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Tips for Cleaning a Dog Sprayed by Skunk

Updated on December 5, 2009
Tips for removing skunk smell from dogs,ks42day,
Tips for removing skunk smell from dogs,ks42day,

The inquisitive nature of dogs often leads them to find themselves stuck into some stinky situations. When Fido meets skunk, the most likely scenario to derive is a big scare and a dog rolling frantically to get the odor off It is then left to the owner the tedious job of removing the highly offensive smell from man's best friend. However, the good news is that it does not have to necessarily be so, there are indeed several tricks of the trade that may make the cleaning process much easier.

The offending agent that skunks release up to 16 feet away, when they are surprised or feel threatened, is called ''mercaptan''. This scent is released by the skunk's two glands found under the tail, somewhat similar to the anal glands found in dogs. The nauseating smell which is a mixture of sulphuric containing compounds has often been often compared to rotten eggs, burnt rubber or garlic.

It is indeed quite strong and effective since its smell can be detected even from miles away. This scent is related to the compounds added to odorless natural gas so people can easily detect potentially deadly leakages thanks to its distinctive smell. To make things worse, the spray is also of a thick oily consistency that is not so easy to remove with a normal bath. So it should not come as a surprise why the scent may be so difficult to remove.

Upon discovering a dog sprayed by a skunk, it is important first hand to ensure that the dog has not been sprayed in the eyes. Skunk spray acts as a strong irritant and the eyes are often susceptible to its action. Affected dogs often exhibit red eyes and squinting. The eyes should be therefore rinsed with a simple saline solution found in the contact lens aisle or plain water. However, if the dog's eyes still remain red, a veterinarian visit is a must because the eyes can be damaged by the caustic effects of the spray.

If the dog has been sprayed in the mouth, the dog may feel nauseated and may drool, these however are generally just short lived symptoms. However, in rare instances, some dogs may develop a form of anemia characterized by weakness and lethargy after a few days. In such case, it is best to consult with a veterinarian.

Home Remedies for Skunk Odor Removal from Dogs

There are many recipes suggesting tomato juice but it may be impractical since a very large amount is needed in order to work. However, more often than not, even with using tomato juice, the dog ends up smelling like a rotten tomato. Following are some more practical remedies.

Skunk Odor Removal Recipe #1

You will need:

4 cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide
1/3 cup baking soda
16 cups of warm water
1 teaspoon dish detergent (preferably Blue Dawn dish detergent)


Start by wetting the dog's fur with water. Mix all the ingredients (they should fizz) and cover the dog's eyes or smear some Vaseline around them and on the eyelids to prevent the mixture from getting in them.. Rub the mixture in the dog's fur using gloves and let rest for about 20 minutes. The mixture can be rinsed out at this point and repeated if necessary. Note:  this mixture may temporarily  bleach the dog's hair until new hair replaces it. 

Skunk Odor Removal Recipe #2

You will need;

1 cup of vinegar

1 cup hydrogen peroxide

1 cup of dish soap (preferably Blue  Dawn dish detergent)

Start by wearing some gloves and mixing the ingredients. Protect the dog's eyes. Wet the dog and lather the mixture well in the hair.Let the mixture rest on the dog for about ten minutes. Rinse then by using half cup of vinegar placed in one gallon of water. Note: the mixture may temporarily bleach the dog's hair until new hair replaces it. 

There are also several commercial preparations just created for the purpose of removing skunk smells. If you live in an area highly frequented by skunks or if your dog never learns his lesson, then this may be a good option so you can be well prepared for such encounters. A quite good product that gets rid of the smell is a product called ''Skunk Off''. One thing however to keep into consideration is that the skunk smell may return to haunt you at times when the dog is wet. The good news is though that eventually, the skunk smell will eventually go away one day.

Dog pestering skunk


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    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 7 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Indeed! Years back, I had a dog that did not learn. The smell is bad when you pass by on the road, but 'up close and personal,' it is positively nauseating.

      At the time, all we had was the old tomato juice routine. Shut dog out of house to go to store and buy the biggest, cheapest, off-brand tomato juice I could find. Washed dog in said juice, and yes, it was a while before it totally went away.

      The dog got to live in the yard and out in the garage for a couple of weeks, banned from being inside the house!

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 8 years ago from USA

      lol! I can imagine the loss of appetite! Never really got to smell the smell but sort of getting the idea..

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada can be weeks before the smell totally disappears with even the best commercial products. Something on the positive side though, the awful smell of the skunks are also great dietary props. Once the area around the house has been sprayed you have no appetite to eat anything and therefore the diet will work.

      great hub

      kindest regards Zsuzsy