In the late 90s, our female Newf, who was the object of worship by the cats, encountered a black and white kitty cat.  If you alarm bells didn’t sound, let me be clear:  she approached or was approached by a SKUNK!

Think about the volume of coat that had to be cleaned!

For Holly, this happened three times, and twice as we were packing the evening before we were planning to leave for a Thanksgiving trip, after she had already been bathed and groomed in preparation for travel.  Two of Holly’s encounters must have been very close.  By her perception, the skunk’s reaction was no doubt an invitation for further inspection!

There are a number of skunk odor remedies.  A popular one includes hydrogen peroxide (the 3% bottle that is widely available), baking soda and Dawn dishwashing liquid.  Some other variants of skunk remedies include vinegar.  First, please be careful about mixing household cleaning products.  If you want to use one of these variations, locate a recipe from a reliable source, such as ASPCA, the Humane Society or a good veterinary resource such as the VCA site.  The peroxide works because the compounds that cause skunk odor contain sulfhydryl groups (-SH), which are easily oxidized.  So, it is no surprise that peroxide works.

Using these recipes or commercial products may be effective at removing skunk odor, but be sure to rinse very well and be sure to not get the product into the dogs eyes or onto mucous membranes.  Also, if you choose to mix your own, blend the hydrogen peroxide well, as this will cause reddening of a black coat straight from the peroxide bottle.

There is another alternative, used by veterinarians in the past, if you can tolerate a possible slight trace of odor:  tomato juice.  The cheap stuff in the quart container works well.  Due to the size of a Newfoundland, this may require 2 or 3 bottles.  The benefit of the tomato juice is that it is very safe to use.  They can ingest it by licking and it will not hurt them.  Skeptics claim that tomato juice does not work, or that it only masks odor.  However, my experience has been different, which leads me to suspect that 1) assumption has been overextended and 2) the chemisty behind it which appears to be a slower reaction, possibly involving ascorbic acid – vitamin C, has not been worked out.

We worked the tomato juice into her coat very well and left it for about 15 minutes, then she was rinsed and dried.  When we loaded the Expedition the next morning, there was a minor trace of odor on Holly, imperceptable within a very short time.  We rode with her in the enclosed space of the Expedition for over 4 hours.  By the time we arrived, no lingering trace of odor existed on her or in the vehicle.

Since Holly, there have been several successorships to the One Adored by the Cats, and there have been a few close calls with “black and white kitties”, who often show up in our area at night, but there has been only one other event.  We have quit stocking tomato juice in the pantry since it is a short drive to a store that is open 24 hours.

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