Here is one of dog owners’ least favorite scenarios: You let the dog out into the yard to do their business, then less than five minutes later they are frantically rolling around in the grass.
You call your dog in, and as they dash toward you the smell hits you: skunk. Your dog was sprayed by a skunk.
Don’t worry — while getting skunk smell off your dog is not pleasant, it is not impossible. Just follow some of the tips below and you’ll have your dog smelling fresh again before you know it.
Spray Before Bathe
When a dog gets sprayed by a skunk, the oils from the spray settle into their coat and stick there. That’s why skunk can be such a tough scent to get out of dogs.
While our first temptation is to give our dog a bath immediately, just spraying them with the hose or putting them under the faucet can cause the oils to set into the dog’s coat more and not get the smell completely out.
Then the only way to get all the skunk smell off your dog will be to wait for their coat to grow out and give them a haircut.
To avoid this, before giving your dog a bath spray them with a bottle of de-skunking product. They are easy enough to find in pet stores in the dog shampoo aisle.
Spray it on the “skunked” areas (usually the face or the backside, since the dog probably either tried to play with or run away from the skunk). After you massage the spray into their coat, then give them a good bath to get the smell off.
(If the dog was sprayed by the skunk in the face, DO NOT spray them in the face with the product! You don’t want to risk getting any into their eyes or ears. Saturate a cloth with some of the product spray instead and wipe it on their faces.)
Get a Special Skunk Shampoo
Pets getting sprayed by skunks is common, so there are lots of products out there to combat skunk odour. One of these products is dog shampoo that specializes in getting the skunk spray oils out of dog coats.
Just look for it in the dog shampoo section at your local pet store, follow the instructions on the back of the bottle, and you’re golden. If you can’t find it in person, there are plenty of places online that sell it.
Use a Homemade Recipe
Don’t worry if you do not have de-skunking spray or skunk shampoo on hand when your dog gets sprayed. There are several at home remedies that you can whip up in a jiffy using ingredients from your pantry.
Some favorites for dog owners have included a cup of vanilla extract mixed in a gallon of water, as well as a mixture of two parts water with one part apple cider vinegar.
Here is the one recommended by the humane society of America:
- 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
- ¼ cup of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap
(Make sure you don’t let this solution set too long in your dog’s coat; the peroxide could potentially bleach their hair.)
Whichever solution you choose, let it set in your dog’s coat for about five minutes before washing them with dog shampoo.
Be sure that you wear rubber gloves while administering it to your dog’s coat. Also try not to get any of the solution in your dog’s eyes.
Check Your Dog Out
While skunk spray is not toxic for dogs there is still the possibility of the spray harming them.
If your dog got sprayed in the face by the skunk double-check their eyes and mouth. Flush them with clean, cold water if they look irritated and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
Also, if they got hit by the skunk spray on their body double-check the skin where your dog got hit to make sure it’s not red or inflamed either. Seek out medical treatment quickly if it doesn’t look right.
Clean Everything the Dog Touched after Being Sprayed
The oils in skunk spray has this nasty tendency to stick to everything it comes in contact with. Anything your dog touches after being sprayed will have some pungent traces of skunk for a long time if not treated swiftly — including yourself.
For damage control, keep your dog in their crate or tied up outside until you have all the products and bath ready.
Febreeze or another fabric freshener is pretty good for getting skunk off of furniture or carpet. Air freshener and candles are good for ridding skunk smell out of a room.
Any clothes you are wearing — after cleaning the dog, of course — should go into the laundry, and then you should hop into a bath yourself (trust me, you’ll want one).
Nobody Likes a Smelly Dog!
Know any at-home remedies for getting skunk off your dog? Let us know in the comments below!