All About Animals: A Skunk by any other Name

It’s just past dusk, but not quite dark, when out from under your deck he waddles. You’ve caught a glimpse of him a time or two before, but it was at a distance. This time he’s much closer. You and your best pal quietly watch him. He’s black and white, fluffy and oh so adorable. What could be cuter? He ambles along, not a care in the world, sniffing here and there.

But then curiosity gets the best of the guy at your side. He moves in to take a closer look at the “kitty”. Oh – No! No! No! Not that close, pal! He heeds your plea and takes a few steps back toward you. The “kitty” turns as if to walk away. But then up goes that fluffy tail and Whamo! Too late – your best friend has been skunked!

Oh my! Now what to do? That odor is overwhelming. You could smell him a mile away. Well, “you know who” won’t be sleeping at the foot of your bed tonight! That’s for sure! But wait – there’s hope. Read on. Move over, tomato juice. There are a few new home remedies on the block. Let’s check out a few:

Normally, a dog is sprayed directly in the face. So start by rinsing his eyes with warm water as soon as possible. The spray will not do any permanent damage to the eye, but it will cause pain, redness and temporary loss of vision. Now, on to that odor.

Being as the skunk’s spray is an oil, it is best to remove it while it is still wet, spot clean if possible, or try any of the following solutions as a total body deodorizer.

  • 1 ½ cup vanilla extract : 1 gal water – soak coat for 10 minutes; rinse
  • Vinegar 50% water 50% – Let stand 15 minutes; rinse
  • 1 box baking soda : juice of 2 lemons : 1 squirt of any shampoo – bathe, rinse
  • 1 qt. club soda – Work in well, let set 10 minutes; shampoo, rinse
  • Shampooing with Dawn dish soap breaks down skunk oil
  • 3 12-oz. cans of beer : 2T vanilla extract – saturate well, let set 5 minutes; rinse
  • A baking soda and warm water paste: saturate, let dry; brush out
  • Coca Cola: soak 5 minutes, rinse
  • One tube toothpaste in warm water – Work in well, let set 5 minutes; rinse
  • Cool Mint Listerine – Saturate well; shampoo, rinse
  • Carnation Evaporated Milk – let dry; shampoo, rinse
  • Lava Soap – bar or liquid – use as a shampoo, rinse
  • Massengill, work in well; rinse
  • 1 qt. peroxide : ¼ cup baking soda : 2 tablespoons dish soap – Saturate, let set; rinse (Do not store – has explosive capabilities)

More than likely, you will find one or more of these inexpensive remedies in your pantry or medicine cabinet.

Skunk Trivia:

  • Skunks hate perfume. So, a good repellent would be to use cologne or after shave sprinkled around areas that he frequents.
  • Skunks are nocturnal: Maybe that’s why we often awake to that aroma wafting lightly in the early morning air.
  • These pesky varmints are the chief carrier of rabies in the US. If you see a skunk in the daytime — red flag!! It probably has rabies.
  • He can actually spray as far as 15 feet.
  • These little rascals love living under decks, houses, or any cool, dark place.
  • Your cat and dog food left uncovered quickly becomes a “critter deli”.

Let’s hope that you never need any of the above tips to rid your best pal of “that odor” – and always assure him of his favorite place, right where he belongs – sleeping at the foot of your bed.

Chic Miller

Since 1990 Chic Miller and her husband, Bob, have owned and operated Bella Vista Farms Animal Sanctuary, a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal sanctuary on Gas Point Road in Cottonwood. The Millers care for hundreds of abused and neglected animals. Animals that come to this sanctuary remain there for the rest of their lives. Chic is a retired nurse and takes care of all the medical needs for the injured and ill animals. Aside from a few volunteers, Bob and Chic take care of all the daily chores. The Millers care for hundreds of animals, including dogs, horses, ponies, pigs, llamas, goats, cats, chickens and yes, even a one-legged turkey. Chic Miller can be reached at 530-347-0544. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to help support Bella Vista Farms Animal Sanctuary.

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