This Morning’s Exciting Adventure!

Hey, Daisy! How did your encounter with that skunk go this morning?

That well, huh.

And in fact we’ve had a very exciting skunk-based morning here at the Scalzi Compound, including a vinegar-and-baking-soda bath for the dog (and me, since I was the one applying it), the opening of windows to near-freezing air in order to get skunk smell out of the house, and a liberal application of Febreeze on every possible surface of the house, including the dog. And for all that it will be at least a couple of days before the skunk odor is completely out of the house, because that’s just the way skunk odor is. The joy is never-ending, it is.

72 Comments on “This Morning’s Exciting Adventure!”

  1. OMG the same thing happened at our house this morning. The skunks come out when the weather warms up a tad, and Chewie can’t resist them. Nature’s Miracle is the best deskunkitizer I’ve found. Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide works almost as well. You can use the Nature’s Miracle on fabrics and furniture and stuff, too, to hasten the process. *sigh*

  2. I hope she now feels that skunks are something to stay away from, and not that she wants to *get* skunks for what they did to her!

  3. I’ve always been told tomato juice was the best thing for removing skunk from dog, but never had to try it myself.

    Thank God it was only a skunk Daisy had to learn about the hard way. Dogs also tend to learn about porcupines the hard way, and that requires a miserable trip to the vet.

  4. Oh, damn. Sorry to hear that.

    However, I’ve been there. Not two weeks after our daughter’s birthday where the local animal farm guy came by and told us all about Maine’s animals especially the skunk and how they begin to mate in February) my wife lets the dog out one morning early at 5:30AM. I hear this: “Wait, Sparky! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!” Followed by much swearing yelping of dog and scrambling. I arise to find the wife having dragged the dog into the bathroom to contain the stench and the house smelling richly of coffee grounds, chocolate, onions and the heady brew one can only know as fresh skunk. So then it was up to me and dog to get into the shower where I scrubbed the bejesus out of him with everything I could especially Nature’s Miracle and tomato sauce.

    House stunk for two weeks. Dog for six.

    Apparently milk is most effective as it neutralizes the oils.

    Happy smelling!

  5. No wonder the guy stunk. My sister-in-law, who is of Kanadianian extraction, swears by the milk thing, though. Many skunks out in the wilds there apparently. I’ll keep the vinegar/baking powder on hand. I’ve been smelling skunk lately. And it’s not from my new all onion and Fresca diet.

  6. You need to deploy the panda to seek vengance on the skunk.

    I mean, he’s already sad, so what the hell.

  7. I’d always used the following recipe:

    * 1 quart (or liter) of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, H2O2.

    Use fresh (unopened) hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Hydrogen peroxide eventually turns into water (H2O).

    * 1/4 cup (50 ml.) of Baking Soda

    * 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) of Liquid Soap (I use Joy soap)

    * 1 pair of plastic or latex gloves

    To Use

    * Bathe the dog outside or, if it’s too dark or cold, in the bathroom with the door closed and window opened.

    * Combine the ingredients in an open container (do not store in a sealed bottle–it will explode).

    * Using gloves, wash your dog with lukewarm water and the mixture while the mixture is bubbling. Work the mixture well into the fur.

    * Be sure to concentrate on the area that was sprayed.

    * Keep mixture away from your dog’s face and eyes (it’s a harsh solution). (If your dog has been sprayed in the face, try Tricotine Liquid Douche Concentrate or any over-the-counter douche.)

    * Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes or so before rinsing off.

    * Rinse the dog with lukewarm tap water. Don’t wash the mixture into your dog’s eyes (use a washcloth to cover the eyes if you’re rinsing the head).

    * After bathing, check your dog’s eyes. If they are red and watering, your dog may have taken a direct hit in the face. Skunk spray won’t blind the dog, but it’s very painful. Contact a vet. .

    Good luck John. I’ve been there, it is NOT fun.

  8. For household surfaces, Odoban is also good. Helps break down the enzymes or proteins in animal spray (cat/dog marking as well as skunk).

    Living out in country, we keep several gallons of vinegar on hand as well as the 12 lb bag of Arm & Hammer from Costco. Ya’ never know when…

  9. Oh, man, look at the existential despair on that dog’s face. Poor puppy.

    She just gave me an idea for an Etsy project, though: dog haz-mat suits for skunk season! Steampunk ones.

    Also: Poor, poor puppy. Many (gloved) pets to her.

  10. Urgh. Feel your pain, John. Please give Daisy our sympathies. Let’s hope she’s learned her lesson.

    Charles Town has a large horse racing track and the skunks come in for the grain, garbage and rodents attracted by it. We smell them a lot, year round. Keeping the windows open at night in nice weather is like playing Russian Roulette with stench rather than bullets.

    We’re very glad that we have a fenced-in area where the Barks Brothers can run without skunk contact. The skunks seem content to stay out of that part of the yard and don’t care if the Shelties bark themselves hoarse over their nearby presence.

    Most rescues I know of use the peroxide/baking soda “cure” for skunk smell, with a few tablespoons of liquid detergent for good measure. I

    t’s a good idea to check your dog over for any bites or scratches, too. Sometimes a dog gets close enough to get hurt before the spraying. I can’t comment on the “Nature’s Miracle” or tomato juice, as we’ve not heard much about those solutions.

    Porcupines can be a dog/dog owner’s worst nightmare. The quills are hard to remove, hurt the dog like Hell and can cause massive infections. A few unlucky dogs have been killed by porcupines, too. Then you get the vet’s bill on top of all that… :-(

  11. The dogs don’t seem to learn, unfortunately. The second time our Rottweiler cross got skunked, I insisted that my husband do the peroxide-baking soda treatment, since he was the one who kept letting the dog go to the part of our property where the skunks lived. That made an impression, on Jack at least.

  12. Aaaaawww, poor thing.

    In the statement “I have to leave to go to work”, there’s something missing. The FULL phrase is: “I’m sorry, honey/sweetheart/love of my life, but I have to leave to go to work.”

  13. Oh, no! Our dog was skunked a few months ago. It was bad. Someone recommended Nature’s Miracle and it worked great on the dog and furniture. I guess it breaks down the enzymes in the skunk oil. The only problem we had with it was you can’t get it in the dog’s eyes and our dog was sprayed in the face. It was hard to clean the top of his head really well. Took a while for that odor to go away completely up there.

    Hope the smell goes away soon!

  14. My sympathies. When our dog was skunked, it was a balmy June day, all the windows were open, and the skunk aimed for the house (the dog, too, of course). We ended up sleeping outside on the other side of the house in a tent. I learned to hate the smell of Febreeze.

    Did it teach our dog a lesson? No way. She figured it was round one of a full scale war. (Did I mention that she’s none too bright?)

  15. I’m fortunate, in that TO DATE ::knocks wood:: I’ve never had to deal with a dog/skunk encounter.

    I’m reminded of a time years ago when I was camping with my Akita, Hannah. Down the mountain from us, some folks were camping with a Little Yappy Dog. Hannahm who was on leash) quietly woofed to let me know there were things moving in the bushes. The LYD, who was NOT leashed, ran after one of those things, got skunked, and then ran back. And ran into the tent.

    Poor folks didn’t have a very comfy night, I think.

  16. Eurgh. Been there. Does Daisy hate baths as much as our dog does?

    And why is it that dogs get skunked more often when it’s cold or rainy or both? We rarely have a problem in the summer (I suspect it’s because the dog is asleep before the skunks come into the yard) but she’s gotten skunked three times in the last year; and every single time it was either below freezing or 45F and raining. Nature’s Miracle doesn’t work as well as the peroxide/baking soda mix (developed, as I understand it, by scientists studying skunk scent so that they could go home at night).

    I think what annoys Casey-dog the most is that when she’s been skunked she’s not allowed in the bedroom…..

  17. Nature’s Miracle is a solution of enzymes that break down the chemicals that cause the skunk smell. I always keep it handy because skunk encounters never happen during daytime business hours. If I don’t have NM, I’ll go for the baking soda/peroxide or baking soda/vinegar solution. If I don’t have either of those, I am not messing with anything else–I will just go to Meijer (a local 24 hour superstore), but it’s nice to have the needed supplies so my whole day isn’t derailed.

    A good way to clean the dog’s face without getting the solution in his eyes is to put it in a spray bottle. Or, in the case of NM, you can screw a spray top right on the bottle. Then cover the dog’s eyes with a clean cloth and spray right around them. In the case of NM, you can also dab it on carefully with a cotton ball. I probably wouldn’t do that with the baking soda stuff, though, as it is more caustic.

    This morning I was on my way out the door to yoga class. In order to not look like a total jerk, I told my husband to leave the dogs on the porch and I would clean them when I got back. Also in order not to be a total jerk, he did the triage and initial cleanup. We’re good together.

  18. Oh dear. I remember when my little mutt Abby encountered a skunk…we had to wash her down in tomato juice, and her tail was unnaturally bent to the side for days.

  19. Did you know they use the chemical that makes the odor last longer in perfumes? Yes, they make perfume out of skunk urine extract! Amazing!

  20. My dad recalls the story of a skunk attack inside a car. To combat the odor, dad and a friend cleaned the car as best they could (no homegrown Georgia remedies, just soap and water) and then went to Jack’s Hamburgers and ordered three dozen doubles all the way. A Jack’s hamburger is like a Krystal, and “all the way” includes onions and pickles.

    The result?

    “It smelled like someone shit in a bag of hamburgers and left it under the front seat. For a month.”

  21. Oh lord – you know, when you consider how much more sensitive a dog’s sense of smell is compared to us humes, no wonder Daisy looks so down! :(

  22. Perhaps a future Scalzi work will contain Skunk-based riot police? You suggest this to the man who had somebody farted to death? Danger Will Robinson, Danger!

  23. Ouch, bummer! Growing up, I remember that happening to the family dog a few times.. luckily having a dog that’s not allowed indoors helps with the not having a house that smells like skunk. Of course, it didn’t get nearly as cold outside as where you are, either, which helps with the not having the dog inside.

  24. I’ve heard carbonated sodas with phosphoric acid do a good job at deskunkification. Have any just lying around?

  25. When I was in college the engineering department was one floor above the nursing & health care department. (It was a small college.) I came in one morning to a most unique smell that permeated both floors. The previous evening one of the nursing classes was doing a lab that involved taking tissue samples, and the instructor had obtained a dead skunk for them to practice on. The skunk’s scent gland hadn’t ruptured so the smell wasn’t bad. Until somebody slipped with a scalpel. After they all retreated to a safe distance they sent someone into town to buy mass quantities of cheap perfume and room deodorizer to hide the stink.

    As you might guess, that just added complexity to the bouquet.

  26. Hey, look at that black and white cat. That’s no cat! I’ve had both the dogs skunked. The worst was that one of the dogs got a face full of skunk, which seemed to go down the dog’s throat. For months we got skunk flavored licks to the face. It was the gift that kept on giving.

  27. Living in the Central Valley, I have never had a dog Skunked. I know there are lots of skunks about as you can smell the unfortunate ones that get hit by cars. What I can’t figure is, how many can there be around here so that I smell one most weeks going to work?

  28. When our dog got skunked, we did all of the above suggestions (peroxide, etc). Another option provided by our vet clinic’s after hours assistant was to use toothpaste (a good option for her muzzle, which is where most of it went) as a scrubby wash on the area. A good rinsing later, you could only smell the skunk if you got extremely close to her, and at that range, it had a hint of mint. Odd, but preferable to the prior stink.

  29. Years of upland hunting have given me entirely too much experience at deskunking dogs. Some dogs quickly learn avoidance after encounter #1, others take that first odoriferous experience as an invitation to engage in a life-long war to the death with skunk-kind.

    Adding a citrus-based dishwashing liquid to the peroxide/baking soda solution mentioned above improves the effectiveness somewhat. Helps strip out the oils. Tomato juice works after a fashion, but takes LOTS of juice and WAY too many repeats. Let’s just say it’s less than effective as compared to the peroxide or vinegar based methods. And the peroxide solution works much better than the vinegar solution.

    Skunks are bad, but porcupines can be deadly. Never knew a dog that survived a first porcupine encounter that did THAT twice.

  30. @39 – you could also be smelling a poorly-vented marijuana grow operation. It took me a month to realize that I was smelling skunkweed, and not skunk, every morning I walked my kid to his bus stop. Turned out to be a medical marijuana grower.

  31. Thank goodness our new dogs have yet to encounter one. Our first dog got hit 5 years ago….came in immediately. When it is that fresh, “skunk” is a strong oily-yet-not-quite-awful odor. It took me 2 minutes before I could figure out what had happened.

  32. Griffin Barber @ 31:
    Nature’s teargas. Perhaps a future Scalzi work will contain Skunk-based riot police?

    See The Android’s Dream: The Revenge.

  33. A few years ago, I was sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag. My then-husband let the dog (a dachshund) in and he ran to my room, into the sleeping bag, and straight to my feet. Yes, he’d been traumatized by a skunk spraying on him, and decided to share the joy with me. I threw him out and took a shower before I gave him a bath.

  34. Huh, it’s funny how sometimes new and obscure information can come in handy much sooner than one would expect. Just last night I heard a conversation about skunked dogs and the most knowledgeable person in the group said that motion activated lights will keep them away from your property. Evidently they are shy about their nocturnal habits and will retreat from the light.

  35. When our cat was skunked we were told to use the baking soda/peroxide/dish soap on his body but tomato juice on his face. The tomato juice just helps mask or temporarily neutralize the scent, rather than actually removing it, but the other solution, while effective, was deemed too risky to have near his eyes. I sometimes wished I’d tried it anyway, though, as the faint scent of skunk clung to him for over a month.

    I did say when we got him that I rather wished I could see him all wet, as he’s an enormous Maine Coon / Persian mix with tons of long fluffy fur. Turns out that when he’s all wet he looks almost normal sized. (The bravest thing I ever did in my life was climb into the bathtub where I’d just soaked him with the showerhead through the holes in his carrier and then open the carrier. But by then he was totally cowed and forlorn rather than being the angry ball of claws and teeth I was anticipating and just crept into my lap to be washed.)

  36. Back a long time ago, my family had a vacation trailer on a lot in an upstate forested community. One night, the dog encountered a skunk, with predictable results. Rather than trying to come back in the trailer, though, she ran under the trailer and wouldn’t come back out, letting all the lovely fumes waft up thru the floor of the trailer.

    The solution was… horseradish. I found if you stick your nose in a jar of horseradish and snort some up your nostrils, you won’t be able to smell the skunk odor. (Yes, it hurt like hell. BUT IT WAS WORTH IT!)

  37. Had the same experience for the first time in October. Samson got a double shot, right smack in the head and chest. I wrote his harness and collar off as hopeless.

    You’ll want to keep fixings for the peroxide solution on hand in the house, as every time Daisy gets wet for the next several months the skunk smell will most likely return – not as strong, praise jeebus! – and another bath will help.

    I’ve read that the tomato juice solution was formerly useful but that manufacturers remove a lot of the acid these days to make it more palatable, thus less effective for deskunkification.

    OdoBan in the washer worked well on my jacket and clothes – peripheral exposure from moving Samson back into the apartment and locking him in the bathroom until I could go buy peroxide and give him the bath. After watching him scrub his muzzle on the grass making the most pitiful sounds for about five minutes while I feverishly researched solutions on my phone…

    Citrus Magic air fresheners did very well at masking the odor in the bathroom and entranceway until it finally disappeared after about 2 months. His chest still smells though, when he’s been out in the wet and I get up close.

  38. Yee ikes. Our beagle did that when I was a kid. Twice. And even more fun, 3 times she came home with mouth and face full of porcupine quills. Not a bright dog.

    But would Redneck Stepdad take her to the vet to pull the quills? Aw HAIL no, bwah, hand me them pliers…


  39. Aw, poor sad puppy!

    Jack was not appreciative of his run-in with a skunk a couple years back. We did the vinegar and baking soda bath as well, and followed it up the next day with a Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap bath. He does not investigate strange critters in the yard any more.

  40. John, put out some bowls of vinegar in your house where the skunk smell is the worst. You won’t even notice the vinegar aroma after a little while, and it should help to pull the skunk smell out of the air.

  41. Place ammonia soaked rags at separate intervals around the property. Skunks hate the smell.

  42. Febreeze?

    Nah – you gotta use ZorbX ( Works way better.

    Good thing this didn’t happen last week – at least now it’s quasi-spring outside. Almost all our snow is gone in Cleveland too.

  43. Oh no. Poor Daisy. I think it’s happened to almost everyone here. It happened to us one night around 1:30am. My hubby let the dog out to do its business. Sasha saw something, went over to sniff it. Hubby let the dog back in the house. I literally screamed the house down for him to get that dog back outside. For some odd reason, he didn’t smell it right away. What the heck? It took about two weeks to get the smell out. Luckily in our town, there is a dog laundry. We put her in the back of our truck and took her there. The tomato juice thing hadn’t worked the night before.

    After Sasha passed away, we got two other German Shepherds. They managed to actually kill a skunk before being sprayed. I kid you not. Of course, after that, we had to take them back to the rescue organization (broke my heart in two to do that). They went after any animal, which was scary. Now we have no dogs, which makes me sad (except for the skunking part). Thanks for sharing Daisy with us.

  44. Our skunked cat got the baking soda & lemon dish soap wash and the blanket he tried to hide in got borax. Then there was the time he went up the chimney and I had to desoot the savage bastard; pretty much the same cure.

  45. As a vet assistant, I am just waiting for the day a skunked dog comes in. It is bound to happen eventually. Thanks for this preview of what I have to look forward to, Mr. Scalzi.

  46. Ah, the joys of loving fuzzy critters!
    We’ve escaped the skunks so far, but not for the lack of effort on the parts of our Rottie and Dane. Some day they will be supreme…and I just happen to have baking powder and vinegar (several sort of vinegar) in the kitchen for when the day comes.

    Good to know that tomato juice doesn’t get it done – that’s the one I’ve always heard and would’ve tried first. And I’m thinking that I’m not going to want to take several tries at it when it finally does happen. Thanks for the info!

  47. not to be a downer – but u should rewash her – febreze is actually bad for dogs – especially if she licks herself – being a dog its a good bet. she could get sick down the road.

    chemicals like that can lead to seizures and the like-just offering advice from one seizure dog owner to another dog owner.

  48. Didn’t the Partridge Family have an episode that proved tomato juice got rid of skunk smell? I seem to recall everyone having to take a bath in it and coming out with a red tint. It was on TV so it must be true. Are you calling the Partridge Family a bunch of liars???

  49. @Jill #55: I forgot about the bowls of vinegar, we did that too. It definitely helped. At the very least, I’d rather smell vinegar than the skunk smell.

  50. Try Anti-Icky Poo ( on her body. Otherwise, every time she gets damp, the smell will come back. That will strip out most of the odor, and bathing her face and girly parts with your mix will help with the delicate places. And yes, do remember her girly bits and under her tail. The softer membranes will hold the scent and/or get irritated by the oils as they travel. (Wife works in a vet office.)

  51. Waddya mean they didn’t play their instruments???


  52. I used to groom dogs. There’s a shampoo called SOS (Skunk Odor Shampoo) that you can order from Petedge that worked pretty well. If your dog was sprayed hellaciously well, I’d do an initial SOS-and baking-soda scrub, before following with a secondary SOS wash. Rinse until the dog’s fur squeaks. Then, follow up by dumping a small bottle of vanilla into two gallons of water, and sponge into the dog’s fur. Press her fur with your palms, then make your hands act like a squeegee to get much of the water out. Towel dry.

    Or, call your local groomer’s and see if they have the facilities to take care of a skunk-sprayed pup. It’s a labor of love…but it’ll also save your home from smelling. :)

  53. Got a deskunking sloution recipe that really works well if you are interested. Got it off the internet many years ago. Developed by a famous organic chemist. I have used it a few times myself over the years. Uses peroxide, dishsoap and some other stuff that I can’t
    remeber without finding the recipe again in my wife’s “Disater Manual” at home.

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