So, your dog’s been skunked

So, your dog’s been skunked. What should you do? (Aside from cursing the day you were born, of course.)

First and foremost, do not – I repeat DO NOT – let your dog back into your house. (Friends, I’m essentially writing this post for Past Me, in hopes that a rip in the space-time continuum will allow me to warn her of the events that transpired on November 18 and prevent her from opening that patio door. If she’d only known what Tavish had been up to out there…)

You’ve already let him back in the house, haven’t you? I’m sorry to report that it’s too late for you. There’s only one way out.

Okay, fine. You’ve chosen not to burn your house down for the insurance money. (A plan I would obviously never advocate for… wink, wink. Oops, got something in my eye. Please don’t attempt to ascribe any meaning to that eye twitch, okay?) Be that way. I tried to warn you.

Given that you have not taken my solid advice to invest in a flamethrower, here are the steps I would recommend based on my recent traumatic experience. Aim for a coordinated attack on several fronts at once. (If you’re the only soul around, good luck and godspeed.)

Open all your windows, despite the fact that it’s wintertime. Engage in extensive online research about skunk smells and how to deal with them.

Obviously, addressing the Mobile Stink Unit (aka your dog) should be high on your list. Otherwise, you risk him re-stinking the house all over again. Do not fall for the old tomato juice trick. (Trust me – put down the tomato juice.) Try this method from Consumer Reports instead, involving hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap:

Once he’s dry, stare at your dog. Notice his new subtle highlights and ponder whether he could make some money on the side as the mascot for an 80s cover band.

Another high-priority item: cleaning (or disposing of) anything and everything the MSU touched after he got sprayed. Let’s say that, – hypothetically, of course – the MSU is very quick and managed to get on your bed post-skunkening. Spend a few minutes debating whether it’s worth it to burn the bed. Then consider shoving the bed out a window and learning to sleep on the floor (once you’ve de-skunked it). Determine that neither of these approaches is really feasible. Try soaking the bedding in a mixture of vinegar and water for several hours, followed by a thorough laundering with detergent and baking soda. Spray mattress with an entire bottle of Febreze.

Take a similar approach to anything else the MSU touched, such as rugs, pillows, or his collar. Engage in some sort of twisted olfactory KonMari process as you work your way through the offending items. Decide whether it’s worth attempting to launder the items or not. Throw away some items that you don’t think you can launder. Toss a few old dog toys, then take a few minutes to sob as you apologize to the toys while reliving the trauma inflicted upon you by The Velveteen Rabbit and Toy Story 3.

End Of School Crying GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY


Realize that while you were cleaning the affected areas of your home, the smell was being circulated by your HVAC system. (Which, of course, you left on to counteract the fact that all of your windows were open.) Turn off the heat, realizing too late that the smell has spread through the ducts beyond the initial sites of contamination. Refuse to close the windows until you begin to get frostbite. Panic because your home may never smell clean again.

Saturate every carpeted surface in your home with a deodorizing carpet cleaner. Let it set for at least 30 minutes, then vacuum the whole house. Remind yourself that at least you’re racking up a lot of steps on the old FitBit.

Use several more bottles of Febreze. Develop a headache because the scents of forty different cleaning products are fighting for supremacy.

Observe that the entire day has been consumed by de-skunkening. Place bowls of vinegar throughout your home to soak up any lingering smells. Nod politely when your husband comments that the house smells like a salad, while realizing that you’ve completely lost your sense of smell. Wonder if it will ever return to you.

Spend the next day unable to move from your couch. Gaze at dog and feel intense jealousy over his ability to relax after the prior day’s ordeal.

what a jerk |

Seriously, dude?

Go to work on Monday. Swear that your office also smells like a skunk. Return home to the faint scent of skunk still lingering. Have a debate with yourself regarding whether you’re going crazy or if the smell is permanently lodged in your sinuses. Note that your husband still smells the vinegar, and yet you cannot.

Do some more online research about removing the lingering phantom stench. Become obsessed with this research process.

Buy some volcanic rocks and hang them all over your house. Convince yourself that you’ve solved this thing.

Comic Adult Swim GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY


Live in fear of someone coming over and telling you that it actually does still smell like a skunk after all. Also, become paranoid that the dog will get sprayed again, forcing you to relieve this nightmare in the future. Freak out the dog by obsessively sniffing him every time he returns from the backyard.







Similar Smells:




12 thoughts on “So, your dog’s been skunked

  1. I’m sorry, but I am laughing so hard that I’m crying. The Rs are worried and can’t seem to understand. I think they sympathize with Tavish. I’m going to bookmark this post of yours so I can return during the holidays when I’m feeling sad and down because I know I’ll have to try real hard not to literally roll on the floor laughing. Thank you, Tavish and the un-named skunk, for providing you with blog fodder. This is an absolutely brilliant piece of writing! (and… I have been there. With three MSUs at one time and Gary would not let me set fire to the house. The smell… lasts a very, very long time 🙁 )

  2. OMG I’m dying here. Dying. I could actually picture this, and yes, I totes get it. As an aside, charcoal is also supposed to act as an odor absorbent, as is baking soda. You could try using the BS on those materials where you think you still smell it.

    Also, I automatically abbreviated to MSU…I think you might have a trend going here.

  3. Ahahahaha!!! So…did your co-workers mention you smelled like skunk? I am glad that the chances of Blueberry getting skunked are slim to none.

  4. OMD. That is horrible – but also hysterical… Sorry. Hope the smell is dissipated by this point! Rita got sprayed once – of course right as we were heading to bed and it was her last time out for the “quick” pre-bedtime potty. LUCKILY she only rubbed on the hallway runner before we realized what was going on and caught her! And even more luckily, I’d just bought the hallway runner a couple of months earlier at a yard sale for $2, so it went right in the trash! We were still up for hours though washing her in the magic potion. And then every time she got even remotely damp for weeks after I smelled skunk again… (Love the GIFs)

  5. Oh my gosh! I’m laughing, but I’m soooooo sorry! Now that we are in the PNW, I fully expect this to happen to our pups. I will take your lessons learned to heart.

    Monty, Harlow, and Ramble

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