Skunks are cute when they’re wobbling around in the backyard, happily munching and minding their own business. Unfortunately, sometimes fido gets a little too close and the entire household has to pay for his mistake.
The thing is, a skunk doesn’t actually want to spray your pet (or you!). The spray is generated in a skunk’s anal glands and it’s not an unlimited amount, which means that once they’ve sprayed, they’re depleted of their natural defenses until their bodies are able to regenerate the spray again. This means they’re completely vulnerable to predators.
Normally, a skunk will provide a number of signs prior to spraying to defend itself. Their fur may appear to stand on end, this is to make them look “bigger and badder”, so to speak. They’ll raise their tails and give them a warning wave, stamp their feet, and even raise it’s rear end towards the perceived threat.
This is the point when dogs find themselves in deep trouble, as dogs greet one another by a mutual butt-sniffing session to get to know one another. When a skunk raises its tail, dogs may see that as an invitation for a friendly sniff only to be greeted with an eye and nose burning spray that they can’t get away from.
Removing Skunk Odor from Pets
Here is a tried and true recipe (don’t ask us how we know it works!) for removing Pepe Le Pew’s stench . . .
1 bottle hydrogen peroxide
1/2 bottle water about a cup or so
1/2 cup baking soda
2 teaspoon dog shampoo or Dawn Dish Detergent
Combine the hydrogen peroxide and water, then add the remaining ingredients. Pour into a squirt bottle/sprayer. We used a repurposed water bottle. Use the entire solution, do not get in your pet’s eyes or nose. Allow to set up to 10 minutes, working the solution into his fur with your fingers.
This works like Magic! The peroxide and baking soda neutralize the odor while the soap removes the oils that hold the smell. Skunk smell cannot be removed or washed off using tomato juice, ammonia, or gasoline which only serves to mask the odor, rather than remove it.
DIY Skunk Odor Removal Paste
It is imperative that you never rinse your pet prior to applying a skunk odor remover. Water seals the skunk’s secretions into the hair follicle, causing your pet to smell for weeks (or even months!)
1 cup of Baking Soda
1 Tbs of Dawn Dish Detergent
Make a paste of baking soda and shampoo or dish soap. This mixture can be doubled or tripled as necessary. Apply this dry mixture liberally into the afflicted pet’s fur and allow it to sit for twenty to thirty minutes. Then rinse well with lukewarm water.
Removing Smells from Inanimate Objects
To remove skunk smells from patios, decks, or exterior siding, spray the area liberally with Plain white vinegar, let it sit a few minutes, then hose off with water.
If you have lingering odors inside, a few drops of wintergreen essential oil here and there will eliminate the odors rapidly, making them undetectable to people within a few hours.