You recognize the smell from a mile away, so if your dog gets blasted by a skunk, you know it. De-skunking him as soon as possible saves you both from living with the pungent stink of defeat, and helps him and his senses get back to normal much more easily.
Clean the Face
Skunks don't mess around when it comes to spraying, so they like to go right for the face. Unfortunately, this doesn't just make your pooch stink -- it also burns. If he caught a blast right in the face, gently rinse his mouth, nose and eyes out with plain water. If his eyes are still red after that, or if he rubs and grinds his face, get him to a vet as soon as you can.
Soak and Scrub
You're going to need something a little stronger than your average doggie shampoo if he got soaked in skunk juice. That's OK, though, because you can whip up a de-skunking solution with stuff you probably already have. Mix 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap, 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 of quart water. Rinse your pooch and suds him up with the solution, letting it soak into his coat for 10 minutes before you rinse. If you have a bigger dog, double the recipe.
Regaining the Appetite
That smell of skunk can really turn your stomach. Now imagine having a sense of smell way stronger than your own, and imagine having that skunk spray you directly -- that's how your dog feels. When his sense of smell is dominated by the lingering odor of skunk, he can lose his appetite. If he's hesitating to eat after his skunk attack, heat up some wet food in the microwave to tickle his sense of smell and get the appetite going again.
Of course, if you're hesitant about testing your chemistry skills, you can always clean up your pungent pooch with some store-bought solutions. The key is to buy something specially formulated for skunk spray, as your average dog shampoo doesn't have strong enough chemicals to wash out a stink of this magnitude. These chemical solutions are loaded with enzymes that target the skunk juice bacteria, ridding him of the stink -- be careful, though, because these solutions can also irritate your buddy's eyes.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.