how to attract skunks and what to do to de-stink your dog afterwards

Sometimes it takes us a while to catch on, but eventually we figure things out. In the last couple of years our dog has been skunked repeatedly. We shake our heads, mutter something about the small brains of Chesapeakes and stay well clear of him for a few days. Two nights ago it happened again. It suddenly dawned on the dad that our practice of composting vegetable/fruit scraps by throwing them into the field may not be so brilliant and may actually be attracting skunks. Well.

The compost area will now be moved to the southeast corner of the field, away from the reach of the dog (he has a boundary collar that won’t let him wander off the side and back lawn – which is quite a large area).

The dad did some research and came up with this concoction that worked almost miraculously. We made a double batch, considering he is a large dog and his coat is naturally water resistant (Chesapeakes have a double layer of hair and natural oils that the water doesn’t fully penetrate – to keep them warm while they are in the water). The dog is once again allowed in the house and was sleeping at our feet within an hour of his de-stink bath. Here is the solution:

De-skunking Solution

  • 500 mL bottle hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid soap.

Mix ingredients together in a bucket, adding lukewarm water if needed (for larger dogs). The solution will fizz; a chemical reaction is occurring. Use immediately – do not store.

Rub directly into dog’s coat, massaging the solution in well – you will want to use old clothes and possibly gloves, to keep the skunk oil off of yourself and any clothes that you actually like (you may not be able to wash the smell out of your clothes easily). Promptly begin cleansing the affected areas thoroughly, massaging the solution deep into your dog’s coat. Do not get the solution in the dog’s eyes, ears or mouth.

Allow the solution to remain on your dog for at least five minutes (longer if strong odour persists).

Rinse your dog well with lukewarm water. Repeat steps 3-5 as necessary until the smell is gone (It only took one try with our dog).

As for the skunk – well, I think he made the dog angry. All we found was his tail.

Linked to Frugally Sustainable, I Did It Tuesday, A Pinch of Joy

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36 thoughts on “how to attract skunks and what to do to de-stink your dog afterwards

  1. does it work on people too

  2. we used to have a great dane who was skunked several times a summer. i used canned tomato soup or canned tomato paste and rubbed it into her fur…..so it would stay in there and work it’s magic without just dripping right off that might also work with your double-furred pooch.
    i hope the compost move works…..puppy doesn’t look thrilled.

    • I think we’ve tried the tomato juice in the past too – any little bit helps. I can’t honestly remember how well it worked, but eventually the stink always fades anyway. This was more an immediate fix because he was hit directly in the face and was really rank.

  3. It’s a good thing you’ve found something that works for you! I’ve been a dog groomer for over 30 years and have yet to find anything ( home made or commercial ) that really does the trick.
    One thing I usually suggest to my clients whose dogs have been sprayed once is to put a bell on their collar. Something which jingles enough to scare the skunk to run away rather than spray in self defense, which is why they spray in the first place.
    It is the most wretched odor and lingers for weeks. Oh, and if your dog did in fact kill the skunk, I’d make sure it’s up to date on Rabies vaccine. Inform your vet, ASAP for his/her advise.

    • The dog is up to date on rabies – our vets are close friends and bring their little black bag along when they come to visit. The smell now is only in the garage where the dog spent the night the first night. The solution did the trick pretty well. There is only a faint scent, and that was mainly while he was still damp. He got quite a face full and was frothing afterwards, but is fine now. We’ve unfortunately had a lot of experience with skunks and porcupines and dogs where we live.

  4. your dog most certainly looks like he feels bad about his predicament! I guess i’m lucky that my dock only wants to chase our chickens, ducks, and any other bird in the yard. Oh, and deer. He’s 10lbs of fury when one is in the yard. The deer look on like wait, what? Hmmm…and then they saunter to the other side of the creek out of his reach. Just in case.

  5. Marianne says:

    Hahaha that look on the dog´s face, says it all!

    Funnily enough, MY dog get´s EXACTLY the same look on his face when he is being bathed too! 🙂

    Too funny!

  6. Somer says:

    Wow, I’m sure I’m going to need this solution someday. Grateful to you for sussing it out for me. Poor pooch. My pup has a double coat too, except he has an insane amount of fur. It’s like washing a sheep (literally). Good times.

    • Good times, repeatedly – at least at our house. Though he doesn’t look it, he actually enjoys all of the attention. Silly dog..

      • Somer says:

        Good to know, in that photo he look miserable! My dog loves to be bathed, he even holds up his paws, one after the other to have them shampooed, but I guess he is a Portuguese “Water” Dog. hehe.

  7. yrppies says:

    This happened to our Ernie three times. Once the hubby was involved and I had to regulate him to the couch. Awful, awful odor. We never found something that works completely-it usually took a week or so for the lingering odor to fade away. I will note your husband’s concoction for future reference.

  8. Poor puppy! (looks thrilled). 🙂
    What about the old tomato juice remedy?? Glad you found something that works!

  9. Lynne Ayers says:

    We have used the tomato juice in the past but Jackson was only sprayed once, as a pup; Cooper has not, as yet, challenged a skunk. I’ve heard that putting a layer of coffee grounds on fresh compost keeps the foragers at bay.

  10. EcoCatLady says:

    Oh NOOOO… just thank your lucky stars it wasn’t the cat that got skunked! Once in my youth I worked at a camp where we had a “camp cat” – who was really a half feral stray who adopted us – bleeding hearts that we were, we put food out for it. Anyhow, poor little kitty got skunked so it fell to those of us who had been feeding it to bathe her. The nurse’s quarters had a bathroom with a tub, so three of us locked ourselves in there with this half wild cat and set out to shampoo her with this hideous grape scented de-skunking shampoo that the vet had provided.

    It was like a scene from a Loony Tunes cartoon! Three of us trying to wrestle this crazed feline who did NOT want to be bathed. We all emerged covered in blood, water and horrible grape scented shampoo. Oy Vey! That’s one experience I hope to never have to repeat!

    BTW – our neighborhood has had issues with skunks and I’ve learned a few tricks over the years. They’ll eat ANYTHING, and are also attracted by bowls of water left out for pets. But they generally have very poor climbing abilities and also can’t jump up on things. So you might want to consider putting a little fence around your compost heap or something like that. Even a ring of chicken wire around it would probably help. Also, if the dog’s water is outside, you might consider putting it up on something that the dog can jump up to but the skunk can’t – probably at least 2 feet high. Or even better, keep the dog’s water & food inside.

  11. We’ve always used tomato juice, but I will hold on to this recipe and try it in the future. We have a funny story about skunks in our family. A couple of years ago I was dropping my son off at his house after his National Guard duty, he kept food out for a cat on the front porch. He was so used to the wildlife here that I watched him approach the door then fly over the railing (picture a hand stand) and run for the back door. When I asked him later he told me there was a skunk on the porch. His quick thinking saved him from being sprayed, but the whole front of the house (including the living room) smelled from the spray which missed him. We joke that bombs and bullets don’t scare him but one little skunk has him running for his life!

  12. Oh, Heidi, your poor dog looks mortified to be having his picture taken!! Great information and I’m guessing this would be a good laundry detergent additive, too.

  13. Good information…we all know that tomato juice doesn’t work….lol Diane

  14. Lauren says:

    That picture is absolutely priceless.

  15. Jennifer says:

    Oh, the poor thing. He looks so sad in the photo, I want to reach in and hug him! We haven’t had a problem with skunks, but the coons are constantly trying to dig into our compost. Let us know how it goes if you move the scraps!

    • I think that moving the scraps will still attract the skunks, but keep them well out of the reach of the dog. I’d hate to deprive them of their late night snacks. And I don’t want to make garbage – the skunks would get into a compost bin as easily as they do the field (wiley critters that they are).

  16. Oh wow! I can relate! Thanks for posting this on “I Did It!” Tuesday! We have had our own skunky experiences…. http://offthegridat-30.blogspot.ca/2011/12/visitor-under-bed.html

    I’ve never tried baking soda with peroxide but the peroxide worked wonders!

  17. Lorraine says:

    I use this recipe on dogs. It works great!!!!

  18. SMG says:

    Our BOXODOR Charlie (85 lbs, looks like he has Great Dane in him also, and only two years old) got SKUNKED badly. The only thing that worked was Natures Miracle Skunk Odor Removal.that a friend gave us. I now keep several at the house just in case Charlie goes back at it with the skunk

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