We got skunked over the weekend. Actually our dog, Sassy, AKC Registered Boston Terrier, Lady Sassafras VII, got a little too curious with a skunk outside our bedroom window at about 2:00 am Sunday morning. It’s all circumstantial evidence though, we didn’t actually witness the crime. The stench was so bad it woke both of us. We’ve had that happen before, but it was someone else’s unfortunate pet, and wasn’t directly under the open window a story below.
We didn’t think much of it at the time, just tried to get back to sleep trying not to gag, and after a while the eyes did stop watering. The smell, although still very strong, dissipated enough that we fell back asleep. We figured that it must have been in a next-door-neighbor’s yard.
Sunday morning we could still smell the normal skunk smell but we also kept smelling a very strong order of burnt rubber. It would be stronger once in a while and less so in another room. Then we figured out
where it was coming from. It was the dog. When she was close to us, there was this smell of burning rubber and rotting eggs, and when she wasn’t in the same room it wasn’t as bad. My jacket, hanging next to me in my work-space this morning, has the same smell, as does every room in our house including the closets. I don’t think scented sprays and candles are going to fix this.
So here is the most commonly accepted recipe to remove the burnt tire and rotting egg smell from your dog. It’s not tomato juice as I always thought. I guess the only thing worse than skunk smell is the aroma of tomato juice added to the burnt rubber and rotting eggs with a hint of garlic. Just a caution, the recipe below is extremely dangerous if you try to save any of it for later use. It has a tendency to explode if kept in a closed container.
You’ll need one quart of hydrogen peroxide, one-quarter cup of baking soda, and one teaspoon of liquid soap (Dawn is preferred it seems). Mix that up real good in an OPEN container. Shampoo up your dog with it using a clothes pin on your nose and a little dog shampoo to start it up. Be exceptionally careful not to get any of this solution in your dogs eyes, nose, ears or mouth. I haven’t actually tried it yet, but they say it works.
I wish I would have known about this special recipe yesterday, but we just used a shampoo on the dog and got most of the smell out. I also noticed that there are a lot of skunk smell remover products on the market. You won’t find the recipe above sold in any stores though, or on an infomercial, because, like I said, you can’t put a lid on the bottle. You can put it in a spray bottle and use it as an air freshener though. Just don’t save any of it when you’re done.
It made me wonder who figured it out the formula without blowing themselves up. Turns out it was invented by Paul Krebaum, an Illinois chemist. It works because there is an active, yet short-lived, chemical reaction going on with the ingredients and the chemical in the skunk smell.
Skunks are normally active at dawn, dusk or during the night. That means they’re nocturnal creatures. They have a humorous waddle when they walk. They can only see about 18″ in front of them, but their hearing is excellent. They have these two glands, one on each side of the anus. These glands produce about 15cc of a mixture of sulfur-containing chemicals, including methyl and butyl thiols that have a highly offensive odor. The skunk will use this defensive weapon only sparingly because they only have 5-6 uses before they need to produce more. Which means they won’t be able to ward off that bear if they run out, because it takes about ten days for the glands to produce more spray. The biggest danger with regard to your pet though, is that they are prone to rabies, so always check for bite marks.
So that was the excitement for the weekend. Learned a little more about skunks I didn’t know. Did you know that you can smell a skunk up to a mile downwind of where they sprayed? Don’t know how helpful that information might be, except that even though you might think so, that skunk wasn’t as close as you thought. But just like counting seconds between lightning and thunder to determine how close it is, if you wake up gagging, with your eyes watering and you think somebody is burning tires in your backyard, that skunk was pretty damn close.