Sunday, May 31, 2009


There is a hill behind our house so we get lots of little critters. Boomer got skunked a couple of years ago in our yard, and Phoebe just got skunked last night. Following the formula off of one of Gary Bogue's animal columns in the Contra Costa Times, we were able to get most of the stink off. We can attest that the formula does work and keep plenty of hydrogen peroxide on hand now. Too bad you can't use it on their face--that's where they've usually been skunked most!

Note: The formula stings, so be careful around sores or cracked skin.


Skunks are always on the prowl

I’m getting a lot of requests for this “Skunk Off” recipe to help people clean skunk spray off of unfortunate dogs that have encountered those little stinkers in their back yards.

One of my readers found a letter to the editor in a Chemical Engineering trade magazine a couple of decades ago and cut it out and forwarded it to me. A chemical engineer’s dog got sprayed and the engineer figured out an off-the-shelf formula that chemically neutralizes skunk spray. Unfortunately my reader didn’t include the name of the engineer who invented this, so we can’t thank him/her.

Stick this formula on your refrigerator door so it will be handy in case you ever need it. It’s easy to make and as I said, it chemically neutralizes that very bad smell.

TAKE: 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (from a pharmacy); ¼-cup baking soda; 1 teaspoon liquid soap (I use Dawn). Mix it all together and wash the sprayed animal, keeping the mixture out of its eyes, nose and mouth. Rinse with tap water.

Don’t bottle this stuff. The mix causes a mild chemical reaction and it could escape into a BIG mess if confined in a bottle.

Based on feedback from hundreds of users, this recipe, as listed, is a suitable quantity for a small dog. Double the above amount for medium-size dogs. Triple it for large dogs.

It’s amazingly effective.


On Phoebe's face, we experimented with washing with tomato juice. Can't say for sure if it made a difference, but today, I did a little research online about tomato juice and found that it doesn't really remove the skunk odor--it just masks it for a while.


This week's myth concerns something very important to us -- our sense of smell. You may have heard that tomato juice can neutralize the odor of a skunk. It sure seems to work. A bath of tomato juice makes your dog smell like tomato juice instead.

In reality, the skunk's smell is so overpowering that your nose simply gets tired from the stench. The smell receptors in your nose bind the skunk odor so tightly that eventually you stop smelling it so much. This is called "olfactory fatigue." At that point, the tomato juice you've just bathed your pet with is a new smell that your nose is not used to yet. After a while, though, the tomato juice smell will go away and that skunk odor will come back.

In order to really rid your pet of that stench, you need to change the chemical composition of the odor itself into a compound that has no smell. One idea is to make a mixture of a quarter cup of baking soda per quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Add to this a little liquid detergent and you're ready to wash that smell right out of your pet. If the smell is in the air instead of on a pet or clothing, you'll have to rely on the only proven method for odor control—open a window and be patient!


Wild Dingo said...

Interesting about the olfactory fatigue. I usually ignore skunk smell. I mean of course if my dog is foaming at the mouth from being sprayed, I take care of that. But it never bothers me much.