Over the last few weeks, deep inhales have confirmed that skunks are back in action in the Hudson Valley. Sure, you have a chance of seeing these smelly striped fellas year 'round, but with their mating season kicking off recently, they are A-C-T-I-V-E. And when they're not busy knockin' paws or getting hit by cars, they may be getting ready to spray you or your pet. They're not jerks or anything, but their stinky defense mechanism can leave a lasting stench, especially if you don't know the proper way to clean up afterwards. The secret? Don't start with water.


Water is the Enemy

As a new dog owner I have to admit, before my trip down the skunk spray rabbit hole (mixed metaphor, sorry), my first instinct would be to immediately plop my puppy (or myself) in the bath. Don't do it! It could keep the stink lingering around for weeks or even months. Similarly to certain stains, water can actually help "set" the smelly skunk oils and make them exponentially more difficult to remove. So what should you do instead? There are a few options.


Look in Your Pantry

Before you introduce H2O to the situation, one home remedy involves something most households have on hand. No, not tomato juice, which doesn't really work that well. All you need is baking soda and some dish soap. Shampoo works as well, but the trick is to mix the baking soda with some soap or shampoo to create a gritty mixture. Rub this all over your dog and let it set for about 30 minutes. After the baking soda and soap have done their jobs loosening and soaking up the oils, it should be safe to rinse your dog with water. How do you get your pet to not lick it all off wile you wait the half hour? Damned if I know. Maybe a cone of shame would work. If not, there may be a "turbo" version.

Add a kicker

The American Kennel Club says you can skip the 30 minute "set" period and suggests you should add one more ingredient to the mixture: hydrogen peroxide. From their website:

[Mix] 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, 1/4 cup of baking soda, [and] 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap. Wearing rubber gloves, work the solution into your dog’s coat, washing thoroughly.

A tip: if you decide to include the peroxide, definitely don't wait to rinse, as they warn it could irritate your pets skin and even potentially bleach their fur, so unless your dog is Eminem from the 2000s, best to wash quickly.


Go to the Store

If you are wary of home remedies, luckily we're in the 21st century and there's a product for nearly everything. De-skunking shampoos are available online and at your local pet store. Sure, they'll be more expensive than the 1/4 of baking soda from your pantry, but as I'm learning, money can become secondary when you're caring for a beloved pet.

Want to make sure you avoid skunks all together? Then take your dog to one of the best dog parks in the Hudson Valley. They're virtually guaranteed to be Pepe Le Pew-free.

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