Your Pet Got Skunked – Tips to Get Rid of the Smell!
2 July, 2013

If your cat, dog or any other pet got sprayed by a skunk, you know how horrible it can be!  It is smelly and a pain to clean up.  Some pet owners think that tomato juice is the answer.  But, if you have tried it, you know it doesn’t work.  You need to neutralize the skunk odor not mask it.  Below is a formula that should work for you and your pets if you get skunked!

Skunk Odor Removal Formula

1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (you can find this at any local drugstore)

¼ cup Baking Soda

1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap (like Dawn or Palmolive, but any similar dish soap will work)

This solution must be mixed in an OPEN container like a bucket. It will bubble or fizz profusely, so DON’T mix it or store it in a closed container or bottle. This formula will produce pressure in a closed container and cause the container to burst. Use it as soon as you make it, because it will lose all effectiveness if it is stored. It must be freshly made in order to work properly.

Wet your pet’s coat with warm water then thoroughly massage the formula into your pet’s coat. Be sure to massage it in very well so that you neutralize every trace of skunk spray. Be careful not to get any of the formula into his eyes nose or mouth. You may use a wash cloth to gently and carefully wipe it onto your pet’s face. Leave it on for about five minutes then rinse off thoroughly (do not get into eyes). Repeat if necessary.

Make sure that your pet’s eyes did not get sprayed

If the skunk happens to spray your pet directly in the eyes, call your Vet immediately.  You can tell if the skunk spray got in his or her eyes, because your pet’s eyes will be very red, irritated, and probably watery. The spray will make his or her eyes sting very badly; your pet will not be blinded but it can be very painful.

The smell of skunk spray has sulfur in it.

Skunk spray contains compounds called Thiols and Thioacetates. Thiols smell so horribly noxious because it contains sulfur.  The reason that skunk spray lingers for so long is because of the slow decomposition of Thioacetates into Thiols. It’s as if you are getting a “timed release” skunk odor because of the slow release of Thiols… yuck!

Tomato juice is just a buffer

You may have heard that tomato juice is the magic potion to get rid of skunk odor, but it isn’t magic, it’s just a temporary solution.  It masks the smell in the short term, but doesn’t get rid of it completely.  Think of it as a deodorizer or perfume; it might seem to have solved the skunk smell, but it’s more of am olfactory fatigue condition.  If you walk out of the room and back in, you will then smell the skunk smell again.

What you can do about the odor around your house

Clothing, fabrics or surfaces that can withstand bleach may be deodorized by using one cup of bleach per gallon of water. You can also use the peroxide formula to remove the odors from washable items but always remember to spot check the item for color fastness.

If the odor has drifted into the air in your home, try to air out your house as much as possible.  Time and ventilation will eventually remove the smell.

Any outdoor areas such as decks or concrete that can tolerate being bleached may be deodorized by using one cup of bleach per gallon of water.  And, obviously, never use bleach anywhere near your pets.

I hope these tips help and that your pet never gets ‘skunked’ at all!

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