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De-skunking your pet

by Chet Parks

The odor part of the skunk spray is a complex organic, which is mostly amine in nature. Dog hair, clothes and most fibers have a carboxylic acid group as part of their surface. This acid group combines with (and holds) amines (the odor part) of the skunk spray.

Any weak acidic liquid, such as tomato juce, vinegar, soda water, lemon juce, or extremely dilute acid will make the carboxylic acid release the amines and neutralize the odor component. Ammonia and bleach won't help at all. By the way, the odor you associate with fish is also amine in nature. This is why lemon juce kills fish odor.

The human nose is sensentive to levels of amines as low as 1 part per billion. That's why a little skunk goes a long way. I would mix up a spray bottle of about 20% white vinegar and spray all the surfaces the dog has come in contact with. This should effectively neutralize the amine odors.

Now it just so happens that I, now as I type this, am faced with the problem of a skunk in a "live-won't hurt the animal" trap set right next to my motor home. I plan to let it wait overnight and then throw an old blanket over the trap. Skunks won't spray you if they can't see to take aim. Then, I'm not sure what I'll do. I've got to figure out some way to let him go and not get "caught in the act". The trap was set to get some possums that were becoming pests. Got four of them before Mr Skunk came along.