Q&A: When Fido gets a parting gift from Pepe Le Pew
Q: My dog had a close encounter with a skunk. How do I get that awful smell out of his fur?
A: Skunks are masters of chemical warfare, deterring predators with a stinky solution produced by their anal scent glands.
It contains sulfurous chemicals known as thiols, and skunks can spray it up to 15 feet. Many curious pets get a blast of it right in the face.
A dog or cat who gets hit at point-blank range will have a soaking wet face and eyes that are watery and red from irritation. Move quickly if you see him get skunked.
Before he runs into the house to rub his face all over your furniture in an attempt to ease the agony, wrap him in a towel and bathe his eyes with a soothing eyewash solution available from your drugstore. (Keep it on hand if you live in skunk country.)
Then it's bath time. Wearing rubber or latex gloves to protect your own skin from odor, shampoo your dog thoroughly, preferably outdoors. Rinse and repeat. Before or after the bath, soak your dog in one of the many home remedies that are said to help eliminate the odor. They include tomato juice, apple cider vinegar and a concoction consisting of 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon liquid soap and a quart of hydrogen peroxide. Whatever you use, it will probably take multiple treatments over a period of weeks for the odor to fully dissipate.
Try not to let your dog get wet for a while after you've cleaned him up from a skunking. Moisture seems to reactivate and even worsen the odor.