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.
Grab a clean cloth (from your first aid kit) and some water and gently clean your dog’s face. If you don’t think just plain water will be enough, you can try this homemade solution.
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 skunk 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.
Awesome thank you gojo it is all three of my dogs got sprayed last night and I’ve tried a lot of things and nothing seamed to work and you guys gave me a couple more to try out I’ll let’s you know how it works
Karen Macpherson says
So this seems like it worked pretty well, took me back to grade seven science fair however when I added the baking Soda to the vinegar apple cider soap mixture, think really cool volcano! So as it is cascading off the counter, grabbed a rag and grabbed the dog and slopped it on him. We’re laughing now. Any ideas how to avoid the volcano effect?
Chris R says
Lol, you’re not supposed to mix the vinegar with the baking soda… The solution is peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap…. AFTER you rinse that mixture out, IF there is still skunk smell, you can mix vinegar and water for an after wash… I think mixing the two would even burn out the active ingredients that remove the skunk oil… I hope it still worked.
The beauty parlor got the skunk smell off of my dog but her breath still smells awful!!! I have given her lots of doggie breath mint snacks and they have done nothing. She’s a German Shepard so every time she opens her mouth I just about fall over. Does anyone have any ideas??? PLEASE!!!
Jennifer Rice says
I take a cap full of mouth waste and pry their mouth open then just toss it in there. They will shake and spit it out so don’t worry about them swallowing it. I do this occasionally when they get a bath before they get out of the bathtub and all 3 of my large dogs never have bad breath. They also do not have dental problems either like abscesses and all of my dogs a getting up there in age. I have never given them any of the commercial breath chews and anything like that ever.
Mary Gilbert says
Same here! My small shepherd mix got blasted right in the face. Groomer took care of the bad smell but his breath is horrendous! Someone also mentioned have dog try chewing fresh parsley. I don’t have any on hand but will try the mouth wash as Jennifer mentions below. Let me know what worked for you.
“Nutri-Vet Breath & Tartar Chicken Flavor Biscuits Dog Treats” and “Bullymake Minty Pines”, lots of them!!! She was in treat heaven, I just hope that she didn’t make the connection between skunks and treats!!! LOL