What To Do When Dog Gets Skunked

Skunk spray is one of the most pungent and unpleasant smells that a dog owner may encounter. Unfortunately, if your dog gets sprayed by a skunk, the resulting stench can be overwhelming and difficult to remove. In this article, we will take a detailed look at what you can do when your dog gets skunked. We will cover everything from the symptoms to look out for, safety precautions, home remedies, commercial skunk odor removers, bathing tips and tricks and how to prevent future encounters with skunks.

Understanding Skunk Spray and its Effects on Dogs

Before we dive into the remedies, it is important to understand what skunk spray is and how it affects your dog. Skunk spray is a mixture of chemicals that contains sulfur compounds, which produces a strong, unpleasant odor. When sprayed at close range, it can cause temporary blindness, eye irritation, and respiratory distress in dogs.

The severity of the symptoms can vary depending on the amount and duration of exposure to the spray. A skunk spray can last for several days and can be extremely uncomfortable for your dog.

It is important to note that skunk spray can also cause psychological distress in dogs. The strong odor can be overwhelming and cause anxiety, fear, and even aggression in some dogs. This can lead to behavioral issues and make it difficult for your dog to socialize with other animals and people.

Symptoms to Look Out for When Your Dog Gets Skunked

The most obvious sign that your dog has been sprayed by a skunk is the overpowering smell. Other signs include excessive drooling, rubbing the eyes or face on the ground, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, it is important to act quickly to minimize their discomfort.

It is important to note that skunk spray can also cause temporary blindness in dogs. If your dog is stumbling or seems disoriented, it may be due to the spray affecting their vision. In this case, it is important to keep them calm and avoid any sudden movements that could cause injury. It is also recommended to seek veterinary care as soon as possible to ensure there are no long-term effects on their eyesight.

Safety Precautions Before Treating a Skunked Dog

Before you treat your skunked dog, it is important to take some safety precautions. Firstly, protect yourself by wearing rubber gloves, and clothes that you don’t mind throwing away afterward.

Secondly, keep your dog away from open flames or any other sources of heat, such as a hair dryer, as the skunk spray is flammable.

Finally, if the skunk spray has entered your dog’s eyes, seek veterinary attention immediately.

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It is also important to keep your skunked dog away from other pets or family members until they have been treated, as the smell can be very strong and difficult to remove from clothing and furniture. Additionally, it is recommended to bathe your dog outside, as the skunk spray can linger in enclosed spaces and cause respiratory issues. After bathing, use a skunk odor neutralizer specifically designed for pets to help eliminate the smell.

Home Remedies to Try Before Taking Your Dog to the Vet

If your dog has been sprayed, there are several home remedies that you can try before taking them to the vet. The first remedy is to wash your dog with a mixture of 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1-2 teaspoons of dish soap.

Alternatively, you can try washing your dog with a mixture of white vinegar and water. Be sure to keep the mixture out of your dog’s eyes.

Another home remedy to try before taking your dog to the vet is to apply a mixture of baking soda and water directly to the affected area. This can help neutralize the odor and reduce irritation. You can also try giving your dog a bath with a mild shampoo to help remove any remaining residue from the spray. However, if your dog is experiencing severe symptoms such as vomiting, difficulty breathing, or excessive drooling, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

How to Make a Homemade Skunk Odor Neutralizer

If you prefer a more natural solution, you can make a homemade skunk odor neutralizer using ingredients that you may already have in your pantry. Mix together equal parts of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap to form a thick paste. Apply the paste to your dog’s coat and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off.

It’s important to note that this homemade skunk odor neutralizer should only be used on your pet’s coat and not on their face or near their eyes. If your pet was sprayed in the face, it’s best to seek veterinary care immediately. Additionally, this solution may lighten your pet’s fur temporarily, but it will return to its normal color after a few days.

If you don’t have all the ingredients for the homemade skunk odor neutralizer, there are other natural remedies you can try. For example, you can mix together one quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and one teaspoon of dish soap. Apply the mixture to your pet’s coat and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off. Another option is to use tomato juice, which can help neutralize the skunk odor, but it may also stain your pet’s fur.

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Commercial Skunk Odor Removers: Are They Worth It?

There are also commercial skunk odor removers available on the market today. While they may be effective, they can be expensive and may not work as well as expected. If you do decide to use a commercial skunk odor remover, be sure to read the instructions carefully and follow them precisely.

It is important to note that some commercial skunk odor removers contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to pets and humans. If you have children or pets in your home, it may be best to avoid using these products altogether. Instead, opt for natural remedies or seek the help of a professional skunk removal service.

Another thing to consider is that skunk odor can linger for weeks or even months if not properly treated. While commercial skunk odor removers may provide temporary relief, it is important to address the root cause of the problem. This may involve sealing off entry points to your property, removing food sources, and implementing other preventative measures to keep skunks away.

Bathing Your Dog After Being Skunked: Tips and Tricks

If your dog has been sprayed by a skunk, giving them a bath is essential to remove the odor. However, it is important to remember that water alone will not remove the scent. It is crucial to use a specialized skunk odor removal shampoo, which is specifically designed to break down the odor molecules.

Another tip is to bathe your dog outdoors to avoid spreading the odor inside your home. You can also wear old clothes and gloves to wash your dog and dispose of them afterward.

It is also recommended to avoid using hot water when bathing your dog after being skunked. Hot water can open up the pores of your dog’s skin, allowing the skunk odor to penetrate deeper. Instead, use lukewarm water to rinse your dog thoroughly.

What Not to Do When Dealing with a Skunked Dog

When dealing with a skunked dog, it is important to avoid certain actions that might aggravate the situation. Avoid the use of tomato sauce, which can irritate your dog’s skin and make the problem worse. Also, avoid bathing your dog in hot water as it can release more of the odor and irritate their skin. Instead, use lukewarm water and a specialized shampoo.

Another important thing to avoid when dealing with a skunked dog is using any kind of heat source to dry them off. This includes hair dryers, heaters, or leaving them in direct sunlight. Heat can cause the odor to set in and become even more difficult to remove. Instead, gently towel dry your dog and allow them to air dry in a well-ventilated area.

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Preventing Future Encounters with Skunks: Do’s and Don’ts

Preventing your dog from encountering skunks is the best defense against a skunk spray. To minimize the chances of a skunk encounter, it is important to keep your dog on a leash while walking them, especially at night.

If you have a yard, make sure that it is secure and free of any openings that skunks can enter. Also, avoid leaving food or garbage out, as that can attract skunks and other wildlife.

Finally, if you do encounter a skunk, avoid startling or approaching it, and give it plenty of space to retreat. Skunks are typically only aggressive when cornered, and they will likely spray if they feel threatened.

Another way to prevent skunk encounters is to remove any potential hiding spots in your yard, such as piles of wood or brush. Skunks are nocturnal animals and prefer to hide during the day, so removing these hiding spots can make your yard less attractive to them.

It is also important to keep your outdoor lighting on at night. Skunks are attracted to dark areas, so keeping your yard well-lit can help deter them from entering your property.


Dealing with a skunked dog can be a challenging and smelly experience, but it is important to act quickly to minimize your pet’s discomfort. By taking the necessary safety precautions and using the right remedies and products, you can effectively neutralize the odor and ensure that your dog remains healthy and comfortable.

It is important to note that skunks are not only a nuisance to dogs, but they can also carry diseases such as rabies. If your dog has been sprayed by a skunk, it is important to monitor them for any signs of illness and to seek veterinary care if necessary.

Prevention is key when it comes to skunks. Keeping your yard free of debris and securing your garbage cans can help deter skunks from entering your property. Additionally, keeping your dog on a leash and avoiding areas where skunks are known to frequent can also help prevent encounters with these smelly creatures.

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