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Pet Connection Q&A: Home concoction kills the skunk odor

Published: Tuesday, Mar. 26, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4D

Our dog has been skunked twice in the last month. We've tried the tomato-juice recipe (and even added tomato sauce for extra "oomph"), but the smell remained. Any suggestions?

Skunks become very active as the weather starts to warm, and that means more skunking. Over the years, the universal skunk remedy has been widely accepted as the canned red stuff in your pantry. However, as reported in the Chicago Tribune several years ago, a chemist by the name of Paul Krebaum discovered what turns out to be the hands-down best solution for eliminating odor on dogs who have been skunked. You can probably find the ingredients in your cupboards. And yes, it really works!

Here's the odor-blasting formula: Take 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid hand soap. Mix and immediately apply to the stinky pet. Then rinse thoroughly with tap water. For a big dog, such as a Labrador retreiver, you may need to double the recipe to improve coverage. Common sense dictates keeping the mix out of sensitive areas like the eyes and ears. Also, don't allow your dog to ingest the mixture, because hydrogen peroxide can cause vomiting.

Obviously, you don't want to take the time to run to the store when you have a stinky dog, so buy the ingredients now and keep them on hand if you are likely to have a skunked-dog situation. But remember – don't mix them until seconds before application.

Skunks are a common carrier of rabies – and, obviously, if your dog is close enough to get sprayed, a bite is always a possibility. Double-check with your veterinarian on your dog's rabies vaccination status. If it's not current, bring it up to date immediately. You do not want to take a chance on rabies, ever, since it puts both pets and people at risk.

– Gina Spadafori

The buzz

Fatal case of rabies

• A Maryland man has died from rabies contracted from a transplanted kidney he received from an organ donor. It is the first fatal case in that state in almost 40 years. Raccoons, skunks, bats and other wild animals are the most common carriers of the virus, thanks to widespread vaccination programs in dogs and cats. In a typical year, five people die of rabies in the United States. • No matter how thoroughly your cat or dog licks the food dish, it's not clean enough to use again without washing. That goes for water dishes, too. Pick up your pet's food dish after every meal, then wash and scrub with hot water and soap. The water dish should get the same treatment on a daily basis.

– Dr. Marty Becker and Gina Spadafori

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