What to Do If Your Dog Gets Skunked

It’s something every pet parent dreads. Their dog getting skunked. The pungent musk can stick on your dog for weeks, months and even up to a year, if it’s not dealt with quickly.

And contrary to urban legend, tomato juice is not the remedy for removing skunk smell. It actually doesn’t work. The acidity in the juice may help neutralize the odor temporarily, but you won’t last and you will end up dying your dog red!

The key to ridding your dog of the skunk smell is acting quickly so that the skunk oil doesn’t have time to be absorbed into your dog’s fur and using the proper agent to neutralize the skunk’s sulfuric spray.

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Before you start, get some old towels and old clothes to wear. The sulfuric spray from the skunk penetrates everything so try NOT bring your dog into the house until you are ready to clean him.

Recommended steps:

1. Use Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover, or if that is not readily available, use the following de-skunking recipe below, which is made from ingredients most people will have in the house.

  • 1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide (available at your local pharmacy or Amazon)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 – 2 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap or liquid soap (many people strongly recommend Blue Dawn or Green Dawn. They even say it can be used straight on its own).
  • Warning Note: this mixture should NEVER be made in advance and stored as it could explode if left in a container.

2. Keep your dog outside if you can while you prepare the de-skunking solution.

3. Check your dog’s eyes. If they are red or irritated flush them out with cool to lukewarm water. If your dog was sprayed directly in his/her eyes he may suffer temporary blindness for a day or two.

5. Change into old clothes and get some rubber gloves before washing your dog with this solution. Be careful to NOT get the solution in your dog’s eyes, mouth and nose.

6. Clean your dog with the mixture making sure to rub it into his/her fur and rinse him/her thoroughly. Note: peroxide can bleach fur so don’t leave the solution on too long.

7. Shampoo your dog with pet shampoo and rinse him/her thoroughly.

8. Dry your dog as you normally would, ensuring he/she dries off without getting too cold. Use the old towels for drying and for your dog to lie on so as any possible residue is transferred onto the towels not your furniture.

9. Check your dog for any cuts or bites. Skunks may carry rabies and other diseases, so if you do find any injuries call your vet.

10. Rinse and repeat! You might need to wash your dog a few times to get rid of residual smell. At this stage you can run to the pet store and get a special skunk solution to speed up the cleaning process.


11. If your dog has been sprayed with a huge amount of skunk musk call your vet. High amounts can cause your dog to get sick and be temporarily blinded.

Once your dog is done, check you and your house over. If you have some stink on your clothes you can add half a cup of baking soda to your laundry detergent and this should get rid of the smell. Baking soda will help on carpets and furniture or you can try a product like Skunk Odor Neutralizer.

A couple of things you should note:

If you are stuck and can’t make the mixture quickly, you can try a mixture of vinegar and water or try using Blue Dawn straight on your dog’s fur. As with all soaps and mixes avoid getting them in your dog’s eyes, mouth and nose.

The skunky odor may come back if your dog gets wet. That’s because the skunk’s sulfuric spray may not have been neutralized completely.

If you are with your dog when you encounter a skunk look for signs it might spray so that you can avoid getting skunked!

Most skunks will make a peculiar purring sound, sometimes growling. It will also warn its target it’s about to spray by raising its tail and standing on its hind legs or stomping its feet. If you see any of these signs try to back away and try not to be sprayed!


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