How to De-Skunk Your Dog

Thriving Canine Radio had the pleasure of interviewing Billy Rafferty, celebrity dog groomer to the stars. While Billy feels most at home styling the canines (including Oprah Winfrey's), he did take an hour of his time to share some great grooming tips with us. When the subject of how to get the skunk smell off a dog who's been sprayed by a skunk came up, Billy gave us some great advice.

Below is the transcript from that interview:


Dawn, Thriving Canine Radio: What is the proper procedure if your dog gets skunked?

Billy Rafferty: There are a lot of concoctions and if you go to the American Humane Association website, you'll find some there. But, if your dog has been skunked and you just go and put water on the dog, it will just disperse and the smell will be everywhere. And let's be honest - it's not a good smell.

(Laughter)

Dawn: So, what do you do? You just realize your dog has been skunked. What's the first step?

Billy: The first thing you do is get your homemade skunk odor remover. It is a quart of unexpired hydrogen peroxide, 3%, a quarter cup of baking soda and a teaspoon of liquid soap.

Dawn: Any soap - like a dishwashing soap?

Billy: Ya, exactly. Dishwashing soap would be better than regular soap. And the important thing is don't get it into the dog's eyes. And that's hard because most of the time the dogs are sprayed in the face because the dog is looking at the skunk. If you don't use all of the solution, DO NOT STORE IT because it can be explosive if stored.  Use it all, once made, immediately.

Dawn: O.k, so whatever you don't use...

Billy: GET RID OF! (laughter) But, better yet, use it all!

Dawn: O.k, so you use this solution on your dog and then at some point you're going to have to rinse, right?

Billy: Yes, rinse thoroughly.

Dawn: Because you don't want to leave the residue of that concoction on there.

Billy: Right.

Dawn: I would imagine it's not going to kill the smell completely.

Billy: But, it helps a great deal. And as you're putting this solution on your dog, try not to let your dog shake. Keep the solution on your dog for several minutes and then shampoo them with a hypo-allergenic shampoo to get the solution off and the shampoo will help with the smell too.

Dawn: So, the tomato juice recipe we've heard about? No good?

Billy: No, he would just smell like a giant Italian dinner....and skunk.

(laughter)

Dawn: Ok, so let's take a step back... you want to make sure your dog was only odorized (sprayed) and not scratched or bitten by the skunk.

Billy: Yes, of course. And, if you live in an area where skunks are always around, it's a good idea to keep these ingredients handy...just not pre-mixed since that can be a problem as I said before. Again, I don't recommend splashing water on the dog first. Just start with the product and get a clothes pin for your nose.

(laughter)

Dawn: So, start with the product first, let that solution saturate and sit for a bit and then shampoo with a hypo-allergenic shampoo and make sure it all gets rinsed.

Billy: Yes, that's right. Again, no left overs!!!

Dawn: O.k everyone. We've told you again not to store this product. Use it all or dump it down the drain. You've been warned...this is our disclaimer.

(laughter)

Dawn: Thanks, Billy!  A lot of folks are going to find this information useful!