Here’s a DIY project you won’t enjoy.
Imagine if you will, a beautiful summer night. It’s warm, but not hot, you have the windows open to let air drift through and you’re sleeping comfortably. You’re roused from your peaceful sleep by the click, click, click of your dog’s toenails as she paces back and forth on your bedroom’s hardwood floor. She wants to go out. Up you get. While she’s outside doing her thing, you may as well do the same. That’s when you start to hear odd scuffling sounds through the open bathroom window. The sounds are coming from the backyard. The bedroom window has the best view of the yard, so you wander back in there, squint up your eyes for better night vision, and try to make out the bizarre actions of your dog. She’s kind of running/walking back and forth, alternately shaking her head and rubbing her face on the ground. That’s weird. You head out to the deck for a more thorough investigation. Why does your dog appear to be foaming at the mouth and in great distress, yet not making any yelping or crying sounds? That’s when it hits! In a matter of seconds you’re sleepy haze is gone. SKUNK! That smell – so acute, so sharp, so intense you can’t identify it at first, so close you can taste it – a horrible metallic sensation. It’s too late. That bitter, acrid vapor has entered your house along with the dog! Why did this have to happen at 2:30 in the morning?! and What do you do now?! First thing’s first, get the dog before she jumps up on your bed and herd her into the sunporch. Second, close the windows at the back of the house in an attempt to block the admittance of any more stench. (not that it will make any difference by this point) Third, log on to the internet to find information on something, anything that can help to remove the smell from your dog and your house.
The above story outlines our first of many skunk incidents. ‘Our’ meaning me and my dog, and ‘many’ meaning she never learns to leave those black and white kitty cats alone. All I can say is thank God for technology and 24-hour grocery stores. When I went online that night I found a ton of sites claiming to have the cure for skunk smell. Of course because of the time of day (night) getting a commercial product wasn’t an option, so I popped into a few of the sites that offered a recipe for getting rid of the odor. After looking at a few different sites I discovered that the recipe was pretty much the same across the board.
Skunk Smell Removal Recipe
1 quart hydrogen peroxide (3%)
¼ cup baking soda
1 teaspoon dish detergent
One site said that this would be enough to wash a small dog the size of a Jack Russell terrier and that larger dogs would require making multiple batches. Even though she thinks she’s a lap dog, my little girl is definitely bigger than a Jack Russell – multiple batches it would be. The baking soda and the dish soap weren’t a problem, but I definitely didn’t have a quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide. That is where the 24-hour grocery store came in very handy. I cleaned them out. Once back home with my six quarts of peroxide I made up four batches of the recipe. The sites I visited specifically stated that the formula could not be stored for any period of time, so there was no point in mixing up more than I would use. For lack of anyplace else to clean her up, I put my girl into the bathtub and with my printed off instructions at my side, began to give her a bath.
Making sure the solution soaked through her hair and onto her skin, I scrubbed and rubbed and scrubbed some more. Working in sections for 5 minutes at a time then rinsing them off with warm water, I went through all four batches. I took special care around her nose, mouth, ears and eyes, not wanting to get any of the solution in any of those orifices, but trying to be very thorough at the same time since that seemed to be where she received most of the skunk’s spray. The instructions indicated that the mixture may bleach the pet’s hair, however, her black parts stayed black and her white parts came out whiter. After the bath I towelled her off then took her back to the sunporch where she remained for what was left of the night.
As far as the scent in the house went, there wasn’t really much that could be done. For days following the incident I left all the windows open and invited the breeze and fresh air to whoosh away the stinky smell. I gave my dog a regular bath the next day just because I thought a double cleansing couldn’t hurt. Except for a slight smell around her head, she came out none the worse for wear. Having come so close to the smell myself, I think it was embedded in my nose, my mouth and my lungs because even though after several weeks others couldn’t detect the smell in the house, I still could.
Why did that skunk come into my yard?
It is my belief that the reason the skunk wandered into my yard is because we had been putting egg shells, coffee grounds, apple cores, peach pits, etc. into the composter. I may be out in left field here, but composting things in an open top composter that smell good to critters is an invitation for them to wander in for a sit down at the buffet. The yard was fenced, but these guys are good diggers and can get under fences with little effort. As a result of this little late night adventure we stopped putting anything other than yard waste in the composter, and after surviving several other ‘encounters’, I attached chicken wire to the bottom of the fence and dug it about eight inches into the ground all the way around the perimeter of the backyard. Every now and then you could see where something had tried to gain admittance, but I kept my eye on the wire and made adjustments where necessary. No more sprayings (in the backyard at least)!