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Every RVers worst nightmare: When your dog gets skunked

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We’re not going camping this weekend.

Blame it on a skunk.

That’s because the night before we were to leave, Tai, our Norwegian Elkhound, was tagged at close range by a strolling skunk that has declared our front lawn his territory, despite the grey and black furball that patrols it with vigor.

It was a busy night for Tai. First, he nailed an Opossum. Actually, he just thought he took out the Opossum. The ‘possum was playing, all curled up in the grass. Funny thing is the ‘possum and Tai should be old friends by now. This happens several times each year. Tai is always mystified that this “kill” is gone when he rushes out the next morning.

I was on my way home from a meeting when Jennifer noticed Tai and the ‘possum last night. “Bring Tai in and move the ‘possum next door so when Tai goes out before bed he won’t harass that poor creature,” Jennifer instructed on the phone.

The skunk must have come by shortly afterwards and Tai, thiking he was in doggy heaven, figured he had another critter to bag. Alas, he got sprayed. Drenched, actually.

Skunked Tai tried to sleep off the stink on the front swing. Now we have to wash the cushions on that, too.

I smelled skunk in my car a block away. It was heavy in the air as I parked in the garage and went to take Tai from guarding the ‘possum. I didn’t notice that the odor was coming from him. But Jennifer did, when I opened the garage door and sent him inside while I moved our little ‘possum buddy.

She sent him out fast and we both gave up plans of packing the RV for a quick Friday getaway.

The smell lingered inside and we both gagged. We sentenced Tai to hard time in the garage for the night and I Facebooked my plight. In the morning, Tai relocated to a front porch glider, where he looked humiliated. He lost his ‘possum and he stunk with skunk. Doggie disaster.

From Facebook, I was armed with numerous suggestions from friends far and wide. I did two things: First, I went to Pet Smart and picked up two bottles of Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Removal. It came highly recommended from a friend in Canada named Jim and a local vet. Douse the dog in it, leave it on for five minutes or longer and then rinse it off. I used most of a bottle on Tai. I’ll keep the other one in the Roadtrek in case this happens while we’re out there boondocking. The second thing I did was take Tai to the pet groomer for a bath. They also claimed to have a secret formula which they applied, though they wouldn’t share the recipe.

The bottle of the Miracle Skunk Odor Removal and the bath did the job, though there’s still a slight skunk smell which, we fear, would be way too noticeable in the Roadtrek. Hence, no boondocking trip this weekend.

But the suggestions of other skunk remedies seem well worth passing along.

Here they are. Feel free to add your own suggestions under comments.

David and Helen both separately suggested that I mix up a three percent solution of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and liquid soap. That’s also the suggested recommendation of the Humane Society of the United States.  For more detailed instructions, here’s another variation of that recipe.

Tina has had her dog skunked twice this year. She cautioned against leaving that peroxide solution on your dog for too long. “Mine ended up with blond highlights,” she lamented. “Took forever for the fur to grow out normal.” Instead, she swears by “Permatex hand cleaner, bought it at Meijer. Scrub it in, and wash it off.”

Cathy says “Vinegar & dish soap really helps.” Colleen says “try Dry douche powder.”

Susan said to bathe him tomato juice.

Char says don’t. “Bathe Tai in dawn dish washing soap and then rub lemon juice all over. I had an Old English bulldog who did the same thing and trust me when I say tomato juice does not work but the dawn & lemon juice does.”

And Judith suggested that I “Rub him with catsup – a lot – then wash off. Sounds strange but it really works. Something about the correct acid or pH or something.”

Finally, as much as Tai reeked and cleaning him up was a hassle, Craig shared a perspective that made my experience seem not quite so bad: “The only thing worse than having a dog skunked? Having three dogs skunked. One night all 3 of our dachshunds cornered a skunk in the back yard. Long haired dachsies, too. It was weeks.”

Lots of suggestions. I appreciate them all.

As does Tai.

Maybe we can get away next weekend.


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  • jim

    glad to hear it worked. stuff is a miracle.

  • Julie and Jay

    I have printed this out and will keep it in our RV. We travel with a very curious Golden and she loves to explore. Since we dry camp in the woods, it’s probably just a metter of time until she meets up with one of those black and white stripped kitties.