This is a guest article from Terry Bain, the author of You are a dog and We are the cat. He offers practical and humorous lessons on how to deal with a skunked (is that a verb?) dog.
Skunks are masters of misdirection. The dog who first notices the skunk in the yard and who is therefore chasing around as if sheâ€™s been set free inside a nuclear accelerator is not actually the dog that is in the danger of being â€œskunked.â€ The second, slower, lumbering dog, big and black and just barely aware that there is reason for such a racket, surprises the cornered skunk where it has taken refuge beneath the minivan. While I expend my energy and attention calling and cajoling the first dog, â€œSadieâ€¦ knock it offâ€¦ get back in hereâ€¦â€ I do not notice that the second dog has returned to the house in a panic, already past me and visiting every room with her odor and attempting to remove said odor by rubbing against every surface available. Carpet. Bed. Blanket. Stair. Door. Spouse.
Skunk odor is one of the top ten most-toxic odors known to humankind, behindâ€¦ well, behind nothing I know of. It reminds me ofâ€¦ nothing at all, really. Like spoiled and burning all-season radials, sort of. But you have to compress that smell. Make it stronger. More concentrated. You know the Pepe Le Pew cartoons where the skunk walks around and all the people run away, screaming in terror? I never really understood exactly why they did that until now. Now I understand. Running? Screaming? Terror? Next time I see a skunk, thatâ€™s me.
Spouses do not enjoy being woken by dog/skunk in their faces. Giant black dog becomes giant black skunk in moments. Running. Screaming. Terror.
In fact, this is likely the worst way to be woken, spouse or no. Dog/skunk snout in your face as you attempt to nullify the cobwebs of REM sleep? Maybe spiders in your ear or scorpions on your forehead would be worse. Maybe.
If your dog unwittingly does get â€œskunked,â€ do not, by any means, allow your dog into the house. Excuses such as â€œbut I was trying to get Sadie back into the houseâ€¦ she was running around like an electronâ€ do not hold any water at all.
A tomato juice bath does nothing for your dog but make them smell like a skunk thatâ€™s had one too many Bloody Marys. Not really much more pleasant than the skunk odor was to begin with.
Bloody Marys at 3 oâ€™clock in the morning donâ€™t really help eliminate the odor either, but they may help you not to care so much about the odor (if you consume enough of them)â€”though you will still have to contend with the odor once you sober up.
Instead of tomato juice or Bloody Marys, try this:
- 1 quart 3% fresh hydrogen peroxide
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of liquid soap
These measurements do not have to be exact. And they likely wonâ€™t be. Because that smell will make you insane.
Mix the ingredients together in a bucket and immediately wash your dog with it. As the oxygen releases from the hydrogen peroxide, it scrubs away the odor. A bit. Use gloves, leave it on your dogâ€™s fur for ten minutes or so, and keep the mixture out of the dogâ€™s eyes. And donâ€™t expect miracles. There are no miracles to be had. Except the miraculously bad odor on your dog.
Black dogs may become orange in the above mixture. Not badly orange. But I was tempted to call my big black dog â€œred.â€ This only occurred to me after I had regained my sense of humor. (Please do not argue the matter with meâ€¦ I do too have a sense of humor.)
Skunk odor lingers. Weeks later I was walking through the house and caught a whiff of skunk and wondered if the skunk had returned, but it was just the lingering odor. It really really really lingers. Almost as long as the odor of leftover pizza in the fridge. Especially when youâ€™re hungry. That odor really lingers too. Though it could be my imagination. I could have sworn there was another slice of pizza in here somewhere.
My marriage is stronger than I thought it was. I remain married, even months after the skunk has left, and I still have the dogs. I donâ€™t let the dogs outside at night anymore without first making a heck of a racket to scare away prowling polecats, but this only proves that I can be taught, that I can live in a world with both dogs and skunks. And if I can do it, let me tell you, so can you.