HUNTING DOGS -- It's easy to be prepared for the unexpected but inevitable day your hunting dog is sprayed by a skunk.
And you should ALWAYS be ready. Even at home, as I experienced this week when my dog was sprayed in the backyard just before I was to leave for work.
Since an Eastern Washington University chemistry professor tipped me off to the formula in the 1980s, I've kept a skunk kit in my pickup and in my bird hunting gear basket. I've given the kits as holiday gifts to my hunting buddies.
(See my dog, Scout, above, looking at the kit as though he knows it's his only ticket back into the house.)
I once took a midnight call from a friend who was in Montana with his daughter and dog. They were in a pickle. They were camping with his wife's new SUV and she'd warned them they'd better take care of it in her absence. But their dog got sprayed by a skunk 300 miles from Spokane and father-daughter needed the recipe or they'd be in the dog house with the dog.
I gave them the recipe and two days later I found a thank you note and a bottle of wine on my door step.
THE RECIPE is simple: One quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap.
THE KIT makes it easy to apply. Buy a small Tupperware-type container just big enough to hold two quart bottles of hydrogen peroxide, two plastic zipper bags with measured amounts of baking soda and a small plastic bottle with dish soap.
(I like this "double" recipe approach just in case two dogs get too friendly with a skunk at one time. You don't have to make choice on which dog "gets lost" on the way home.)
Also in the container, include one or two pairs of Latex or rubber gloves, a wash rag and a small drying towel. You're set.
Should your dog get sprayed, you can remove the skunk odor in the field (if you have rinse water) without stinking up your rig.
Mix the ingredients at the time they are needed, NOT BEFORE. Wash the dog with all of the solution. Having the washcloth helps you keep it out of the dog's eyes.
Rinse thoroughly. You may want to do a second wash with dog shampoo, but a thorough rinse seems to work fine and prevents the peroxide from changing the color of your dog's fur.
By the way, when I came to work Monday and mentioned that my dog had been sprayed by a skunk, a colleague came over with her wallet and pulled out the de-skunking recipe I'd published in the S-R Outdoors section years ago. "It saved me once, and I wanted to make sure I always had it just in case," she said.