A tip for when your dog requires 'de-skunking'

Ever been fishing and got skunked? It means you caught nothing, right?

Well, run into a live skunk in your backyard and see what you get. You’ll find out very quickly that skunked definitely doesn’t mean nothing.

My son Randy called me the other night. His black Lab had come face to face with a live, bushy-tailed skunk. When that happens, you know the results of the encounter. Yup, the skunk turned and sprayed its vile scent on Dudley, and it certainly wasn’t pretty.

When he called, I suggested the old remedy of bathing his dog in tomato juice. Well, that was bath number one. It didn’t work. Dudley smelled a little bit like a skunk in the pizza shop. So I suggested taking the dog to the car wash and laundromat on upper Main Street where they have a dog wash. I’ve heard it works, but you have to know my son. He’s rather anal about his vehicle. There’s no way he was going to put that stinking dog in his truck, so I suggested another remedy.

I was told that bathing a dog in the scent remover that we use on our hunting clothes works really well. After all, if deer can’t smell us, it’s got to kill the putrid smell of that black and white polecat. That was bath number two, and Dudley didn’t smell much better. It’s a good thing that Labrador retrievers like water.

That reminded me of a similar incident many years ago. I was teaching high school English in Worcester back in the late 70s. I taught school during the day and ran my coon hound almost every night during the season.

A friend of mine and I were hunting off of New Road in Laurens. A week or so before I had just bought a new Dodge Aspen station wagon. In the woods off of Wright Hill Road my dog ran right into a skunk. Like Randy, there was no way I was going to let that dog in my car. I hooked its leash to the driver’s side mirror and slowly let the dog trot along outside the car all the way home.

Now, don’t get all upset. It was only a little over a mile, and you wouldn’t have done anything different. The three ladies who I carpooled with wouldn’t have ridden with me if the dog had been inside that vehicle, and you know it. Besides, a dog may run five or six miles a night chasing those furry, masked bandits. Another mile wouldn’t make much difference.

So back to Dudley. Randy went on the internet and found a simple remedy that worked, but before I give you the ingredients, let me tell you another little story.

I used to trap animals for their pelts. (Now. I don’t want all you PETA people commenting. It won’t do you any good. It provided my kids with a great Christmas every year.)

I got a call from a lady in our church that the raccoons were raiding her garbage can every night. She wondered if I could do anything about it. So I went down on Oneida Street below Sidney Federal and set a trap. In the morning I got another call. There’s no such thing as a black and white raccoon. What was I going to do with a trapped skunk in a residential area? I certainly couldn’t just walk up to it and release it. So I figured if I shot it, it might not stink up the neighborhood. Wrong! Months later, you could smell that skunk every time it rained. You know for some strange reason, she never asked me to solve her garbage problem again.

Then there’s Dudley. You’ve heard the expression “three times a charm.” Well, three baths are. Randy went on Google and asked for a remedy to his problem. It told him to use a mixture of ¼ cup baking soda, two teaspoons of Dawn dish detergent and a quart of hydrogen peroxide. There was a warning not to leave it on the dog too long. I guess they didn’t want his black Lab to end up yellow, but it worked. Black Lab – no smell! Dudley was riding on the back seat of his truck this afternoon.

Note: Randy only had a pint bottle of peroxide and it still did wonders, so if you have a dog, keep a bottle on hand. You’ll never know when it will come in handy. For some reason dogs and skunks don’t seem to mix.

Recommended for you