That Stinks!

Let me start by explaining that the photos of this tree frog hanging out on our deck railing have noting to do with the title of this post or the story that will follow. They were just some cool pictures that I took that really didn’t have a story and since this story didn’t really have any photos to go with it I decided to pair the two.

Isn’t he cute?

On With the Story

It was shortly after 4:00 A.M. when I was awakened by the sound of my husband frantically calling “Ranger, Ranger No!”. I heard the screen door close and again my husband’s command, “Ranger No!”

“What’s going On?” I called from the comfort of my bed.

“Ranger just got sprayed by a skunk.”


In the few minutes it took me to get up and ready to help, my husband had already gathered the baking soda and peroxide and was getting Ranger in the bathtub. I gave him a towel to dry off the pup when he finished and spread a blanket on the floor for Ranger to roll on after his bath.

The smell of skunk permeated the house and my next task was trying to get rid of it. If you have never smelled skunk spray before I will try to describe it. Putrid is the best word I can think of. It will make your eyes water, your nostrils burn, give you a headache and will make you nauseated.

You may have guessed that this is not our first go around with de-skunking dogs. In fact we have had multiple skunk encounters with both Scout and Trooper falling victim. In most of the other occurrences we were largely able to keep the smell out of the house by bathing the boys before they came inside. This time that was not an option. This skunk was on our deck and was not in a hurry to go anywhere.

In order to get the smell out of the house the first thing I did was open some windows and put fans in a couple so they were blowing out. This didn’t seem to have any effect. Fortunately I remembered what I used a couple of years ago when Trooper got sprayed that did seem to help remove the odor from the house. It was a container of diatomaceous earth. This particular container has cinnamon oil infused in it because it is sold as a flea powder but since diatomaceous earth is said to absorb odors I decided to give it a try. I did not want to sprinkle it on the carpet because vacuuming it up can clog the filter and burn up the motor in a vacuum cleaner (it is best to use a shop vac if you do use it on the carpet). Thankfully it was not necessary to put it on the carpet. I only had to set the open container in the area when the odor was present, in this case the living room, and the odor began to fade away. Since the mud room also smelled of skunk I took a disposable cup and poured some of the diatomaceous earth into it. I then covered it with a paper towel and put a rubber band around it to hold the paper towel in place. I wanted it covered just in case it got tipped over. I placed it on the shelf in the mud room and again the smell began to fade away. By the end of the day the house was pretty much odor free.

As for Ranger, the peroxide and baking soda bath reduced the smell to a tolerable level but the smell lingered on him. It was about two weeks later when we took him to get his nails trimmed. After doing his nails the groomer used cotton balls with hydrogen peroxide on them to clean Ranger’s ears and wipe his eye lids and the corner of his eyes, while his eyes were closed. She also took a Q-tip with peroxide on it and cleaned inside the edge of nostrils. These were details that we missed and this really seemed to help.

There are a couple of other things that we have learned through these dog-skunk encounters. One is even when the odor seems to be completely gone it continues to lie in wait only to return the next time the dogs coat gets wet, and the next time, and the next time… It may actually take up to a year before the smell can no longer be detected on the wet dog.

The other is that getting sprayed by a skunk does not teach the dog a lesson. The next time he encounters a skunk curiosity will get the best of him or his instinct will take over. He will approach the skunk and this scenario will be repeated and THAT STINKS!

24 thoughts on “That Stinks!

      1. My husband tells a story about when he was a boy came across some baby skunks whose mother had been run over by a car. He took the babies home and when his mother came home to find baby skunks in the house she was not happy. The way he describes her reaction is hilarious. 🙂

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  1. Dogs! They keep us busy, don’t they? I did not know diatomaceous earth was good for odors. Great tip. How much cinnamon oil to powder? We have used it for bug control around the house, and worm control in animals. BTW, the contemplative tree frog is adorable! 🙂


    1. But we just love can’t help but love them. 🙂 The DE that I had came premixed with the cinnamon oil. I’m not really sure that the cinnamon is necessary but the container said it was 6%.


  2. Years and years ago when we were very young and Buttons was a pup , she was sprayed for the first time. We had heard about tomatoes, and we had access to home canned quarts. What a horrible mistake. The odor was so much worse. Like skunky rotten tomatoes. Our vet recommended a combination of Tide and Prell shampoo. With a rinse of Scope mouthwash. That has been our go to through many many many skunkings. Interesting about cleaning the ears and nostrils with the qtip. I really think it is in a dogs nature to seek out stinky things. It is we humans that take offense, lol.

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  3. That was interesting Ruth – that’s amazing the smell lingers for a year and more amazing the dog will not learn a lesson and will tangle with a skunk again. If a dog is stung by a bee or wasp, would they learn not to get near one of those insects? I guess the smell is offensive to dogs too as they have a strong sense of smell. Your little frog is beyond cute and looks like a rock or a paperweight!

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    1. The question of being stung by a bee or wasp is interesting one and I have to say it depends. Our dogs have learned to stay away from the bee hives after being stung, yet when laying on the deck and a bee starts buzzing around them they will bite at it and try to fend it off despite having been stung that way in the past. I really think it is about their natural instinct – to chase small animals or fend off a buzzing insect.
      Dogs seem to have a different idea of what odors are offensive that we do. If I use one of my balms that has some essential oils in it (lemon, peppermint and lavender) Trooper will turn his head away from me, yet he has been known to roll around in things like dead fish or racoon poop. Go figure!
      The frog was very cool – it did look like a rock until it moved. LOL!


      1. That’s interesting about how dogs’ minds work Ruth. We had dogs when I was growing up, but not since I was 10, so I really don’t recall how their brains work. But animals are funny how you tell the stories of yours … poor you having to bathe Trooper after a roll in the dead fish or raccoon poop!

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      2. I’ve never had a cat – the only one I interacted with was my neighbor’s cat when I took care of it while she was on vacation and that cat was a little crazy and clawed my hand up when I tried to play with her!

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  4. Sounds like you did all the right things. It just takes time–I know that when one of our dogs got sprayed (right in the face, poor thing), it was a year before she didn’t smell slightly skunky after a rain. Before we tried the baking soda and peroxide, I tried some of that Skunk Removal Spray, and it smelled worse than the skunk!

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    1. We never tried tomato juice or ketchup. We have read that it doesn’t work. Both Trooper and Scout were very large dogs and would have taken a lot ketchup to bath them in. Peroxide and baking soda was first recommended to us by a vet and seems to be most effective, plus both are cheap and we always keep them on hand.

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