The smell of spring flowers. Gentle breezes. The gagging, nauseating smell of your dog covered in skunk spray. Now what?
If your dog has been sprayed by a skunk, immediate action is needed to prevent you, your pup, and your home from stinking for a looong time.
If you’re lucky enough to be reading this before you dog has been sprayed, then take action now and get together a skunk odor removal kit for future use. All homes with a dog should have one.
Why Do Skunks Spray?
Skunks use their spray as their main form of defense. They are nocturnal, have a poor sense of sight, and only spray to defend themselves.
They have two anal glands that produce an oily spray with sulfur-containing chemicals. They are very accurate with their spray up to 10 feet away.
The spray is powerful enough to scare off predators as large as bears. Owls do prey on skunks since owls don’t have a sense of smell.
Skunk spray irritates the eyes and nose, similar to getting pepper-sprayed. Your dog’s nose may run, and they may even feel nauseous and throw up. If sprayed in the eyes it causes irritation and even temporary blindness.
If you’d like to learn more about skunks, read more here.
How Long Does Skunk Smell Last?
A skunk’s odor can last two to three weeks if untreated. Also, the longer you wait to wash the smell off the longer it will last, and the harder it will be to get the odor out.
Does Tomato Juice Get Rid Of Skunk Smell?
In a word, no. Tomato juice may temporarily mask the smell, but doesn’t eliminate it. You need something to react chemically with the skunk oil to neutralize it, which tomato juice doesn’t do.
If you have a white or light colored dog, leaving tomato juice on too long can also turn their coat temporarily pink.
So tomato juice = pinky + stinky 🙂
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Commercial Skunk Smell Remover
This Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover is part of the kit we have for our three dogs. We live in the country, so we want to be prepared to get rid of skunk smell on the dogs!
While none of the dogs have been skunked yet (fingers crossed!), Finn is a huge lover of poop rolling. Especially raccoon poop, which smells a couple of steps less nasty than skunk spray but still horrible.
This skunk odor remover works like a charm to remove sticky, stinky raccoon poo, and gets top ratings for skunk odor removal on Amazon. If you don’t want to mix your own solution, I suggest having a bottle or two of this on hand for skunk and other nasty smell removal situations.
Most veterinarians also carry some brand of skunk odor removal liquid or shampoo. Just make sure to do it in advance in case the vet isn’t open when you need the product.
How To Get Rid Of Skunk Smell On Dogs At Home
Alright, let’s get down to it and get that pup deskunked! A widely recommended hydrogen peroxide formula with baking soda is listed below if you don’t have a commercial product.
Steps to get rid of skunk smell on dogs:
- Isolate your dog outside. A fenced in back yard, tie-out, or similar area to confine your dog will work well. DO NOT LET YOUR DOG IN THE HOUSE.
- Assemble all the things you’ll need to bathe your dog. You don’t want to have to go running in and out of the house after you may have gotten some of the scent on you.
Things you’ll need:
- Rubber gloves
- Paper towels
- Ingredients from the list below or commercial product
- Large bucket or container to hold bath ingredients
- Hose or a large bucket of clean water
- Dog Shampoo
- Towels you don’t love 🙂
- Sterile eye wash for dogs in case spray got in dog’s eyes (can also use human saline solution if you have a bottle for contact lenses)
- Cotton balls for dogs ears
Hydrogen Peroxide Formula Skunk Wash Recipe
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1-2 teaspoons dish soap (similar to blue Dawn dish soap)
- 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Mix all ingredients in bucket or large container
- As soon as it stops bubbling use immediately
- The mixture is unstable and you can’t store it, don’t make a batch ahead of time
- Put on your rubber gloves and using the paper towels pat the spray off the dog as much as you can. Don’t rub with the paper towel or you’ll spread it further into your dog’s coat.
- Check your dog’s eyes for redness. If they were sprayed in the eyes, rinse their eyes out with a saline solution or sterile dog eye wash.
- Mix all the ingredients in a container. As soon as it stops bubbling work the solution into your dog’s coat for 3-5 minutes. DON’T RINSE THE DOG WITH WATER FIRST AS THIS SPREADS THE OIL.
- Rinse the mixture off your pup and repeat the process as necessary to remove the scent.
- TIP: If there’s still a little stank left, try rinsing your dog with a mixture of two parts water to one part vinegar.
- Wash your dog with his or her regular dog shampoo to get any remaining solution out.
- Finally, towel dry your dog. If it’s warm outside let them air dry. If it’s cooler, bring them inside an isolated room without upholstered furniture like a laundry room or bathroom and let them dry. If there’s any residual smell on them you don’t want it on your sofa as well!
FYI TIP: Be aware that the longer the hydrogen peroxide is on your dog’s coat, especially dogs with dark coats, the greater the chance it will bleach their fur. But that is probably the least of your concerns at that point!
How To Get Skunk Smell Out Of Clothes And The House
Now that your dog is clean you may be wondering how to clean up any lingering smells on your clothes or in the house.
If you think you have a skunk odor, mix 2-4 cups of baking soda in a warm bath and soak for 15 minutes. Shower as usual.
For clothing and towels, wash them in regular laundry detergent plus 1/2 cup baking soda to remove any remaining scent.
If you’ve tracked in any scent to the house, boil vinegar in a pan. The house will smell like vinegar for a while, but when it dissipates the skunk smell should be gone.
You can also try placing bowls of white vinegar around your home to absorb the smell within one to two days. Make sure to place the vinegar up away from pets and children.
How To Keep Skunks Away
While there’s obviously no way to be assured of keeping skunks away from your house, there are a few things you can do to discourage them from hanging around.
First, eliminate possible den locations. Skunks can take up residence in wood or rock piles, under porches, or even in abandoned cars.
Next, remove as many food sources as you can.
- Get rid of as many bugs and rodents around your house as possible
- Feed dogs and cats inside since skunks love pet food
- Keep bags of bird seed well covered in your garage or shed
- Make sure garbage cans have tight fitting lids
Finally, use bright motion detector lights at night to discourage nocturnal visitors.
Hopefully your dog never gets skunked. But if they do, now you’re ready!
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