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Beat The Stink! De-Skunking Demystified

- By Christina R., CCE, CPG

Every dog parent eventually learns the dreaded smell, it permeates your clothes, your car, your couch, everything it touches. The smell of skunk spray isn't something quickly forgotten, especially because it seems like it lingers forever!

Well, you would be right! Skunk spray quite literally permeates anything porous like fabric fibers or your dog's hair shaft. Think of what a hair shaft looks like, it's made of a bunch of overlapping scales. The skunk spray gets in between those scales and stays there until the coat has fully shed out. It can also get into the pores or follicles in the skin and the sebum and skunk spray combination can continue to spread on new coat growth. That's why it can seem like it takes an eternity to go away. Not to fear, there is hope if your pup happens to come in contact with skunk spray.

First thing's first; drop the water hose!

Skunk spray is oily so if you immediately hose them down, you're going to spread it all over your pup. The best chance for success is to start with careful preparation!

Wear some old clothes that you don't mind tossing out, secure any long hair out of the way, and remove any textiles (bath mat, shower curtain, hanging towels, etc) from your bathroom to ensure that any shaking doesn't send skunk water all over everything.

Ideally when you're de-skunking a dog, you would have an enzymatic dog shampoo specific to the job on hand. If that isn't the case, there are a couple of other options.

You can make a home made skunk shampoo. It's important to understand that this mixture can be harsh, potentially irritating, and drying so be sure to avoid the face, eyes, ears, and mouths and don't let them lick the mixture.

At-Home Skunk Concoction (Courtesy of Christein Pearson)

  • 1 Quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide

  • 1/4 Cup of Baking Soda

  • 1 teaspoon of pet shampoo

If you don't have all of the necessary ingredients or want to choose a more gentle option, grab your favorite pet shampoo and conditioner let's get to work.

Once your pup is in the tub, try to figure out where the worst of the spray is concentrated and start there. For most dogs, this is unfortunately on the face which is also the most difficult area to clean as there are so many sensitive areas. You're going to want to apply the shampoo directly on the dry coat. If your dog shampoo is thick and difficult to apply, you can use a separate container to mix your shampoo with an ounce or two of water. Massage the shampoo into the worst areas. Shampoo works by grabbing on to the oil and washes it away during rinsing. Rinse and repeat a couple times and then follow up with conditioner! Do your best to dry your pup as fully as possible and then finish up with a pet deodorizing spray of your choice!

You may notice the lingering smell most strongly while your pup is wet. That will gradually begin to fade as they dry. While the smell may come back when they get wet again, as their coat grows and sheds or grows and is trimmed away the smell will dissipate.

If this all seems like too much of a hassle, then give us a call and will do the dirty work for you!

If you'd like to tackle the stink on your own, here is a list of recommended products to set you up for success! Good luck and happy de-stinking!

Quadruped Skunk Deodorizer and Odor Eliminator

Shampoo and Spray Combo

This duo packs a powerful odor eliminating punch!

Quadruped Leave-In Cream Rinse

A great all purpose conditioner that can either be left in or rinsed out.

Hydra Odor Neutralizing Shampoo

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