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De funk the Skunk Odor!

I am certainly not an expert on the iconic black and white “Le Pew’s”, however in the years I’ve been grooming I have had many clients, distraught, ask me to help them rid their pet of the offending odor that they spread. After many years of struggling with the stink using traditional solutions that DID NOT WORK I started studying the science of what is going on in the bath. What I have found out is that we have been doing it all wrong!  If we follow the advice found online or from our nearest “dog person” we will likely be directed to mix up a combination of vinegar, baking soda and dish detergent. The idea here is the dish detergent will remove that skunk spray, the baking soda will absorb the smell and the vinegar will expedite the process and sterilize the area. I have already written an article that goes in depth on the topic of bathing so I will only scratch the surface here for those of you who missed it (it is also available on my website at The combination of vinegar, baking soda and dish detergent is detrimental to the health of your dog's skin, and does not effectively serve the intended purpose, leaving odor behind and compromising the health of the largest organ the body has. Dish detergent will absorb all oil that it contacts, as it is designed to do, however that strips the canine skin of a special nutritive and protective oil called sebum that the skin produces and requires to function. This leaves them vulnerable to infection with dry and itchy skin. Baking soda will also negatively impact this vital oil layer because it is so absorbent, but it is also an irritant to the skin. Our dog's skin is 6 to 8 times thinner than ours, and so it is much more sensitive. Vinegar is very harsh and will alter the pH level of the skin. Vinegar has a pH level (pH 2-3), that is closer to stomach acid (pH 1.5-3.5) than dog's skin (pH 5.5-7.2) which is much more alkaline, and leaves the skin vulnerable to infection, itchy and depleted.

What will work then? First thing we must do is know our enemy! The offending odor comes from a spray that is oil based, and the most effective way to dissolve oil is with oil.  First thing you need to do is act quickly, the faster you get moving to rid your pup of the stink, the more successful you will be. Most people would prefer to wait until a groomer can bathe their dog (since it is an unpleasant task) but the longer it is allowed to stay on the fur the deeper it absorbs and once it gets deep-deep in the coat it is hard-hard to get it out. The goal is to react immediately, or at least within the first two hours. The longer you wait the harder it will be to remove but I never consider it a lost cause, even after a day, because any improvement is welcome when you’re dealing with a skunk's stink.
The best thing you can use is Iv San Bernard’s Fruit of the Groomer “Black Cherry” PEK Conditioner. Realistically I am aware that not everyone has this product laying around their house, however I do carry it in my salon store and I offer small sizes. Yet, if you are unable to get your hands on that product, use the most appropriate conditioner for your dog you CAN get your hands on. It should be for dogs, as humans require different ingredients and balances of those ingredients and our conditioners are ill suited for dogs. Look for a conditioner that advertises high shine or deshedding as those products are more likely to have a higher oil content. The goal is to apply the conditioner and wait 30 to 60 minutes while the oils soften up the skunk spray and draw into the conditioner, then rinse the conditioner off and you will be rinsing off the skunk spray out as well. You’ll want to shampoo and condition your dog afterwards as this completes the process of the scent removal and insures a clean and comfortable pup. The best products to do this with are Iv San Bernard’s KS Odor Stop shampoo and Fruit of the Groomer Black Cherry PEK conditioner. They also have a very effective KS Odor Stop Spray that goes directly on the coat. Planning ahead is the key, and adding these simple products to your household doggy first aid kit is a worthwhile investment in your quality of life. For product supply email me at or call me at 413 663 4819
Disclaimer: When I say oils dissolve oils, I am not recommending that you grab a food or countertop oils such as olive, corn, peanut or coconut oils. These oils are thick, viscous oils that are not suitable for this use and I do not recommend the application of any of these oils directly to the surface of your dog's skin. Never use a formulation meant for humans on your dog. This article is not a guarantee of scent removal, but rather is a guide. If you have any questions please call me at 413 663 4819.

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