7 lessons learned when my dog got skunked

I have a big back yard. Birds and squirrels enjoy frolicking about back there. As do skunks.

dog skunked

Skunks, as you likely know, are nocturnal animals, so we've never seen them during the day. And we've only smelled whiffs of them now and then as their stinky scent wafts through the night-time air. Our dogs — who sleep indoors at night — have never had the misfortune of being sprayed by a skunk.

Until Tuesday night.

Tuesday night, Mickey, our pointer-pit mix, went out along with Lyla, our black lab-shepherd mix, to go potty before bedtime. I immediately knew something was up. Mickey typically lollygags his way to the door, reluctantly heading out to pee per my demand. This time, though, Mickey dashed out the door and dashed around in the dark. 

Jim went out to see what was up. And what was up was a skunk! Up and about and intent on making its mark on my animals — and on my husband.

It was scary. It was stinky. It was a learning experience I hope we never experience again. Here I share what I learned in hopes it might help others. 

ONE
Don't attempt to shoo or chase or scare the skunk away. Skunks don't retreat; they spray. And they'll spray you. Jim went out with his iPhone flashlight on, hoping to see Mickey in its glow. Instead he saw the scared and stinky skunk with its tail in the air and heading Jim's way. Jim called for the dogs and ran to the door. Alas, it was too late for Mickey.

TWO
Don't let the dog in the house. Lyla had dashed through the door I held open and Mickey did, too. By the foam coming from his mouth (see No. 3) and the stench surrounding him, I knew to shoo him out, rejected as he seemed to feel. He dropped some slobber on the floor (see No. 7) but I thankfully had the sense to not let him get any farther through the door.

THREE
Stay on top of rabies vaccinations. The foam flowing from Mickey's mouth had me briefly concerned about rabies. But I knew Mickey was up-to-date on his vaccinations and realized his mouth was trying to get the icky, disgusting, horrid smell — and, surely, taste — out, by way of foaming like mad. Thank heavens he wasn't truly mad... or rabid.

FOUR
Kick it into high gear — and forget the tomato juice! Everyone's heard that tomato juice baths remove the skunk stink. I had no tomato juice. So I dashed to the computer, Googled for a non-juice solution, and found this from The Humane Society:

Mix together:
1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide (available at your local pharmacy)
1/4 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap
Wearing rubber gloves, wash your dog with this solution immediately after he's been sprayed. DO NOT get the solution in the dog's eyes. (If you don't have peroxide, baking soda, and liquid soap on hand, use vinegar diluted with water.)

Hooray! I had that stuff on hand! I mixed it in my super-sized mixing bowl and ran down to the patio with it. As Jim held Mickey in place (after quickly attaching the leash), I applied the peroxide mixture. Then I ran back inside, emptied all our vinegar into the same bowl, diluted it, ran back out and applied all of that. Afterward, we got Mickey into the dog shower (in the house, lower level bathroom); Jim showered Mickey while I sprayed off the patio.

Gist of the lesson: If you have a dog and you have skunks in your neighborhood, keep lots of peroxide and lots of vinegar on hand, just in case. (I'm assuming you have baking soda and dishsoap at all times anyway.)

FIVE
Throw everything away. The dog leash, the dog collar, the towels used, the shoes soaked while soaking the dog in solution. You will want to throw it all away. It stinks. Disgustingly so. I even threw away my super-sized stainless steel mixing bowl. Sure, it likely could have been washed and washed and washed and eventually be clean. But I just knew I'd be smelling skunk in it forever, for real or perceived, and just the idea of such stench ruining future baked goods was enough to make me just pitch the darn thing.

SIX
Products turned down by The Sharks may still be worthy of purchase. Several seasons ago, Jim and I saw a product on ABC's Shark Tank called PureAyre. It supposedly eliminated every.stinkin'.smell. Everything. The Sharks didn't bite, and the creator — who was a jerk and his own worse enemy — walked away without a deal because of his stinky attitude. But Jim and I came away with a desire to try PureAyre. I got online, purchased it, was pleased. It is fantastic. It eliminates odors, pet enzymes, odor of any origin.* I've been out of it for quite some time (it's kind of expensive), but once Mickey'd been skunked, I knew I must get more. Yesterday morning I visited the one and only local pet store that carries it. It saved the day. And my dog. And my house. And my sanity. (See No. 7.)

SEVEN
Even if the skunk doesn't spray in your mouth, it will taste like it. The stench of that foamy yuck that Mickey splatted when first trying to get in the house along with the smell remaining on his body even after our best peroxide then vinegar efforts infiltrated everything. Even things that it couldn't possibly have gotten on or in or around. Jim swore it was in his coffee. I swore it got in the car. We both complained again and again about how we keep tasting it in our mouths. It was that bad. Or so we imagined.

Thankfully PureAyre is "food-grade safe," making it okay to spray it in one's mouth — dogs and humans alike. Jim and I haven't gone that far yet but just knowing we can if we must has kept us sane in the midst of our skunky stench.

I just finished ordering another gallon of the stuff from Amazon.com... just in case.

*This is not a sponsored post. The stuff simply works... really, really well.

Today's question:

What kind of skunky experiences have you had?