Pantops Pet Salon
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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

De-Skunking

Friday, October 26th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Archived from “The Paw Report:”  Issue #16.

If you’ve ever experienced skunk spray up close, you know it is powerful to the point of being nauseating. Skunks are omnivores, eating both plant and animals, but mostly animals — insects, worms, rodents, snakes, frogs, etc. They burrow and live in dens, often in wood or junk piles. Skunks have extremely poor vision — 50% of their deaths are due to cars and hunting. They have earned the respect of most wildlife and are not bothered by predatory animals. Leave it to dogs’ curiosity to get them in trouble. Skunks can spray between 7 and 15 feet, causing burning of the eyes and a runny nose. Since a dog’s face is usually toward the skunk, that’s the area that gets hit worst.

There are a number of home remedies for de-skunking your dog. The following is one that claims to really work:

1 quart hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup baking soda
1-2 teaspoons dish soap
(add warm water if it is a large dog)
Sponge on this solution and let it sit.

I’ve never tried this in the shop, so we have no recommendations or comments on its effectiveness.

The Salon Process

First, we let you know ahead of time that we don’t guarantee 100% removal of the smell. We can make your dog hospitable and mostly odor free, but if you put your nose to his face, you’ll still smell a faint skunk odor.  Also, water will bring out the smell so if it starts raining you will get a whiff.

Since dogs go at skunks face first, that’s usually where they get hit the worst.  Of course, we can’t get any soap or chemicals in their eyes, so we have to be very cautious in that area. We start by washing with Dawn detergent first.  This will remove a lot of the spray by stripping oils from the coat. We then bathe the dog again using Triclosan deodorizing shampoo.  Before we rinse the dog, we let this shampoo soak in for 5 minutes.  Our final step consists of spraying on “Odor Destroyer.” It is made by Davis Manufacturing and their description of their product is that it is an “exothermic reaction synthesis” that “attacks the molecular structure of offensive odors and completely removes them.” It does seem to do a great job, but I’m no so sure about the “completely removes” part. I think fresh air, sunshine, and time have to get that last little bit of odor.

When we have a skunked dog in the Salon, everybody knows it. The smell will linger for hours after the dog has gone home, despite our cleaning and airing out. We’re usually good to go the next day.

Keep a severely skunked dog out of your house and car until he has been treated. Car seats, carpet, and couches will absorb the odor. Often dogs will try to wipe their muzzles clean, getting the skunk’s spray on whatever they use. You’ll need to borrow a crate for transport and this should clean up easily.

One last request. Wash your dog’s collar or have us do it ($5) — it stinks too!

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