When your family pet decides to tangle with a skunk, he’s not the only one who has to suffer from Pepe LePew’s smelly defense tactic. It could be weeks before the smell fades away.
A skunk’s spray comes from a specialized set of anal glands. Yup, the same type of anal glands your dog or cat uses to mark territory and which sometimes need to be manually expressed at the vet’s office. The only difference is that the skunk has evolved its anal glands so it can spray fluid for a defense mechanism.
So how do you get rid of this aroma or at least tame it down to a tolerable level? Regular pet shampoo doesn’t seem to do much in deskunking your pet. You might have heard that tomato juice can help, but that only masks the smell. (Perhaps the tomato juice is better mixed with some vodka and Tabasco sauce and consumed by you.)
William Wood, a bio chemist who studies skunk odor at Humboldt State University in California, suggests a homemade recipe to help rid Rover of aroma. He cautions that the following must only be mixed outdoors in an open bucket and never stored due to the possible pressure buildup.
1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup backing soda
1 teaspoon detergent
- Stir ingredients in a bucket until mixed.
- Generously sponge mixture over your pet until they are completely soaked but being very cautious to not get mixture in or near the eyes. For added protection, put some Puralube or other sterile ocular lubricant ointment (available from your veterinarian) in the eyes before starting to wet your pet. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes.
- Rinse pet thoroughly with water.