Many pet owners can relate to the feeling; you let your dog outside and just before you shut the door, you smell it. Skunk... Panic sets in... You frantically call your pet to come back, like that will make a difference. What if your pet gets sprayed? How will you get the stench out of their hair? What if your dog sprints back into the house before you can stop him? It’s a nightmare scenario. While skunks are typically shy and mild mannered, a curious dog with no previous interaction with those critters could end up “skunked.” Typically, skunks will warn predators of their impending spray. They will stomp their front feet, growl, lift their tail, and the spotted skunk will even do a handstand! However, if your pets are anything like mine, none of this would matter. They would likely ignore every warning sign aforementioned, and take those cues as an invitation to play. Resulting in the un-stink-able. So now what? There are many suggestions out there for how to rid your pet of that nasty smell. I have (unfortunately) personally tried out some of these recommendations, and the results were both highly disappointing and pleasantly surprising. We've compiled what we found to work best for combating skunk odor on your pet and in your home, so you can spend your time where it counts; ridding your pet of that stink.
For Your Pet
The Humane Society of the United States suggests the first thing you do is check your pet's eyes for irritation. Skunks have an amazing accuracy from as far away as 12ft and aim for the eyes so they can make their escape. If you notice that your pet's eyes are red and/or watery, flush with cool water as soon as possible to provide your furry friend with some relief. We also suggest keeping your pet outside or a well-ventilated area of your home while you prepare the wash, to avoid the smell permeating into your home.
Pet Wash Solution
1-quart hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup baking soda
1 tsp liquid dishwashing soap
*DO NOT make ahead and store mixture. The combination of ingredients could explode if left in a bottle.*
Step 1: Mix together
Step 2: Scrub into fur! Pay special attention to keeping the mixture away from your pet’s eyes and ears!!
Step 3: Rinse thoroughly, do not leave it on too long, peroxide can bleach fur!
Step 4: Shampoo your companion with pet safe shampoo, and rinse.
If needed, repeat all steps to combat the remaining smell.
Bonus Tip: If the smell transfers onto your clothing, try adding ½ cup baking soda into your washing machine!
For Your Home
If you notice that pungent odor creeping into your living space, we suggest mixing up this easy stovetop air freshener.
Stovetop Air Freshener
4-5 Cinnamon sticks
1 Handful of cloves
Step 1: Fill a pot to ¾ full.
Step 2: Add all ingredients and bring to a boil.
Step 3: Turn down and let simmer.
Step 4: Mixture can be to simmer 3-4 hours (under a watchful eye!!)
You can sub in apples, limes, lemons. This mixture can be made ahead of time and stored in mason jars in your refrigerator.
Bonus Tip: Set bowls of white vinegar throughout your home, it absorbs the smell!
Things to Avoid
If you’d like to make your yard less hospitable for skunk families, keep these facts in mind:
Skunks are attracted to bird feeders.
Fallen tree fruit is considered a delicacy.
The contents of your garbage can be a delightful treat.
Skunks like convenient denning sites, such as wood or rock piles, elevated sheds or under porches.
If you’re worried that skunks have taken over part of your property, we can help! Contact us for a free home inspection.