From an article of mine first published in Modern Dog Magazine.
A: IT IS AN EXCELLENT IDEA TO BE PREPARED FOR this sort of emergency. When dogs get sprayed by skunks, it is often late at night. Even though you're tired, you must act promptly to wash off the oily, sulphur-based substance. The longer you wait, the more time it has to work into the hair shafts and skin, making the washing job even harder. Also if you delay, the substance is more likely to find its way onto other surfaces around your house. Knowing what to do ahead of time will make the smelly crisis much easier to deal with.
What to do depends partially on the results you hope to achieve. To get rid of the smell completely, you need to do more than if you simply want to clean your dog up enough to prevent getting skunk juice on your carpet and furniture.
To eliminate the smell, forget the tomato juice. It masks the odour but doesn't neutralize the cause of the smell. To do that, you will need two pints of fresh, unopened 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda (not powder), 1/2 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap, and a pair of latex gloves. Soft-soap and Ivory Liquid are said to give the best results in this recipe. Be careful not to confuse baking soda with washing soda, which is sodium carbonate. Washing soda is a hundred times more alkaline than baking soda and can cause skin burns to both you and your pet.
Skunk spray is a sulphur-based substance composed mainly of low-molecular-weight thiol compounds. According to Dr. Caceci of Texas A&M University, hydrogen peroxide is used to scrub similar compounds from industrial waste gas streams. Once mixed in our recipe, the hydrogen peroxide slowly breaks down into water and oxygen. It gets weaker with time, so you need to use it immediately after mixing. The soap will break up the oils in the skunk spray, allowing the secretion to come off your dog and wash down the drain.
WHEN DOGS GET SPRAYED BY SKUNKS, IT IS OFTEN LATE AT NIGHT. EVEN THOUGH YOU'RE TIRED, YOU MUST ACT PROMPTLY TO WASH OFF THE OILY, SULPHUR-BASED SUBSTANCE.
When you discover your dog has been sprayed, secure her with a collar and leash. She will be very distressed and may try to rub the smell off. Bathe her outside if possible. If not, use the bathroom with the door shut and the window open. Remain calm, letting her know that you will take care of everything. Try not to let her rub herself on your furniture or carpets if you bring her indoors.
You also need to check if your dog was injured by the skunk. If you see blood or bite marks, consult a vet immediately, as skunks may carry rabies in your area. If her vaccinations are up to date, your dog should be safe from this virus.
Often a dog will be sprayed on the neck while facing off with a skunk. The dog will turn her head away at the last minute to avoid being hit. If your dog wasn't quite quick enough and was sprayed in the face, you will need to get some Tricotine Liquid Douche Concentrate, or any over-the-counter douche. The peroxide mixture described above is harsh and stings and must not be used on the face.
Mix your ingredients in an uncovered plastic pail. If the dog is very large, add one quart lukewarm water to get complet coverage. Wearing the latex gloves, wash the dog while the mixture is still bubbling, being very careful to keep it away from the eyes. The peroxide mixture must come into contact with the skunk spray in order to neutralize it, so make sure to work it well into your dog's coat.
Lit it sit for five to ten minutes. You'll smell when it's ready to rinse. You may need to do a second application on heavily oiled areas. Use a washcloth to cover your dog's eyes while rinsing anywhere near the head.
After the bath, check your dog's eyes. If they are red and watery, she may have taken a direct hit. While this won't blind her, it is very painful and you should contact a vet. She may be subdued and a little sick-feeling for the next day or two.
Never, ever store the mixed solution in a closed bottle or other sealed container. Pressure will build up until the container explodes, possibly causing severe injury.
This mixture is safe for humans and pets. There is the possibility of some colour bleaching due to oxidation. It doesn't mean a bleached-blonde dog, but could lighten some coats. Also if the baking soda isn't rinsed off completely it can leave a whitish residue. Finish up with a spritz of "Oh My Dog!" cologne and your pal will be her own sweet self once again!
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Author: Danielle Lea MacDonald, Certified Master Groomer IPG, ISCC. Pivotal member of the Society of Holistic Pet Stylists. Lifetime Member In Good Standing International Society of Canine Cosmetologists.
Danielle's Studio is a full-service, pet grooming spa designed exclusively for grooming small dogs.
I am committed to meeting the highest standards of the Pet Styling Industry. Grooming is my passion!
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