Ask the Vet - What should I do if my dog gets sprayed by a skunk?
June 1st, 2021
As it begins to get dark earlier, here at the Veterinary Center we start getting more calls about canine encounters with skunks. There are lots of skunks living in this area, and if your dog gets curious about one, they probably will end up getting sprayed. Skunks like to come out around twilight, so dogs most often encounter them at the end of a long day when you least want to deal with it, but it is important to wash your pup right away so the odor doesn’t set in (and to keep it from being spread all around your house). Over-the-counter products such as Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover can be a quick fix, and although tomato juice has long been recommended as a solution, most pet owners report it doesn’t really work. Over the years we have found the simple recipe below to be the most effective. It has to be freshly mixed to work best, so we recommend keeping the separate ingredients on hand. Apply all of the solution to your dog and rinse immediately and well. Do not store any leftover solution, as it can explode in a sealed bottle. After rinsing the solution you will want to wash with a mild pet shampoo and rinse well again.
Call your veterinarian as soon as they are open to see if the encounter warrants a rabies booster. This will depend on how close they got, and how much rabies has been reported in your area.
Step 1: Keep your dog outside
You'll probably want to keep your dog outside while you get it together so they don't carry the smell indoors. Be sure to check their eyes; if they're irritated or red, immediately flush them with cool water.
Step 2: Mix the Ingredients
1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide (available at any pharmacy)
1/4 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing liquid
Wearing rubber gloves, wash your dog with this solution immediately after they've been sprayed. DO NOT get the solution in their eyes. (If you don't have peroxide, baking soda, and liquid soap on hand, use vinegar diluted with water.)
Caution: Do NOT store this mixture or make it ahead of time, as the mixture could explode if left in a bottle.
Step 3: Clean and rinse
Rub the mixture through their fur, but don't leave it on too long (peroxide can bleach fur). Rinse them thoroughly.
Step 4: Shampoo
Next, wash your dog with pet shampoo and rinse thoroughly. By now, they should be de-skunked and smelling sweet. Thoroughly towel-dry your dog, and be sure to place them in a warm, sunny room for the next couple of hours so that they don't get chilled.
If your dog rubbed some of the odor onto you, you can rid your clothes of the smell by using regular laundry detergent mixed with a half-cup of baking soda.
Written by Robin Elliott
Send your questions to:
Dr. Ginger Browne Johnson | Veterinary and Rehabilitation Center of Cape Elizabeth
EMAIL - (attn: Ask the Vet)