, by most accounts, tomato juice used on its own will do little to neutralize the odor)
Skunk spray is fairly oily, and it may take two very thorough shampoo and rinse cycles to remove the residue from your dog's coat, especially if she has long fur. Since most dogs are sprayed in the face and chest, you will need to concentrate on these areas, but avoid getting the mixture in her eyes or ears. Once dried, she may still have a faint skunky odor, but this should dissipate within a day or two. Wipe her down with a towel sprayed with fabric refresher or dental rinse when she's dry: it may help quell lingering odor.
Watch your dog for signs of eye problems, weakness, lethargy or very pale gums for several hours after being sprayed. If skunk spray gets into his eyes, it can be very irritating and his eyes may be red and watery. Usually this will clear up in a few hours, but there is a risk of corneal ulceration and infection. If your dog is sprayed in the mouth and ingests enough spray, he can become severely anemic and go into shock. Most dogs are not harmed by skunk spray, but you need to be aware of potential complications and call your vet if you see any of these signs.
By Stevie Donald
About the Author
Stevie Donald has been an online writer since 2004, producing articles for numerous websites and magazines. Her writing chops include three books on dog care and training, one of which won a prestigious national award in 2003. Donald has also been a painting contractor since 1979, painting interiors and exteriors.