Canine v Skunk

I can now confirm that a mixture of baking soda, water, and vinegar will remove skunk odor from a dog.

I went out with her around 8:30 last night and lost track of her for a bit in the high grass in the field behind my mother’s house.  When I heard the first bark I realized something was up because it was her playful bark, but there wasn’t a corresponding burst of movement, which told me that there was something other than a cat or rabbit.  Sure enough, as I got closer and pointed my flashlight I saw her jumping back and forth barking at the skunk.  Then I saw the skunk turn its tail toward her and I knew we were in for trouble.  I yelled at her to get back and to come to me, but when she’s excited I might as well not exist.  However, I will note that *after* she got sprayed that she had no trouble minding me.  smirk

I was a little concerned, though, because this is the point when the skunk turned towards me.  A skunk that acts agressive is a warning sign that it might be rabid.  When I pointed my light directly at it, it turned and waddled away, which I suppose is lucky for all of us (although Boots has had her shots I certainly have no desire to have anything to do with a rabid skunk, and the skunk is lucky not to learn what .40S&W Hydrashocks would do to him).

We weren’t certain of the exact ratio to use in the mixture so what we ended up doing was mixing a bunch of baking soda with water in a bucket.  I then used a large cup to scoop out the mixture and added vinegar to the cup and poured it over the dog while it was still foaming.

The original recommendations I’ve seen are to use hydrogen peroxide rather than vinegar, but we didn’t have enough on hand.  The oxygen released by the peroxide reaction is supposed to neutralize the thiols from the skunk smell.  Vinegar releases carbon dioxide from the baking soda rather than oxygen, but it still seems to work.


  1. Gerry N. says:

    If this proves to be a regular pastime by your pooch, lay in a supply of el-cheapo tomato juice.  A couple of cans stashed under the seat of the pickup could make the ride home a lot less unpleasant as well.  Hell, I suppose you could even drink it in a pinch.

    When I was a kid, I had a beagle bitch who loved to chase skunks.  She wouldn’t hurt ‘em, she just wanted to play.  They sprayed her anyway.  We finally had to put her on a high line to keep her in the yard, she never did learn.  We couldn’t teach the skunks, either.


  2. Jason says:

    You need to get a pellet gun or 22 short gun for those varmints. I would hate to see what a 40 would do to the skunk and your ear drums.

  3. Roger Ritter says:

    The tomato juice works, but can have an unintended side-effect.  When our Irish Wolfhound found a skunk to play with, we put him in a tub before we washed him down with the tomato juice. We figured that way we could re-use some of it.  The dog quickly figured out that we were giving him a bath with FOOD, and started lapping up the tomato juice!

    There is also a commercial preparation called Skunk-Off that works pretty well, and can also be used to wash down walls and furniture that the dog rubbed against after he burst into the house.

  4. Jim Carson says:

    You released CO2?  Into the atmosphere?

    I hope you’re planning to rectify this, perhaps by purchasing some carbon offsets.  And buy some extra for all that breathing you’ve been doing lately.

  5. David Hardy says:

    My father, who had experence, swore by tomato juice. He also said if your clothes got nailed, they could be cleansed by burying them for a time. Understand, this was 50 years ago, when buying new pants and shirt was more of a sacrifice than it is today.