How do you know if your dog got skunked?
Reeking, rank, pungent, foul-smelling, and just plain nauseating. If your dog has been skunked, you’ll probably know.
But truth is unless you saw it happen, or you’ve personally been skunked before, then there’s no way to absolutely know.
If you suspect your dog has been skunked, here’s what to do.
Step #1: Clean your dog’s eyes, ears, nose, and mouth
Skunk’s typically spray as a defense mechanism when they are startled, so it’s very likely your dog was sniffing where he shouldn’t have been.
Skunk spray is an irritant, so if your dog’s eyes are red, or they are constantly licking their nose or around their mouth (coupled with that terrible smell), then it’s likely they got skunked in the face.
Step #2: Check for any other injuries
It’s unfortunate, but you may find scratches, bites, or cuts on your dog. Check their extremities (paws, legs, face, tail), and then run your (gloved) hands over their body as well.
If any injuries are present, it’s best to see a vet.
Step #3: Bathe your dog
There’s several remedies you can try, but for certain these 2 won’t work:
- Regular old bath
- Tomato juice
Neither of the above will eliminate the odor, just mask it (if you’re lucky) for a couple hours.
You may actually make it worse by causing the thiols from the skunk spray to further set in your dog’s coat.
Remedy #1: The easiest solution, Nature’s Miracle
The easiest solution is to give the local pet store a call and see if they have Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Removal.
If they don’t, and you think your dog runs the risk of being skunked again, then order a bottle of Amazon, and move onto remedy #2 for the time being.
Remedy #2: Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap
Every dog owner we know swears by the combination of blue Dawn dish soap, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide-create formed into a paste. It’s also what the American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends.
Here’s what you need:
- 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 tsp Dawn dish soap
- white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Here’s what you do:
- DO NOT get them wet before applying! That will only spread the skunk spray around! Put the mixture on straight.
- Make sure to avoid the eyes ears and mouth, I also used the cone of shame to stop linking.
- Don’t be too concerned if they vomit-especially if they got the spray in their mouth.
- Mix all ingredients (except the vinegar) well.
- Work solution into pet’s fur for 3-5 minutes, rinse with water.
- If there’s still a bit of the smell, try mixing 2 parts water with 1 part vinegar (this step is optional, only if skunk smell still persists).
Two bonus tips:
- If you’re having any trouble getting the rinse out, a bonus tip is to use a 9 to 1 ratio, water to white vinegar (i.e. 9 cups water, 1 cup white vinegar mixed).
- You may add a few drops of peppermint essential oil; it smells nice.
Remedy #3: Gojo
If you’ve ever worked on a car, or any job site, then you’re probably familiar with that giant orange jug of GoJo.
You should be able to pick this up at any local hardware store, or Home Depot or Lowe’s.
Here’s what you do:
- Apply on dry dog like a shampoo, it should have a white or gray pasty look, and will feel like it’s mixed with sand.
- Rinse with water after a good lather. Be very careful around eyes/nose.
Many people believe this works better than the hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap combo.
Remedy #4: Skunk Off Shampoo
Similar to the Nature’s Miracle solution above, Skunk Off is a shampoo-like product that eliminates skunk odor.
Most people we’ve spoken too, say Skunk Off doesn’t work quite as well as Nature’s Miracle, but if you don’t have any luck with Nature’s Miracle (or it’s not at your local pet shop) then Skunk Off may be your best bet.
What if the smell gets in your house?
So you got your dog cleaned off, but not before he stepped inside and rubbed his face along the sofa cushions or into the carpet floor.
If the smell is in your house, leave bowls of white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) laying around the house.
How to prevent your dog from being skunked again?
I wish I had some miracle product to tell you about, like maybe you could hang an acorn around your dog’s neck that would terrify skunks from coming within 20 feet. Unfortunately I don’t.
Here’s a few ideas that may help though:
Avoid the night. Skunks are primarily nocturnal, so they are going to be more active once the sun goes down.
Use lights. If your dog got skunked in the backyard, try adding some motion lights, or lights that come on at night. This may deter them from entering your yard.
Clean up. Make sure your trash can lids are on tight, don’t leave any food out for the neighborhood cats, and generally just clean up your yard of any debris.
Be on the lookout in winter. Skunks are more active in the winter months.
That’s all we’ve got!
Be sure to let us know in the comments if you come across any other solutions.