So your dog just bounced in through the door smelling like steaming hot skunk-butt juice… and they’re so very proud of it! Welp, there go your plans for the evening. Normally, we’d say, “take a deep breath, and stay calm.” But this time you’re going to be better off holding your breath instead! Here’s the best strategy to get that skunk funk off of your dog.
1. Try To Keep Your Dog Outside
If your dog was just doused in skunk juice, try your best to keep them outside until you can gather the supplies to wash them. Skunk smell travels through the air, and will soak into all your belongings throughout the house. If it’s too cold outside (skunk encounters happen in winter, too!), or you need to run to the store for supplies, your best bet may be to keep your dog in the garage until you get back. But beware, the smell will likely seep into any cars in the garage. You may want to park any additional cars in the driveway, for now.
2. Rinse Your Dog’s Eyes Immediately If They Were Sprayed In Face
Before you run off to gather any other supplies for washing your pup, rinse their eyes thoroughly and gently with cool water if they were sprayed directly in the face. Skunk spray can be extremely irritating—especially in the eyes—and may even cause temporary blindness. You’ll also want to call your vet if your dog was sprayed in the eyes. They may have additional suggestions, or want to see them.
3. Gather Supplies And Make A De-Skunking Solution
Quickest Fix: Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover. If you already have some of this on hand, or want to buy some ahead of time if you live in a skunk danger zone, it’ll be your quickest fix to having your fresh n’ fluffy pup back.
If You Don’t Have De-Skunking Spray On Hand, Mix These Ingredients:
- 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide (Don’t use anything stronger than 3%, as it can burn.)
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap
**CAUTION** DO NOT make this skunk mix ahead of time and store it in a bottle. When left sitting in a bottle, it will build pressure and cause the bottle to explode.
4. Wear Gloves And Wash Your Dog Thoroughly – Avoid Eyes
You’ll want to wear old clothes, gloves, and maybe even a mask to help keep the smell at bay when de-skunking your pup. Wash your dog thoroughly with the hydrogen peroxide/baking soda de-skunking recipe above, but be very careful not to get it in their eyes! This mixture can cause severe eye irritation. Leave the mix on their fur for a maximum of 5 minutes. Peroxide does have bleaching qualities, so leaving it on any longer may leave darker dogs with unwanted golden blonde highlights. Plus, this solution can be irritating to skin if left on too long. Rinse thoroughly.
5. Wash Your Dog A Second Time With Doggie Shampoo
After you wash and rinse with the de-skunking mixture, you’ll want to do a second thorough wash n’ scrub with your pup’s regular doggie shampoo (and conditioner if you want). Rinse out that pup one last time, and fluff dry with a towel.
6. Wash Your Own Clothes And Self If Necessary
If you got some skunk stench on your clothes while washing your pup (which you probably did unless you washed them butt naked), you can toss clothes in the wash with regular detergent and baking soda. This should take care of the smell.
7. Prep And Prevent Your Dog From Being Sprayed Again In The Future
If it happened once, it may happen again in the future.
- You may want to be prepared, and buy de-skunking spray like Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover to have on hand.
- Skunks are nocturnal. If your dog goes out to potty in the yard at night, you may want to install motion activated lights to help scare skunks away.
- Avoid leaving your dog alone in the yard for potty breaks at night. Keep an eye on them.
- Keep your eyes peeled during walks at night—especially if you notice your dog’s attention being drawn toward shrubs or wooded areas.
- Skunks don’t hibernate, so don’t think you can let your guard down in winter!
|Skunks can spray 2 teaspoons of butt juice up to 20 feet with impressive accuracy1.|
Why Do Skunks Smell So Bad?
Skunks’ stinky stench comes from their anal glands. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of needing to express your dog’s own anal glands, you already know how pungent an animal’s butt can truly be. When it comes to skunks, their particular butt potpourri is a mixture of compounds called thiols that are packed full of sulfur—that nasty rotting-egg smell1.
Is Skunk Spray Dangerous?
Skunk spray won’t kill you or your dog—but getting sprayed directly in the eyes has been known to cause temporary blindness1. The smell itself can cause nausea, vomiting, and may irritate asthma symptoms. Lastly, a very rare side effect after severe exposure can cause damage to red blood cells1. But most of the time, skunk spray is just extremely offensive to your nostrils.
Does Tomato Juice Work To Remove Smell?
No, not really. It’s just going to leave your dog smelling like a skunky tomato. You should pass on this old school home remedy.
Should You Take Your Dog To The Vet If They’re Sprayed?
If your dog was sprayed in the eyes, call your vet immediately, and rinse their eyes thoroughly with cool water. If you notice your dog becoming lethargic, weak, they have changes in their urine color, or their gums become pale or brown hours after exposure, take your dog to the vet immediately.
Is There A Risk Of Rabies?
Skunks can be carriers of rabies, but luckily, rabies cannot be transferred through their spray alone. However, if your dog got into a tussle with the skunk, and was possibly bit in the process, take them to the vet immediately. Make sure you keep your pup’s rabies vaccine updated!
Where Do Skunks Live?
Skunks are found in all 50 U.S. states. However, different states may have different skunk species. They’re also stinkin’ up Canada, Mexico, and South America. They mostly live along the edges of forests, in woodlands, grasslands, and even in deserts.
Do Skunks Hibernate?
Surprisingly, skunks don’t actually hibernate. They do tend to be less active during winter, and stick close to their warm dens. But this doesn’t mean you won’t run into one when it’s cold out!
Do All Skunks Spray?
Once skunks are around 3 weeks old, their glands are already locked and loaded to stench-blast—just with less accuracy and potency than their parents. Although there’s debate about whether or not it’s humane, skunks are able to be de-scented at a young age, and grow up without being able to spray. Some people choose to do this in order to keep them as pets.
1 Mekonnen, Serkalem. “What Happens If a Skunk Sprays Me?” Poison Control, National Capital Poison Center, https://www.poison.org/articles/what-happens-if-a-skunk-sprays-me-213.