Dog Sprayed by Skunk - How to Get Rid of the Smell

Dog Sprayed by Skunk - How to Get Rid of the Smell

Author WDF Staff


Dogs love exploring and snooping around; that is nothing new. Sometimes, their snooping leads them to encounter other animals, and one of these animals is the skunk. It is not uncommon that dogs get sprayed by skunks, and what most dog owners want to know is - How to get rid of the smell caused by a dog sprayed by a skunk? Here is what you should know about getting rid of the smell.

What is skunk spray?

Skunks, like dogs, have anal glands. While dogs use them for leaving a scent, skunks use them for defense against predators. Skunk’s anal glands produce a nasty smelling fluid, and they can shoot it up to 15 feet.

If you ever had an unpleasant encounter with a shooting skunk, you probably know how dreadful the smell of that fluid is. The thing that causes that smell is sulfurous chemicals called thiols. If not removed immediately, your dog can end up smelling like skunk spray for weeks.

How to get rid of the smell?

If your dog came across a skunk and wanted to smell it, it is more than likely they got sprayed right in the face. If they were lucky, the dog managed to turn around and get sprayed on their coat and not directly in their nose and eyes. Whatever happened, one thing is clear - you cannot have a skunk-smelling dog inside your home.

skunk hiding

There are a few steps you can take to get rid of the nasty smell. We prepared a helpful guide on what to do if your dog got sprayed by a skunk. If you follow these steps, you will save yourself a lot of gagging, and your dog will smell normal in no time.

1. Check the dog’s eyes

If there was an unpleasant encounter and your dog got sprayed by a skunk, the first thing you should do is check the dog’s eyes. Make sure there are no signs of redness or inflammations. If you happen to notice some, wash and rinse the dog’s eyes as soon as possible. The best thing to use is clean, fresh water, or veterinary eyewash products. If you live in an area that is also home to a lot of skunks, it is probably a good idea to have some products, like eyewash, at home.

2. Don’t let the dog in your home

Most of us had the idea of getting the sprayed dog inside the house. From a first-hand experience, we can tell you - don’t do it. Keep the dog outside and make sure they don’t get in. The reason for that is simple - skunk “oils” will stay in the air until the dog gets washed and cleaned again. You don’t want to end up with a skunk-smelling home.

Dogs can get into all sorts of accidents. One of the scariest ones is eating chocolate. Check out this article for more info - What to do if your dog eats chocolate?

3. What to use? 

After you decide where you’ll wash your dog, it is time to remove the skunk spray from the dog’s coat. Make sure you use a separate room, like the garage, or better yet - wash your dog in the yard.

In the earlier years, owners used tomato baths to remove the smell of skunks from their dogs. However, the results were not that great. There are products available, or you can make your own product that looks to be pretty effective. Many owners reported that this solution got rid of the smell effectively. Here is what you want to use;

  • 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution (can be bought at most supermarkets or pharmacies)
  • 1/4 cup of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap

4. Start scrubbing

After you made the DIY solution for removing the smell of your dog sprayed by a skunk, it is time to start rubbing it in the affected area. Make sure you reach all the way to your dog’s skin and really get the solution all over that area. You mustn’t keep the solution too long on their coat because their coat can get bleached. Keep in mind that doing it once is probably not going to be enough. You should repeat the process a couple of times, rinsing the solution thoroughly every time you do it.

Another valuable piece of advice is - wear gloves while washing a dog that was sprayed by a skunk. It will keep the smell off of you and protect your skin from the solution.

Suppose you do not have these things at hand. In that case, you can ask someone to bring the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, and you can start scrubbing your dog with water-diluted vinegar. It is not the most effective way, but it might get rid of some smell.

5. Give your dog a bath

The last thing you should do is to get your dog a regular bath. Use your usual dog shampoo, and make sure you thoroughly shampoo and rinse your dog. The best thing to do is to towel dry your dog and get them a nice, sunny spot where they can finish off the drying process.

After this process is finished, you can throw your clothes in the washer. Make sure you use ½ cup of baking soda to really get rid of the skunk odor.

If you are not sure which dog shampoo you should use, check out this article for ideas - What is the best dog shampoo?

Helpful advice

One of the things you should remember is to throw away the hydrogen peroxide solution you made. It should not be stored, especially not in a tightly closed bottle. If contained, this solution can explode from the build-up pressure.

Getting rid of the skunk odor from your dog completely might be an impossible task. Dogs that were sprayed in the face will probably smell a bit longer. Make sure the DIY solution doesn’t get into your dog’s eyes.

World Dog Finder team

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