Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Off Label Use

What is it about dogs and stink? All breeds, all sizes, they just seem to love it. Whether it is rolling in a seaweed tangle of dead fish at the beach or digging through some disgusting refuse pile on the street, dogs just seem to love coming home wearing an odor that makes your eyes water. I think it may harken back to the hunting instincts of their wolf ancestors: disguise your own smell and the prey won't run as quickly.

The very top of the stinky-dog list, in my book, is a dog that has been skunked. Ten years ago, I lived in Spokane, Washington, not far from the Little Spokane River. It is a very nice, moderately large city, but one of its dirty little secrets is that quite a few skunks claim the Little Spokane as their natural habitat. Skunks were frequently seen—or smelled—wandering through the neighborhood. Calling the local Animal Control Officer about it got a “Yeah... right!” response.

The inevitable collision of inquisitive dog and haughty skunk had to occur. The Little Dog, Pepper, was just a youngster then, and exuberant about life. She was obedience and agility trained, and responded to voice command, so she was allowed off-leash outside the house. One evening a skunk was sashaying through the yard just as she went out for her evening piddle. I heard her howl of pain and disbelief only a moment before I smelled the result of the encounter. Oh-my-god! Is there anything worse than the smell of a freshly skunked dog? If so, I have yet to encounter it. Even stinkheads aren’t as bad.

Poor Pepper had to sleep on the deck that night; I could not let her in the house. The next day I went to the grocery store for tomato juice and doused her in it. Ugh. Tomatoey skunk is no better than plain skunk.

At that point I called my vet for advice. Her first question was whether I had put ammonia in the tomato juice. No, I never heard of that. She said the tomato juice had to have ammonia in it to do any good. But, she said, what works much better is…Massengill Douche! I thought she was kidding. But no. Any of the various “flavors” it comes in will work fine, she said. Just shampoo the dog with a good strong soap like dishwashing liquid or Dr. Bronner’s liquid peppermint soap, and then apply the douche solution and work it into the fur and skin really well, especially around the face, which is usually the initial point of contact with skunk spray. Be careful around the eyes, but it won’t hurt them. Leave it on for several minutes, then rinse.

I gave it a try and was amazed at the result. Not only did Pepper smell great afterward, her fur was more soft and silky. It was like a crème rinse treatment.

I am now a convert; forget the tomato juice, it’s Massengill Douche for me and my dogs! I keep a box on the shelf at all times for those occasions when one of the dogs comes home wearing stinkhead (no skunks in Alaska, thank goodness!). After all my years as a health care provider encouraging women NOT to douche, I find myself uncontrollably explaining to the check out person at the grocery store that I am buying the product for my dogs. I know they don’t care, but I seem compelled to do it. I am just glad to find something that works.

Blogger is being tempermental again; I had a great photo of the Little Dog with her favorite bath product...



Anonymous wolfbaby said...

that was hilarouse lol thanks i'll pass along the advise to my dad his dogs seem to love nothing better then getting skunked.... though i have a feeling i will be the one making a trip to the store;)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 2:26:00 PM  
Blogger Borneo Breezes said...

Great story and even better helpful hint.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 4:08:00 PM  
Blogger BodySoulSpirit said...

Thanks for the tip. When our dog was "skunked"...directly in the face...he smelled for 3 months, especially when he got wet. We tried the tomato juice too.
(What's up with Blogger and photos!I am having the same problem. Please post the photo later)

Thursday, August 17, 2006 2:37:00 PM  
Blogger Al said...

I know what you mean about the skunks. We have two dogs that ran around some skunks as the skunks (a mommy and 3 babies) made like early settlers and circled the wagons. Those darn dogs got it from all directions. And slobbered like you would not believe! Now I check with vision and smell before I let them out.

Friday, August 18, 2006 6:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Angela Ferreira said...

Just one of my favourite quotes:
“Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened.”

Monday, August 21, 2006 5:51:00 AM  
Anonymous dr peg said...

Massengill Douche???!!!

That is hilarious! I'll never forget that. And I now have two dogs, for whom I may someday be stammering at the checkout stand too!

Great story.

Monday, August 21, 2006 8:33:00 PM  
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Saturday, October 29, 2011 12:36:00 AM  

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