If your dog or cat has ever tangled with a skunk, you know that you must take action – and fast. Otherwise, you must suffer the consequences of skunk odor permeating your motorhome, cabin, car or house. Common sense tells you to keep the animal outdoors until you can remove the odor from the fur. Here are a few tips for removing the skunk odor. Before trying any of these remedies, place a cotton ball in each ear and a dab of Vaseline around the eyes. Many vets recommend putting a drop or two of mineral oil in your pet’s eyes. In addition, have a source of fresh water available to flush the eyes if any of the solutions manage to get past your barriers and into the eyes. Use a washcloth for the face and take extra care to avoid the eyes. Using tomato juice may sound like an old wives tale but it usually does the trick. The tomato juice neutralizes the skunk odor and its consistency coats the fur quite well. The size of the pet will determine how many cans to use. Generously pour the juice onto the animal’s coat and work in with your fingers. If possible do this in an area where you will be able to hose the juice away afterwards or use a bathtub or sink. Allow to soak for ten to fifteen minutes and then rinse with water.
Tomato paste also works well for removing skunk odor in a pinch. The thickness of the paste makes applying it easy, especially for smaller animals. Another home remedy for removing skunk odor involves a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish detergent. Take 4 cups of peroxide and mix in 4 tablespoons baking soda along with 1 teaspoon of dish detergent, preferably Dawn. Dawn dish detergent is a degreaser and tackles the skunk oil. Using rubber gloves, apply the mixture to your pet’s coat taking care not to get it in his eyes or ears. Once thoroughly applied, rinse with water. Be aware that the peroxide could discolor the coat, so this solution is not as desirable for colored coats. Don’t have any peroxide or tomato juice handy? Try sponging on white vinegar and letting the vinegar soak into the fur for about five to ten minutes, then wash it out. If you are doing this outside, be aware that vinegar will kill your grass. Find an acceptable area such as a concrete area with a drain. Another idea is to partially fill a bathtub with warm water and vinegar. Place the animal in the tub and soak his coat. Work some straight vinegar directly into the coat as well. Before drying the animal off, work in a little lemon juice. Many professionals in the pest industry recommend Massengill douche to remove the skunk odor. It is PH balanced, gentle and doesn’t discolor the fur. If you prefer to skip the home remedies, pet stores and veterinarian’s offices carry commercial skunk odor removers. Again, the animal’s size will determine the amount to buy. If you live in an area were skunk encounters are likely, or camp in the woods, make sure to have an emergency supply of the remedy of your choice on hand or stashed in your camper. You’ll be glad you had the foresight to do so.