Best Ways to Get Rid of Skunk Smell on Dogs

Possibly nothing in my life has brought more frenzied panic than the moment I realized my dog had been sprayed by a skunk. Because it was just five in the morning and my nose had not yet awoken, I leaned against the open door and invited the smelly mutt inside. Then, gasping in horror, I spent what felt like three hours trying to chase down the equally panicked animal and herd him back out the door. Thus began an adventure I’ll not soon forget, from finding a place to wash the beast to deciding what would best remove the hideous skunk odor. It did make a great story for my students, however, when I finally limped into the classroom trying hard to forget the stench that still hovered at home.

At times like these, it’s important to think fast and be prepared. Otherwise…well, your house will never smell the same and you may just have to sell your dog. Or probably just give him away. Maybe even leave him by the side of the road, actually. If you’re rather fond of your dog and would like to keep him, then read on.

Best Way to Get Rid of Skunk Odor on Your Dog

basset hound in a houseKeep your dog out of the house after he’s been sprayed by a skunk. It doesn’t take long for the strong skunk odor to permeate everything you own, although there are ways to get rid of the smell. My dog was only inside the house for about a minute, but the stench hung around for a week and a half and pretty soon even my food tasted like skunk odor. If it’s not possible to keep your dog outside, make sure you use a room with windows and close the door to prevent the pollution getting into the rest of the place.

dog looking up at the cameraCheck your dog’s eyes and skin for any signs of irritation from the skunk spray. If you do notice that your dog’s eyes are red and irritated, try rinsing them out with water or using eye drops made of saline solution. If the redness seems extreme, however, it is best to consult your vet. It is also very important to check your dog for any deep scratches or bites. Skunk odor isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. Skunks can carry rabies, so get to your vet right away if you see any bleeding.

a skunk looking like it's about to sprayWipe off your dog to remove the fluid and to help locate where the skunk sprayed your dog. A skunk’s spray is full of compounds called “thiols,” which are sulfurous chemicals contained in two of the animal’s anal glands. Basically, it’s some serious stuff (as we all know) and the sooner it’s removed the better. Use paper towels or a rag you’re not sad about later burning, and wipe down your dog. Be sure to use rubber gloves so you don’t get the spray or skunk odor on yourself. As you’re wiping down your dog, you should be able to get an idea of where he was hit. Usually it’s the neck/shoulders area because your dog probably tried to avoid the spray.

ingredients for skunk smell cleanerChoose skunk odor remover that will help you get rid of the skunk smell on your dog. Since your must act fast when a skunk strikes, it’s nice to have everything you need on hand. The following solution has worked for many people and is a favorite among home remedies: mix 1 qt. of 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ to ½ cups baking soda and 1 – 2 tsp. dish soap. (It’s important not to store this in a closed container since the mixture of these ingredients creates pressure and could burst.) Another thing to keep in mind is the bleaching effect hydrogen peroxide could have on your dog’s coat. If this is a concern, try substituting vinegar for the peroxide.

dog getting a bathWash your dog as soon as possible to get rid of the skunk smell. First use warm water to wet your dog and then, with rubber gloves and a washcloth, rub the skunk odor remover into the coat. If you have an energetic dog, a large plastic tub may help you contain him. Concentrate on the spots that were directly hit by the skunk spray, and be careful of your dog’s eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Leave the skunk odor remover on for 5 – 10 minutes so it can set, rinse thoroughly, and then repeat this process unless your dog suddenly smells amazingly fresh and clean (he probably won’t yet). Follow up with a regular dog shampoo, and then make sure you leave your dog outside (or in a closed room) until he is dry.

When to Visit Your Veterinarian

As I mentioned before, you may have to go to the vet if a skunk sprayed your dog directly in the face and badly irritated his eyes. You should be able to tell after a few hours, if your dog’s eyes are still very red or he seems uncomfortable. Other signs that you may need your veterinarian’s help include foaming at the mouth, vomiting, and extreme lethargy. It is likely that all your dog will need, though, is some rest, nourishment and TLC. (And maybe a few embarrassing photographs for the granddogs.)

Natural Skunk Odor Removal

Skunk-Off is a mild shampoo designed to eliminate skunk odor. This is a product that many veterinarians have in their offices and recommend, which is always nice to know. When my dog was sprayed by a skunk, in a panic I drove straight to the vet and purchased this. I had to use the whole bottle, but I was happy with how it worked. You, however, don’t need to drive to the vet. You can purchase Skunk-Off straight from Amazon, free shipping for Prime members! Though you should order it to have it on hand, rather than order it after the dog gets sprayed.

Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover is made with water and natural enzymes, and it will eliminate a variety of messes that either your dog or cat may make. This is great, because after you wash the skunk smell off your dog, you’ll be ready to clean up your couch after he rolls around the dirt in retaliation. Or maybe you’ll get lucky and not have to touch the stuff for awhile.

Earth Friendly Skunk Odor Remover is biodegradable, and you can use it on your pet as well as on fabrics, carpeting, tiles – basically any surface that is not affected by water. It won’t irritate your pet – or you – and it’s safe for the environment. What more could you ask for? It even comes in a recyclable bottle. You can order Skunk Odor Remover at Amazon.

Best Home Remedies for Skunk Odor?

We have all heard of using tomato juice to get rid of skunk smell on dogs, and many of us have found that this trick doesn’t really work – it usually just masks the smell. But, because humans are wired for curiosity or because we’re just too lazy to go to the store, we keep trying other things. I present to you this non-recommended list of skunk odor removal remedies that some among us have tried (I swear to god) at least once:

  • Pepsi
  • Mouthwash
  • Women’s douche–yes, douche!
  • Lemon Juice
  • Garnier Fructis
  • Anti-dandruff shampoo
  • Febreeze
  • Beer

dog licking beerI repeat: these are not recommended remedies. However, in “my dog just got sprayed by a skunk” situations, the beer…? It may just chill you both out, which is more than half the battle.