Skunked

September 16, 2012Riverbend Tales, Wellness News
Author: David S. Thomson DVM

Tiny Tim, our overly curious Pug, was skunked a few weeks ago. Worse things could happen you might rightfully say, but in the midst of dealing with that headache-inducing smell, it is hard to think what. Wow, was he ever pungent!

It was my fault. The dogs were excited, barking, rushing to the back door. I foolishly let them out. Our Golden Retriever came back in later, smelling just fine. But Tiny . . . a cloud of acrid, blinding skunk odor wafted from him as he barreled in the door.

What’s an owner to do? If your pet is still wet from the skunk spray, first give a wipe-down with a towel (one you don’t mind throwing away afterwards). Then give a good bath . . . but with what?
In the old days, we used tomato juice, but it never really did the trick.

A few years ago, a chemist named Paul Krebaum put together a recipe that our staff has been touting ever since. But I had never personally tested it out. Oh joy . . . here was my opportunity.

A little background information first. Skunk spray is really nasty and persistent. The powerful smell comes from thiols, chemical compounds that can be smelled in even the tiniest of quantities (as little as two parts per million). And to make matters worse, these thiols are not water-soluble; they are oily. Soap doesn’t wash them off, so the smell lingers on. With Krebaum’s formula, however, there was hope . . . it uses a hydrogen peroxide/baking soda combination to oxidize the thiol compounds into thiolate compounds, which are water-soluble and can be rinsed off.

I lathered Tiny, waited five minutes, then rinsed . . . and (drum roll) . . . he still smelled bad. Better, but still bad. I repeated the procedure three times before he passed the sniff test.

Alas, the “magic” formula wasn’t perfect, but it sure worked much better than tomato juice, and he’s now allowed back on the bed. Occasionally, we can still catch a whiff. Ah well, the price of having a sweet yet headstrong, trouble-maker of a dog.

Krebaum’s Skunk Remedy
1 quart hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup baking soda
1-2 teaspoons dishwashing soap (Dawn is great for cutting through the oil)
a squirt of lemon juice

Mix all together, lather it into your pet’s coat, being careful not to get into the eyes.
Leave it on for five minutes, and then rinse off thoroughly.
Repeat as necessary.

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