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Edible Antics

Touring Wisconsin Food

Kitchen Ingredient Home Remedies To Remove Skunk Odor From Dogs; Plus A Carrot Salad Recipe

Yesterday Dr. Sandra Sawchuk of the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Teaching Hospital gave me a home remedy recipe for removing skunk odor from dogs. The recipe calls for ordinary kitchen ingredients, is easy to mix, and highly explosive (if stored improperly). Precisely because it is so explosive when sealed in a closed container it is not easily marketed in pet stores. But Dr. Sawchuk swears it works. Her assisting resident questioned if the peroxide ingredient would bleach the pet’s hair. Dr. Sawchuk wasn’t sure but didn’t think so. And what’s worse, skunk odor or bleach blond hair? Here’s the recipe:

Mix: 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon liquid soap (hand or dish soap). Instructions: Bathe animal in ordinary pet shampoo and rinse. Pour on skunk-off mixture and leave to air dry.

I haven’t tried this skunk odor remedy yet. In the past I’ve fallen back on the traditional recipe for removing skunk spray. If you’re curious about this older recipe, why I used it and want a cold carrot salad recipe that smells a whole lot better than skunk and wet dog, click on “Continue reading…”.

The following narrative explains why I brought up the subject of skunk odor at yesterday’s vet appointment. It’s not our usual topic of conversation, but it’s always good to keep one’s vet thinking if not amused. The narrative is also a fair example of how the heavens have a way of playing jokes on us mortals, especially if we’re asking for it. And yesterday morning I unwittingly was.

The dogs and I were taking our dawn walk down a grassy lane bordered by tall pines and a large, mowed field. Old dog Sam and puppy Tao trotted off-leash beside me as I listened to the monotonous tape of concerns play in my mind. This record of worry ambushes me each morning until the coffee rallies me to new thoughts. Days ago, somebody tweeted, “If you have time to worry, you have time to pray.” Caught in worry, I said a quick prayer for release. For once, the heavens responded with awesome alacrity.

I noticed Sam stop beside a spruce tree and I recognized his riveted stance. Every muscle and neuron in his shepherd/lab body was on high alert. Then we heard the growl, not Sam’s growl. It was a scary, deep-throated, rumbling growl coming from something under that tree. The vicious growl said, ” En guard! Prepare for your flesh to be ripped to bloody, little shreds.” Perhaps Sam didn’t translate it as graphically as I did, but experience had taught him to show extreme caution. And 4 month-old, shepherd puppy Tao? Tao interpreted that growl as “Animal fun-time!” Excitedly barking his response of, “Oh boy! LET’S GET IT!” Tao raced in, charging under the tree. My ineffective “Noooooo!” evaporated into the breeze which returned to me the stench of skunk. As fast as that puppy disappeared beneath the branches, he reappeared running at top speed away from the tree and across the field. The early-dawn mist on the grass swallowed up his little form. Meanwhile, distressed Sam pivoted in circles, rubbing his face in the wet grass, trying to wipe the spray from his eyes. No doubt, those folks in heaven were rolling on the clouds with side-splitting laughter. I’m surprised it didn’t start raining their tears. Yes, now I had something new to think about. What a “funny joke”.

I, the student of animal behavior, then called ‘come’ in the scientifically-shown way to elicit coming in a dog. In a painfully high-pitched voice, I rapidly repeated, “Boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo, -Come, come, come, come, come…!” Sure enough, old Sam came, but Tao kept running. I upped the pitch and frequency of my calling. The pup turned and returned. He had tried to get away from the smell, but now he would have to walk the next 2 miles beside it because Sam had absorbed the full blast of the skunk’s spray, sparing little Tao. Both dogs, now on leash because we were back in the neighborhood, walked together, one reeking skunk. I considered how many cans of tomato juice I’d need for Sam’s imminent bath.

True, large pet stores, especially those in rural areas, carry shampoos designed for removal of skunk odor. But I’ve never tried these. Whenever my dogs are sprayed I fall back on ol’ reliable, – tomato juice. The amount of juice required depends on how directly a dog got the spray, but with enough juice (several large cans), this old-fashioned home remedy works to rid a dog of skunk smell. I first learned about the tomato juice cure when I was at over-night camp on a dairy farm in Delevan, WI. During my three-week stay, the family’s cocker spaniel got sprayed twice. One of the campers’ farm chores was caring for the dog, which meant we learned how to give tomato-juice baths.

skunk-1 You’re probably not surprised to hear that most dogs enjoy tomato juice baths. Even my nervous dog, Jazz, calmed when she learned that the fluid dripping from her head to her lips was tomato juice rather than water. She licked her lips and her fear gave way to a happy dog smile. Now what ordinary shampoo can do that? Of course, if you’re particularly fastidious about your dog’s scent, you may want to follow the tomato shampoo with a commercial brand designed to clean the fur. But understand, your dog’s smile will disappear if you do.

The only draw-back of the tomato juice remedy is that if the dog is especially close to the skunk (as Sam was) so that the received spray was highly concentrated, the tomato juice will only remove the smell for the day. By nighttime the odor begins to return, much like a stain washed clean on a rug slowly appears again. Given that last night the stench of skunk wafted through my bedroom, I think the next time the dogs get sprayed I’ll try the Vet School’s recipe for ‘Homemade skunk-off’. However, I hope I will not be reporting on its efficacy for some time to come.

So given that yesterday I was busy bathing a dog and had no time to cook something seasonally appropriate for Edible Antics, I will pass on a recipe for carrot salad I made last week and which we all enjoyed. The recipe comes from the cookbook, Encore Wisconsin, by Grace Howaniec. Grace collected recipes from favorite restaurants throughout the state. She discovered this delicious recipe for Carrot Salad with Cider Dressing at Susie’s Restaurant in Baraboo, WI. Grace’s cookbook is a guide to the best flavors of Wisconsin. If you don’t like to cook, just use the book as a travel guide to good-eating in Wisconsin.

Carrot Salad With Cider Dressing

  • 3 pounds carrots, peeled, sliced in 1/2 lengthwise, then diagonally in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 green bell peppers, sliced in 1/4-inch lengthwise strips
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced in 1/4-inch thick rings
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch

In a large saucepan, combine carrots and about 3 1/2 cups of water to nearly cover carrots. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until tender-crisp, about 10-12 minutes. (Mine cooked a lot faster, so watch closely. You don’t want carrot mush.) Drain water from carrots; set aside. (I rinsed them in cold water to stop the cooking.)

In a medium saucepan, combine ketchup, sugar, vinegar, olive oil, pepper, mustard, and cornstarch whisking together until smooth. (I often only make half of the amount of salad dressing called for because I don’t like salad dripping in dressing. For this recipe too, I cut the dressing proportions in half and it was plenty for our tastes.) Bring to a boil; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add sliced green peppers and onions to carrots; pour hot dressing over vegetable mixture. Refrigerate, covered. This will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 week. (Be sure to give the carrots a few hours to marinate in the dressing before you serve it. The flavor is wonderful if you do.)

This is a great salad side-dish to take on picnics or pot-lucks because there’s no mayonnaise to spoil and the salad tastes terrific at room-temperature. Enjoy.



  1. LOL! Poor Sam and you having to smell it. I hope the scent is mostly gone by now.

  2. Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

  3. Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of presentation.

  4. I was always told to use plain old tomato juice but I never really thought that it worked all that well. The recipe you described above sounds like a pretty potent concoction. I’ll have to give a try next time. Stupid dogs of mine will never learn. 🙂

  5. I don’t know if its stupidity or if they just like stinky things so much they can’t stay away. You can’t get much stinkier than a skunk!

  6. While I do in fact find this article useful and so forth, I just wanted to say that you’re actually a very good/entertaining writer! You’re recounting of your encounter with the skunk was like reading a page out of a novel. Anyway, just wanted to say “Well done!”

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