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How-To: De-Skunk Your Dog

Apr 18, 2012, 1:01 AM EDT


By Bill Miller

Last week the NBC Sports Outdoors Web Editor Brett Miller (again, no relation!) posted a great blog about the power of scent to trigger memories. I really enjoyed that post because there are smells that trigger wonderful outdoor memories for me, too. Then I got to thinking, there are also smells that trigger not so wonderful memories.

True confession: I’ve lived a charmed hunting career. I’ve never had one of my own dogs tangle with a skunk. I remember it happening to my dad’s dogs when I was a kid, and I’ve walked across the parking lot on a Monday morning and realized from the odor eminating from a co-worker’s pick-up truck that his dog did. But me, I’ve been very lucky.

Maybe it’s my belief that as long as I take an umbrella, it will never rain. So I go prepared to deal with the eventuality of a skunking … the literal kind.

The recipe I to which adhere came from one of those co-workers who got it from an old trapper buddy of his. If anybody should have the right stuff when it comes to besting skunk musk it has to be an old trapper. Here goes:

In a plastic bucket mix in a ratio of one quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide to ¼ cup baking soda to four tablespoons of dishwashing detergent. It’s important to make sure you’re mixing in a plastic, non-reactive bucket – do not use a galvanized pail or anything like that. A good, grease-cutting dish soap like Dawn or Ivory is preferred. When the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, you work this mixture down into the dog’s coat. You’re probably going to want rubber gloves and an apron to do this, or at least clothes that you don’t mind throwing out when you’re done.

Only allow the mixture to work for about three minutes then rinse it completely from the dog with water. If allowed to sit too long, the concoction can bleach the dog’s coat and even damage the fur. Rinsing is best accomplished through a combination of dunking and spraying and working the water through then out the fur with your hands. However, when in the field, use what’s available to you.

Therein lies the most important tip. You have to be prepared to deal with the problem in the field if you don’t want to transport the smelly pooch in your vehicle. Problem with skunk scent is it is easily transferred and seems to cling for an eternity if you don’t deal with it. So you’ve got to have these ingredients with you every time you go hunting, training, whatever.

Now if you don’t want to seem a traveling chemical company hauling all these ingredients everywhere with you, I’ve been given another recommendation by a source who wishes to remain nameless. He swears it works just as well. His advice is to go to the store and lay in a supply of a feminine product known as the Massengill Douche. He buys in quantity to cut the frequency of the embarrassment of a muddy, camo-clad man at the check out counter with this kind of product, and he keeps a few bottles with his dog gear year round because he never knows when a dog will encounter a skunk.

So, Walgreen’s, I’ll take responsibility in advance for any increase in late-night purchases of feminine products by men with the hoods pulled up on their camo jump suits. But hey, it’s better to be prepared than wishing you were prepared … ain’t it? And of course you can always buy it on-line for discreet delivery in a plain brown wrapper.

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