Pet Connection Q&A: Keep key ingredients ready for 'skunk kit'

07/24/2012 12:00 AM

07/23/2012 3:27 PM

Our dog has been "skunked" twice this year already. Is there anything that can get the smell off him fast?

Forget tomato juice. If your pet ever gets skunked, the most effective de-stinking recipe is one you make fresh, from ingredients that you should keep on hand.

The recipe: Take 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap, such as Ivory. Mix and immediately apply to the stinky pet. Rinse thoroughly with clean tap water.

The key is to mix the ingredients immediately before applying them to your pet. The chemical reaction bonds with the molecules that produce the smell and neutralizes them.

Use a washcloth to work carefully around your dog's eyes and ears. And don't even think of storing any leftover solution. The chemical reaction of the combined ingredients cannot be contained – so just throw the leftovers away.

– Gina Spadafori

To put it bluntly, our dog stinks. We've tried all kinds of products, and nothing works. Is there something we can feed him that will help?

If you're constantly wincing at your pet's objectionable odor, you need to make an appointment with your veterinarian. Bad breath can be a sign of rotting teeth or gums, and smelly ears are often a result of infections. An overall bad smell may indicate skin problems.

Don't ignore these warning signs. Disease can make your pet miserable and shorten his life. Stinky pets aren't normal. Proper diagnosis and treatment by a veterinarian can improve your pet's quality of life – and your life, as well, by keeping your pet sweet-smelling.

– Dr. Marty Becker

The buzz

'Dirty' pets helping kids grow up healthy

For a healthier child, get a pet – or at least let your baby be around one. In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that kids who spent time around dogs and cats during their first year of life were healthier and got fewer ear infections and needed fewer courses of antibiotics than little ones who led animal-free lives. Other studies have suggested that childhood exposure to animals leads to fewer allergies. These studies suggest that the pets – and the dirt that rides in on them – challenge the immune system and set up good defenses for life.

Cats are able to squeeze through spaces that seem narrower than they are because they don't have a rigid collarbone to block their way through nooks and crannies. Once they can get their head and shoulders through, their sleek bodies present no further obstacle.

– Gina Spadafori

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