While you would never be able to tell by the weather we’ve had this week, skunk season is almost here! Sneaky, smelly assassins of the night they are every pet parent’s worst nightmare! Sometimes it seems like your only hope is that your fur baby is smart enough to stay away, or quick enough to get away!
We had to face that nightmare the first summer we had Jack. We were out for an evening s troll in our neighbours trail. Jack was trotting along beside us pleased with himself that he was finally allowed to walk off leash. Then, quick as lightning, he was off. Into the forest trailing after something. Crap.
We called and called for him to no avail. We traced his steps, walked through thorn bushes, ran up hills, through mud, tried to be patient and then finally there he was. Running happily towards us. We greeted him, prepared to put his leash on, and it hit us. The most putrid smell to assault the nose. Like burning rubber and asphalt covered mineur.
We headed back to the house, and readied the kiddy pool in the yard. Nathan stayed out with Jack while I began googling and frantically searching for any and all remedies. We ended up settling on a solution that was guaranteed by many DIY sites to work if used immediately:
1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide (this is the kind you find in the first aid section of your average grocery store. It’s very cheap.)
1/4 cup Baking Soda
1-2 drops of liquid dish soap (optional)
2-3 drops lemon essential oil
It doesn’t work. You think it works at the time, but it doesn’t. We woke up the next morning, and our dog still stunk. The smell was less assaulting, but there was no escaping that it still existed. This solution “works” much in the same way that tomato juice does. Skunk spray is an oil made up of sulfur compounds called “thiols” which humans are very sensitive too. The peroxide in the homemade solution, and the acid in the tomato are suppose to break up the oil and wash it away from the fur and skin but the pungeant smells of either solution just end up covering it up and the skunk smells assaults your olfactory receptors so badly that you simply get used to the smell. Ask any impartial passer byer and I guarantee they will notice that your dog smells like skunk.
Fast forward: Three weeks later. Same path, same time of day, Jack on a leash, but obviously still harboring a vengeance for that skunk. He took off, pulled out of my grasp, and headed towards the same hole only to get sprayed, again, by what I presume is the same skunk. Shit.
Here we go again! This time, pet stores were open so I headed immediately to petsmart and picked up a bottle of “Nature’s Miracle Skunk Off” and let me tell you: It was a miracle. We washed him immediately, and even used the solution to wash our own clothes and wipe down his kennel the next day and there was no trace of skunk smell anywhere. We even had our neighbours friend come and inspect and they smelled nothing. There was, as can be expected, residual smell when Jack was wet but other than that it was gone!
If you look at the nature’s miracle bottle it is essentially the same as home-made solution except that they have “natural enzymes”. They don’t’ specify which enzymes they are, but they are obviously the key to success. We keep a bottle on hand for any accidents!