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8 Steps to De-Skunk Your Dog

It’s something you never forget – the first time your dog comes into the house after having an encounter with a skunk. The smell is unmistakable and just about unbearable. What can you do to get that awful smell off your dog?

Shampoos made just for the purpose of removing skunk smell are available at pet supply stores. They typically contain a combination of water, alcohol, enzymes and other ingredients, and work pretty well.

You can also use mix up your own de-skunking solution at home. The volume of ingredients you combine will vary depending on the size of your dog. If you have a small dog, a solution of 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda and a teaspoon of liquid detergent should be enough. If your dog is medium or large in size, make a few extra quarts of the solution and have it on hand while you are washing your dog. It’s better to have too much than to have to stop in midstream to make more.

             8 Steps to De-Skunk Your Dog

1. Wash outside. Keeping your dog outside while you are cleaning him up will help keep your house from being contaminated with skunk smell. (Anything he touches in the house will smell and need to be washed in the same solution.)

2. Rinse your dog thoroughly with water. Use lukewarm water if you can. If all you have is a garden hose, make do with this. Keep in mind that using cool water on your dog in cold weather may cause him to shiver, but having a dry towel handy to keep him covered when you aren’t working on his coat should help.

3. Apply the solution to your dog’s coat, making sure it soaks through hair all the way to the skin. If your dog has a thick, double coat, you will need to use more of the solution to get good coverage. You want to penetrate through the hair and get all the way to the skin. (Keep in mind that the hydrogen peroxide may bleach your dog’s hair.)

4. Scrub your dog’s coat thoroughly for five minutes, making sure to get all the way down to the skin. Don’t’ forget to wash his face, although take care not to get the solution in his eyes. To help protect them, add a drop of mineral oil in each eye before you begin working around his face.

5. Rinse your dog thoroughly with water. Make sure to get all the way through his coat and down to the skin when rinsing.

6. Still smelly? Wash and Repeat. If you still smell skunk after finishing up and moving your dog to a different area of the yard, you’ll need to wash him again. Repeat the entire process until you no longer detect any odor coming from his coat.

7. Shampoo and Condition. To remove the hydrogen peroxide de-skunking solution and condition your dog’s skin and coat, wash your dog again, this time with Cowboy Magic® Rosewater Shampoo. The silk proteins in the shampoo will penetrate the hair and deep condition the skin, which will help prevent dryness. Follow up with Cowboy Magic® Rosewater Conditioner, the formula will dissolve mineral and chemical buildup deposited by the water, leaving the coat healthy, clean and soft. Do this indoors so you can use lukewarm water on your dog.

8. Dry your dog thoroughly with a clean towel, all the way to the skin. Put your nose into his coat: you shouldn’t smell skunk anymore.
If you do, you’ll need to wash him again with the hydrogen peroxide solution, following the same steps as above. Finish up with Cowboy Magic® Rosewater Shampoo and Cowboy Magic® Rosewater Conditioner a second time to remove the hydrogen peroxide solution and treat your dog’s skin to the deep conditioning.

The good news is that even though you just spent a considerable amount of time and energy removing the skunk smell from your dog, he probably learned his lesson. Most dogs don’t appreciate getting sprayed by a skunk, and quickly get the message. The skunk’s easily recognizable black coat with white stripes provides a warning for dogs who have had the misfortune of being sprayed. Chances are, the next time your dog sees one of these critters, he will stay far away.