That Girl’s Blog: A Recipe For De-Skunking Your Dog

It’s happened to all of us at least once. You open the back door to let your furry friend out for an evening romp and suddenly they dart under a bush or dig under the porch and WHAM! It’s like a chemical bomb of burnt garlic and acid went off. Now your dog, your yard, your house, and YOU smell like Pepe Le Pew!

Although we often see skunks in the springtime across the Cape, the fall is when the young skunks leave their mothers and venture out to find their own territory, making it perfect timing for their first interactions with our curious canine companions. 

Photo: Mass Audubon

There are plenty of retail concoctions you can purchase (if the pet supply stores in your area are open at the hour of the assault), but I have found, by my own trial and error, that a simple home-blend recipe is the best – and you probably already have the ingredients (sparing you the embarrassment of a trip to the store to offend the general public with your own eau-de-skunk cologne).  


What you need:

  • 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide (which you may already have in your medicine cabinet)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda (check for the Arm in Hammer in the back of the fridge if you need to) 
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap 
  • 2-3 drops lemon essential oil (optional–but adds extra deodorizing power)

Best practice is to set up the washing station OUTSIDE. Mix the ingredients and slather into your dogs coat (please avoid the face/eyes). Let the solution soak into the coat for 5 minutes. Of course if you have a dog like mine, 5 minutes can seem like and hour, but TRUST ME, you want to give the solution enough time to neutralize the stink. Rinse the solution completely out of the dog’s coat and, if you like, follow with a mild shampoo. Although most sources claim the peroxide will not bleach out the color of your dog’s fur, I have seen for myself that it will slightly lighten dark fur to s reddish color.   NOTE: Although you may already have the ingredients on hand, you should NOT mix up a batch of the solution and store for an emergency… It could explode in the container. 

And while we are on the subject of SKUNKS, here are a few fun facts:

  • Skunks do not hibernate for the winder. Instead, they will “power-hibernate” for a week or so during severe weather.
  • If you are seeing holes in your lawn it could be from skunks digging for grubs
  • Skunks can spray up to 10 feet, but their smell can travel for a mile and a half
  • Skunks have an excellent sense of smell
  • Skunks are immune to most snake venom 
  • Mothballs can be used as a deterrent for skunks (they also avoid ammonia and strong citrus scents)

  By the way, if you have a better home recipe, please share! I am all ears! Email me: [email protected] 

About Cat Wilson

Cat Wilson is "That Girl" on Cape Country 104 – a Cape Cod native and longtime Cape radio personality. She is a passionate supporter of Military and Veteran causes on the Cape and also hosts local music spotlight program, “The Cheap Seats” on Ocean 104.7.
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