Cape Cod, I have some bad news for you. Pepe Le Pew is in town and he's after your dog.
For the past two weeks we have had several skunked dogs come into the shop. I have always joked that skunked dogs are my favorite because owner's are so appreciative of anything and everything you can do for their stinky companions. A smart person, aware that skunks are running about town, would be prepared. I'm not that girl. So, even with fair warning, instead of loading up with an skunk emergency kit, I thought to myself how lucky I was that none of my own dogs have ever been sprayed.
My luck was about to run out.
Thursday night, before heading out of town for a hockey tournament, our Chessie Brinx (aka: Stinky, fittingly) was sprayed. As I mentioned, I wasn't prepared. Fortunately, this is the one time that owning a dog wash comes super in handy. We rushed down to the store and I was able to test out our de-skunking products first hand. Stinky went from skunked to smelling like, well, nothing within an hour. This is how...
1. Never, I repeat, Never wet your dog. I'm sure there is some scientific reason for why water bonds the skunked smell to your dog's hair, but I'm not going to get into all that. What I can tell you, is that if your dog's hair gets wet, it will be 1000x harder to remove the smell. Resist the urge to hose your pup down, you will only make things worse.
2. Dry them. Wipe them down to get off any excess skunk spray. I used a ratty, old towel that our skunked dog had recently ripped when he mistaken it for a tug toy. It went right into the garbage after that.
3. Soak your pup in enzymes. Odor neutralizing enzymes break down the oils from the skunk. I used Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover and left it on for 10 minutes (5 minutes longer than the recommended usage).
4. Wash that skunk right out of their hair. Thank goodness for Skunk Off! Their shampoo worked wonders. By this time your pup is probably pretty annoyed, between the skunking and now soaking and bath. Don't scrimp on time here. Make sure you wash their face (close but carefully near the eyes) and in-between their toes.
5. Wash with your choice of dog-friendly shampoo. I chose to use Grimeinator, a natural but tough cleaner. It doesn't have a great smell to it, but it will help break down any remaining skunk oils without being too harsh on your dog's coat. I also did a double-duty blueberry facial, deodorizing the face. I wanted to stay away from sweet smelling shampoos to really see how the products were working but I think it's safe to say at this point that you can use whatever you like.
6. Keep those enzymes on hand and spray whenever you smell skunk. You can soak the pup down as needed and allow the enzymes to dry. After drenching Stinky in Nature's Miracle, bathing him in Skunk Off and Grimeinator, I sprayed him down with the enzymes and allowed them to dry on him.
7. Throw away that collar. Whatever your dog was wearing, collar or harness. Toss it. You can wash it a hundred times but the fibers hold onto the scent. I'm not saying that it won't ever go away, but it's usually more trouble than it's worth. Plus, let's face it, they deserve a new one after all that anyway.
After learning my lesson, I now have a skunk emergency kit at home: Skunk Off soaker and shampoo. Many people like to make a paste of baking soda, peroxide and Dawn. If you're anything like me, the baking soda in your fridge expired two years ago and smells like leftovers and you're not sure if the expensive organic dish soap you buy at Whole Foods will do the same thing.
We drove home that night with no skunk odor whatsoever. It has now been a week, with two rainy days and still no smell of skunk. All of the items mentioned are included in our Pepe Le P.U. package at Hot Diggity Dog Wash & Boutique where we will gladly assist you and your stinky pup!