Medicine for the Outdoors
Medicine for the Outdoors

Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.

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A Novel Method to De-Skunk a Dog

Any of you who is a dog owner or who has ever personally been sprayed by a skunk knows how awful that can be for all involved. The odor is brutal, and permeates everything in the vicinity. There are lots of folk remedies for "de-skunking" an animal, such as a bath in tomato juice or scrubbing with medicinal hydrogen peroxide, but I have just learned of a new technique that sounds like it is the solution for which we have all been waiting.

Dr. Rebecca Smith-Coggins, an emergency physician and remarkable outdoorsperson, is one of the smartest people I have encountered. Last week we were pondering different vintages of Turley wines, when she revealed that she had discovered the solution to de-skunking her pet dog. I don't know why she thought of this in the middle of our conversation about wine, but perhaps it was related to the odor of the vegetable medley we were being served at the time.

According to Dr. Smith-Coggins, the surprisingly effective product to neutralize skunk spray odor is Summer's Eve douche, manufactured by C.B. Fleet Company, Inc. Rebecca used 7 bottles to de-odorize her 70 pound dog. The method is to apply it directly to the fur and work it into the deeper layers by hand. For the dog's face, she used a washcloth with the solution to apply the product. Rebecca has used this technique successfully 4 times on her dog, who apparently isn't smart enough to figure out how to avoid getting sprayed by skunks.

For those of you with pets or who will personally become laden with skunk stink, if you try this technique, let us know how it works. If you have other "pearls" like this to share, let us hear about them.

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About the Author

Dr. Paul S. Auerbach is the world’s leading authority on wilderness medicine.