How to De-Skunk a Dog: A Tutorial

Here is an old post that I never got around to posting. But as of last night it became relevant again.
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Today I thought I would share some wisdom gained through experience. Very smelly experience.

I awoke as usual way before the crack of dawn to get two boys out of bed and ready for seminary. Gunner sleeps in Shane's room so he followed me down to the kitchen after I had prodded Shane out of his warm bed. I let the dog out as usual and opened the back gate to let him run and answer nature's call. It was pitch dark but this didn't stop Gunner from charging into the woods. I went in to get breakfast ready. I was standing at the stove when Gunner came charging into the kitchen and came to a halt right next to me. It took about three seconds for the choking smell of skunk to hit me and I realized Gunner had been sprayed. Luckily he didn't sit down or rub up against anything. I got him right back outside but the damage had been done. The smell was overpowering. When Sam and Shane came down for breakfast, they were gagging and choking and couldn't eat. It was my turn to drive the car pool so after a quick Google search for de-skunking a dog,  I had a list of things to get at the store on the way home.

The smell of skunk managed to infiltrate our clothes and then the car. Shane moaned from the back seat: "I'm already the new kid and a freshman loser, now I have to be the smelly kid too!"

We apologized to everyone as we picked them up and tried to keep fresh air circulating. I had to wait for seminary to get over and then take a group of kids to the school as well. This gave Gunner more time to stew in skunk juice. So my first bit of advice is this:

1. If you have a dog and there are skunks in your area,  keep some skunk remedy on hand. The sooner you get to the task of cleaning up the dog, the better.

By the time I finished taxi duty and stopped by the store, he had been soaking in the smell for about an hour and a half. I did check before I left to make sure it hadn't gotten in his eyes--luckily Gunner had closed his eyes or turned his head just in time to avoid that extra pain. If it gets in their eyes, they need to see a vet just FYI.

The combined wisdom of the internet pointed to hydrogen peroxide and baking soda mixed with a bit of hand soap as the best remedy. This combination is supposed to break up the chemical bond of the skunk oil and wash it away. It is best to use fresh hydrogen peroxide (an unopened bottle) so that it's cleaning properties are at their peak. There was disagreement about whether to use Dawn dish washing or regular hand soap. Dawn is good for oil stripping but the hand soap supposedly works better with the other two ingredients. By the time we were finished, we had tried all of the above and then some many times over, so I can't say for sure which would be best.

Here's the recipe we used for round one: Hydrogen peroxide (24 oz bottle) 1/4 cup baking soda and 2 tsp hand soap (Softsoap Kitchen Hands odor neutralizing--it's what I had on hand but hey! "odor neutralizing" sounded promising!) 

2. I mixed the solution in a plastic bowl and poured it over him while rubbing it in. I let it soak in for 10 minutes. You should use rubber gloves while applying. 

I rinsed him off after the 10 minutes and then dried him as well. Luckily it was a warm, sunny day. 
I sniffed his fur and decided "lather, rinse and repeat" was a good idea.
I mixed up another batch of skunk remedy and reapplied. 

After the second round, he actually smelled like his old "wet dog" self. 
Funny how that smell seems so nice now....
 That is everywhere except right on his head and face. 
The scent of Essence Fleur de Skunk seems to be concentrated there.
So, when Shane got home, he mixed up a nice facial treatment of 
baking soda and Dawn dish soap.

Poor Smelly Dog

Still smelled. 

So, these are the other solutions we tried-- courtesy of the all-knowing internet:

Mint Mouthwash
Douche (yes that) (No, it didn't work)
Skunk Shampoo from PetCo
Nature's Miracle (I used this to wash the towels and our clothes and it did work for that)

I also mixed up some coconut oil and peppermint essential oil and rubbed that on his head.
It works for awhile, but the skunk scent eventually works it's way through. 

It got to the point where it was hard to rinse all the gunk from the various concoctions out of Gunner's fur. I told Shane to just toss him in the pool to give him a big rinsing and maybe the chlorine would help with the smell in the process. 

Although Gunner hates the pool, he didn't even fuss. I think he had been washed and scrubbed and rinsed so many times he didn't care anymore. He swam to the stairs, climbed out and shook off without a whimper.

Gunner had to be banished to the garage the first night after the incident. But after continuous attempts at fumigating him, either it got better or we have adjusted to the smell.  


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