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How to Get Skunk Smell Out of a Dog

You let your dog outside, and he came back into the house smelling terrible. Oh no, you think. That could only mean one thing: A skunk sprayed your dog.

Skunk smell is notoriously difficult to get off of anything. However, you shouldn’t fret, because with DIY home remedies or the right deodorizing product, you can get your pup smelling like himself again in no time.

Why Do Skunks Smell?

how to get skunk smell out of a dog

There is a gland under a skunk’s tail, and it produces and then sprays the skunk odor you’re smelling. This is a skunk oil made up of thiols, a substance with a sulfur component. It’s difficult to get rid of this smell because the skunk’s oil will interact with water and thus reactivate its oil.

Dog owners need to do more than wash their pooch with water and dog shampoo to get the smell out of their dog’s skin and coat.

How to Get Skunk Smell Out of a Dog Step by Step

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It’s not impossible to get remove skunk oil if your dog got sprayed. Here’s what to do if the smell is lingering in your dog’s coat.

Step 1: Keep Your Dog Out of the House

Don’t bring your dog inside your house while he still smells. It’s going to stink up your home. Instead, let your dog air out outdoors.

When he’s outside, check your dog’s eyes for irritation or redness, just in case the skunk spray hurt him. If you notice any irritation, flush out his eyes with cool water ASAP.

Step 2: Make a DIY Homemade Remedy 

Your first instinct may be to use tomato juice to get the skunk spray off your dog. However, putting your dog in a tomato juice bath is not a good idea. It’s not going to get rid of the smell – it will only cover it up. Your best bet is to concoct a homemade mixture.

With just a few household ingredients, you can get the skunk smell out of your dog’s fur. You should mix together the following items: 

  • 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • ¼ cup of baking soda     
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap

Note: Do not pre-mix this and store it in a bottle. It could explode in a closed container.

Put on rubber gloves before rubbing the mix onto your dog’s fur. You should wash him with this mixture immediately after he gets sprayed.

Make sure you don’t get the mixture in his eyes. Also, don’t leave the mixture on your dog too long because peroxide can potentially bleach fur. Rinse your dog as thoroughly as you can.

Step 3: Wash Your Dog With Pet Shampoo

After you’ve rinsed off the mixture, the de-skunking process should be complete. You need to then wash your pup with dog shampoo and then towel-dry him. If it’s cold, keep him in a warm place so that he doesn’t start shivering.

And if you got the skunk oil smell on you, then wash your clothes with regular laundry detergent and half a cup of baking soda. 

Get Skunk Shampoo

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There are skunk shampoos available that you can purchase. Search for de-skunking shampoos online and in a pet store.

However, if it’s going to take time to get to your house, it’s better to make the DIY mixture. If you live in an area where there are a lot of skunks and your dog has gotten sprayed repeatedly, then having de-skunking shampoo handy is going to be a big help.

Go to the Groomer

If you don’t want to get rid of the skunk smell at home, you can always call a local groomer and see if they could wash your pup. You’ll want to find a mobile groomer who will come to you or a groomer you can walk to. If you put your dog in the car, your car may then smell like a skunk, too.

If Necessary, Contact a Vet 

If you notice that your dog has a rash or you can’t treat his irritated eyes, then call a veterinarian as soon as possible. Also, always keep your dog’s rabies vaccination up to date. Skunks carry rabies, which is highly fatal for dogs.

Make Sure Your Dog Stays Busy

frenchie playing with hide-a-bird dog toy

Your dog might be chasing skunks around your yard because he’s bored. By giving him toys that stimulate him mentally and physically, he may not want to keep going after skunks. 

One toy he’ll enjoy is Outward Hound’s Hide A Toy. This plush puzzle toy will address his boredom and feed into your pup’s natural hunting instincts. All you have to do is fill the toy with the squeaking animals, throw it, and watch your pup go wild trying to get them out. This toy is suitable for puppies and adult dogs since it’s easy on the teeth. 

Another option is the MultiPuzzle Interactive Dog Treat Puzzle. With this level four puzzle, your dog needs to complete a series of steps in the right order to discover more delicious hidden treats. This toy will provide mental enrichment, which is just as important as physical activity. 

Keeping Skunks Out of Your Yard

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There are some things you can do to stop skunks from getting into your yard and spraying your dog. Since skunks are nocturnal and their eyes are sensitive to light, you can put up motion sensor floodlights that will go off when they get near your yard. They will likely run away.

You can also place orange or lemon peels around your yard since many animals don’t like the smell of citrus fruits. Install fencing to close off your yard, and put chicken wire under your porch if you’ve found skunks or other small animals there. That will limit accessibility to the space. 

If these methods don’t work, then consider calling a pest control professional to trap the skunk and release it somewhere else.

Ensuring Your Dog Is Safe and Clean

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If your dog still keeps getting sprayed by a skunk, then repeat the washing process so that he doesn’t feel any negative effects from the skunk smell.

Hopefully, by making some changes to your yard, you can prevent your pup from getting sprayed again.