Deskunking Your Dog
If your dog is sprayed by a skunk, you are likely to look frantically in your kitchen cupboards for something that you can wash her with that will neutralize and remove the overpowering smell. Usually this happens in the middle of the night, of course, since skunks are nocturnal creatures. Some simple chemistry will help you choose the right ingredients!
The old folk remedy for skunk smell removal is tomato juice. The reason this was passed down through the generations is that it worked! Skunk spray is alkaline, and acidic tomato juice will neutralize the alkaline odor. One of my dogs was once sprayed by a skunk in August when the garden was full of ripe tomatoes, and not having any tomato juice in the house, and it (of course) being midnight, I ran out and picked half a dozen tomatoes off the vine, cut them in half and rubbed them over the dog, who I had put in the bathtub. It worked! The only problem is that when she shook, tomato seeds and pulp flew all over the bathroom and it looked like a horror movie.
To make your own on-the-spot deskunk remedy, look for mild, acidic ingredients. The best choice is a mild, acid-based detergent, such as those made for washing wool. Infinity Heavenly Horsetail is one brand with a pH of 4.5, no synthetic perfume, and it works wonderfully. A rinse made of a mixture of 2/3 water and 1/3 organic apple cider vinegar could work, too, but make sure not to get such acidic ingredients in the dog’s eyes.
A number of veterinarian sites on the internet, and the book,
Storey’s Basics Country Skills, A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance , recommend the following do-it-yourself recipe for deskunking your dog. Most
supermarkets carry all of these ingredients. Note that this is an alkaline recipe, so it works on a different principle than that of tomato juice.
1 quart 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
1 teaspoon liquid soap
Wet the dog, and work the formula through their fur. Leave the mixture to et on the dog for four or five minutes, and then rinse thoroughly. Throw out any leftover remedy.