December 21, 2015

So your dog has been skunked?

Northern California is home to one of the most beautifully groomed skunk populations anywhere.  The skunks here tend to be big, healthy, and beautiful with long shiny black coats.  They prance around the area with confidence and poise of runway models (yes, exactly like Pepi Le Pew).

 Northern Californian skunks go wherever they please which includes fenced in backyards occupied by big dogs.  Apparently, their defense makes them fearless.  Perhaps they just enjoy spreading a little holiday joy to their canine friends.

Striped Skunk

There is nothing quite like discovering at midnight that your dog has had a close encounter of the first kind with a skunk.  Fresh noxious skunk fumes are breathtaking.  The odor is a cross between a hot sulfuric fumarole and burning rubber tires.  It is such a strong chemical odor that it doesn't immediately smell like a skunk.  9 out 10 Northern California pet owners prefer the delicate scent of a volcanic bubbling hot sopheric acid fumarole to that of a freshly skunked dog.

Skunked Christmas by KD2ANR
Jingle bells
Skunks do smell
Scooter, he got sprayed,
Oh, what fun
T'is no fun!
What a smell he has made, oh
Jingle bells
Our house smells
This odor won't give in,
When Santa comes
His eyes will run,
He'll need to wear nose pins!

Our dog Scooter's fur is normally mostly white.  Scooter is skilled at shading his fur various shades of grey through the careful application of garden dirt.  We noticed his fur looked different after he was skunked.  In good light we could see he had acquired two new large bright yellow patches on one side.  It was helpful to have a visual of where the Skunk spray or (N-butyl mercaptan) was located since it allowed us to focus our treatment efforts more effectively.  How thoughtful of the skunk to highlight his impact areas.

Skunk Spray Treatment

Here is what we found works well for our dog in treating the skunk spray.  Results may vary.  This cure only works when mixed fresh.  Don't attempt to mix it in advance and store it since that will render it ineffective.  We keep the ingredients on-hand (in their original containers) in case of an emergency.
  • Mix up a fresh batch of anti-skunk spray cure in a large plastic or metal bowl:
    • 1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution
    • 1/4 cup Baking Soda
    • 1 tsp. Liquid Soap (we used Dawn Dish Detergent)
    • Mix thoroughly
  • Move the dog to an enclosed shower area.
  • Lather the dog up with the cure.  Don't just pour it on him.  Use a brush and work the cure into the fur.  Treat the entire dog.  Give extra attention to the most heavily skunked patches.
  • Let it soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Rinse and repeat.
  • On the final rinse, be sure to get all the soap off the dog so he doesn't lick and ingest it.
  • Towel dry the dog and tell him you still love him.
  • Wash your clothes and towels etc. immediately after you have finished with the dog.  

Hope you have a warm and skunk-free holiday season.  All the best from skunk-land (also known as Northern California).

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2015.

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