How to Get the Skunk Smell Off a Dog

Dogs who go outside and are curious are typically at risk for being sprayed by a skunk. Skunks use their spray only as a last resort as when a dog has gotten too close.  If your dog has been sprayed by a skunk you know the smell is offensive and long lasting. There are several ways of tackling the problem. Depending on what you have around the house at the time will likely be the deciding factor which method you use.

Caution should always be taken to keep any mixture out of a dog’s eyes and away from their mouth, nose, and inner ear. Additionally if the dog is a lactating (nursing) female, care should be taken to keep any mixture away from her belly, and nipples.

Before you begin to wash your dog you will want to put on something to cover your clothes, or put on old clothes that you may wish to throw out later.  Have old towels ready to dry the dog off with, and be aware sometimes it takes two baths.  If you can bath the dog outside (as in a kids plastic pool) that is best.

Dog Shampoo

There are many dog shampoos available to get rid of skunk spray smells and people living in an area with many skunks may want to keep some on hand. Similarly a person can simply call their dog groomer and try to bring the dog in to have the groomer use professional products to remove the skunk smell. One caution here, do not show up at a groomer with a stinky dog unless you have informed them ahead of time of the issue at hand.  Most of the products sold specifically for removing the smell of skunks from dogs work fairly well.

The Tomato Juice Method

The well known method of using tomato juice to remove skunk odor may lead to disappointment as it not only turns light colored dogs pink, but does not work particularly well either to remove the skunk smell. To use tomato juice mix a large can with a bit of shampoo and apply to the dog with a cloth, allow it to sit for 5 minutes and wash off.

Home Remedy Method 1

In a bucket mix 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide to one cup baking soda and 2 teaspoons dish soap, or pet shampoo. Add warm water and sponge onto your pet, scrubbing well into the effected areas. Avoid getting near the eyes. Leave the mixture on the pet for 10 minutes before rinsing off. Repeat as needed but discard unused mixture afterwards (if kept in an enclosed container it may burst).

Home Remedy Method 2

Using a sponge soak the effected area with white vinegar. Then wash with either dish soap or pet shampoo. Again use caution not to get in or near the pet’s eyes. Repeat if needed.

Home Remedy Method 3

Use a tube of toothpaste mixed with 1 quart of warm water. Add a cup of dish soap or pet shampoo. Scrub onto the effected areas of the pet and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Rinse with water and repeat if needed. Do not get the mixture in the pet’s eyes.

Skunk on my deck, photo by me

Skunk on my deck, photo by me

Other Notes in Regards to Dogs and Skunks

Do not assume that a dog has learned its lesson. A dog who has been sprayed by a skunk may see the skunk as a game, and may continue to try to win that game. If your dog has shown an interest in a skunk do your best to keep the dog under your control at all times and to discourage skunks from coming around your home. One thing that attracts skunks most is left out pet food.

Other Reading

 How to Keep Skunks Out of your Yard

Originally published by me on Helium