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Written by Shireen Abbasey Haynes.

As we move into the fall months, you may notice a skunk’s distinctive odor in the air more often. Skunks are more active at night now as they search for burrow holes to camp out in for the winter. Although skunks winter in their dens, they do not hibernate so you may see them out and about at times.

The increased activity often leads to encounters with dogs. How many owners have let their dogs out for one more potty break before bed and then the dog comes back stinking to high Heaven? I know that has happened to me on more than one occasion. My dog, Everest, was famous for that.

What should you do if your pet has been sprayed by a skunk? The first order of business should be a bath—but regular shampoo is not going to cut it! Create a mixture out of the following ingredients:

1 quart (4 cups) of 3% fresh hydrogen peroxide

¼ cup baking soda

1-2 teaspoons of liquid soap (dishwashing detergent)

Lather your pet in this mixture and wait five minutes, then rinse with copious amounts of water. Repeat if necessary. It is possible this may bleach your pet’s hair, but it is not toxic to their skin. Note that this mixture doesn’t store well, so you will need to make a fresh batch if your pet gets sprayed again.

If your pet’s eyes seem to be affected, rinsing them with copious amounts of tepid water for 20 minutes may relieve some discomfort. (ASPCA, July 2016)

Skunks can be carriers of rabies so if you think your dog has been bitten, it’s important to have him seen by a veterinarian right away. Always keep your dog up-to-date on his rabies shot. Not only is it good practice but it’s also the law.