Your Dog And Skunks

Your dog won't meet many skunks on the trail since they are active by night and reclusive by day. Your dog is more likely to encounter a skunk in your own back yard or near a garbage pile in a campground. What should you do if your dog comes out the loser in a scrape with this weasel?

First of all, time is not on your side. Do your best to keep the spray wet before you actually deal with it. If you wake up in the morning and your dog has been skunked during the night and the spray is no dry you will have a dickens of a time ridding your dog of the odor. Every time he gets wet for the next two years you may still detect a whiff of that night with the skunk.

The story you may have heard is to attack the stench with tomato juice. That may mask the smell for an hour but otherwise it won't do anything beyond turning your dog red. To best neutralize a skunk's spray try the following mixture:

* 1 quart (or liter) of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, H2O2.
* 1/4 cup (50 ml.) of Baking Soda
* 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) of Liquid Soap

The Hydrogen Peroxide and baking soda combine to neutralize the smell; the soap breaks up the oils in the skunk spray, allowing the other ingredients to do their work. Wash your dog in the solution and let it sitabout ten minutes before rinsing. You still may detect a whisp of skunk but it will be better.

Unfortunately you cannot pre-mix this solution and store it in anticipation of a skunk problem - if kept bottled up it will explode. Also, if your Hyrdrogen Peroxide has been sitting on the shelf for awhile it may have already turned to water so you may have to run out and get a fresh bottle.

Skunks can be particularly nasty varmint. If you do run into a skunk on the trail during the day or see one that is agressive it could well be rabid. The occurrence of rabid skunks appears highest from February to May, when they breed and give birth to their young.

From Erynne: Another tip for when you dog loses to a skunk. My dogs found one in our yard about 10 at night and it was the next morning before I could do anything about it. We bought Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover, just saturated them and let it dry. It worked so well they didn't even need a bath and there was never any recurrence of smell. I know, its surprising when things work like they say they will.