Let’s get this out of the way: if your dog has been sprayed by a skunk, you need to bathe your dog. There is no other solution. It gets worse before it gets better, though. Before you can get to the bathing stage, you have to find the skunk spray on your dog. And that means sticking your nose in places that are best left unexplored.
That being said, we’re here today to talk about what to do when a dog gets sprayed by a skunk—not how to tell everyone else that it’s happened. We’ll leave the latter up to you! For now, let’s dive into our guide on how best to treat a skunk-sprayed pup and hopefully minimize the damage.
If you have a dog that gets sprayed by a skunk, there are ways to minimize the smell.
If your dog is sprayed by a skunk, there are ways to minimize the smell. The most important thing for you to know about the smell is that it’s caused by a chemical called thiols. Thiols are secreted from the glands of skunks and other mammals like dogs, cats and humans. Thiols react with air to create two compounds that cause the odor: methyl mercaptan (what gives skunk spray its distinctive stench) and butyric acid (which smells like rancid butter).
The best way to get rid of these odors is through enzymatic oxidation removal—basically using chemicals that break down the thiol molecules into other harmless substances. Products like Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Neutralizer or Simple Solution Skunk Odor Eliminator work via this method—but they can be expensive if used on an ongoing basis if your dog gets sprayed regularly by skunks!
Use a solution of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide.
- Create a solution of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide by adding 1 part of hydrogen peroxide to 9 parts water.
- Apply the solution directly to the dog’s coat and leave it to soak for 5 minutes, then rinse well with plain water or soap and warm water. The combination of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide will help neutralize the skunk spray, so if you have some handy, add 1 cup of vinegar to your spray bottle before adding 2 cups of water (the same as above). If not, don’t worry—just use straight up 3 percent hydrogen peroxide instead!
- Repeat this process at least once more within 12 hours after initial application (ideally within 4–6 hours). It’s possible that more than one treatment may be necessary depending on how much skunk spray was used in your dog’s face; if you’re unsure whether or not further treatments are necessary, seek veterinary advice right away!
Don’t use tomato juice.
You should not use tomato juice to remove skunk smell. This is because tomato juice is not an effective skunk smell remover.
It has been said that if you spray your dog with tomato juice, then the smell of the vinegar in it will neutralize the odor from the skunk spray. However, this is a myth and it does not work in practice.
Use white vinegar after the hydrogen peroxide bath.
In addition to the hydrogen peroxide bath, you can also use white vinegar to neutralize the smell of skunk spray. White vinegar has a high acidity level that neutralizes odors and soothes irritated skin.
However, use caution when applying it to your dog’s coat. You should avoid applying this substance if he or she has sensitive skin or allergies or any medical condition other than being sprayed by a skunk. If you’re unsure whether your dog is safe to bathe with vinegar, consult with your vet first!
You should also avoid using vinegar if he or she is pregnant as it can cause complications during delivery
Be sure to cover your dog’s eyes and face.
Be sure to cover your dog’s eyes and face. The smell can be very potent and can cause pain, so you want to make sure your pet doesn’t rub the eyes or mouth on anything.
If you have time before the spray dries, wash it off with shampoo and water immediately. If not, wipe off as much of the spray as possible with paper towels or rags. Then wrap a clean towel around your skunked dog’s neck (like a bib) so that he won’t lick himself or scratch at his fur while he’s being bathed later.
Don’t forget the underside of your dog’s feet.
It’s also important to consider the underside of your dog’s feet, as well as any other areas in which they might have been splashed while they were being sprayed.
If you don’t do this, you will be faced with an unpleasant surprise when that area smells up again. Doing it now means that you can avoid having to give up your weekend cleaning up after a skunk attack again later on.
We hope you and your dog stay safe on all of your adventures together. If you follow these steps to remove the skunk smell, we’re sure that you can return to a happy home in no time!