De-skunking a dog is a lot like de-skunking yourself, except it's not as easy. Their coat can make washing difficult, and they probably want to take a bath at this moment about as much as you want to give them one. The best way to get rid of the smell is to wash your pet thoroughly with warm water and a DIY deodorizing mixture. If your dog has been sprayed by a skunk, here's how to remove the smell and get on with life.
DIY Recipe for De-Skunking a Dog
A de-skunking spray is an easy DIY recipe you can make with just a few household items. It may not be your first choice to put on your dog, but if you want to avoid the vet's office and its hefty fee, we have found the perfect recipe to make your own concoction.
Keep your dog outside while you're getting ready to clean them off. If they come inside, they're probably just going to spread the smell all over your home.
Before you get started, grab the following equipment:
- Tub or kiddie pool for bathing
- Bowl and metal spoon for mixing ingredients
- Hose or bowl for rinsing
- Cloth or sponge for bathing dog's face and head
- Towel or blow dryer
You'll also need these ingredients:
- 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap (Dawn works well)
The directions are simple and easy to follow. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3!
- Mix these three ingredients together in a bowl to use as the first deodorizing rinse.
- Work the mixture through your dog's fur thoroughly
- Use a cloth saturated with this mixture to wash your dog's face so you don't get the solution in your dog's eyes, ears, nose, or mouth.
- Leave the solution on for four to five minutes and then rinse thoroughly, beginning with the dog's head and face. Be aware that peroxide may bleach the dog's fur if you leave it on too long.
- Shampoo a second time with your regular dog shampoo and rinse thoroughly.
- Check the smell, and repeat these steps until it is gone.
- Towel or blow dry the dog's fur and make sure your dog remains warm until they're completely dry.
You will probably want to bathe your dog outside if they've been sprayed by a skunk. If this isn't possible, wrap your dog in a towel before you transport them through your house to help contain the smell.
Removing Skunk Smell from Fabric
Skunk spray is a smelly, oily liquid that can leave a yellowish-brown stain on clothing. If your dog came in the house, or they rubbed some of the oil on your cloths, you'll need to get the stink out of any fabric or surface it's attached to. The odor of the spray is so strong that it can linger for days, even after washing the clothes multiple times. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to remove skunk odor from your clothes or fabric.
- Step 1: Place the clothing in a bucket filled with water and ¼ cup of baking soda. Let soak overnight or for at least 12 hours. This will help loosen any oil from the fabric and make it easier to wash out later.
- Step 2: Wash the clothing using detergent and warm water. If the clothing is heavily soiled, try adding detergent directly to the washer instead of using the dispenser built into most washing machines. Do not use bleach or fabric softener, as these products may react negatively with skunk spray residue and worsen discoloration or odor problems.
- Step 3: Rinse well by hand or in another cycle if possible until there are no signs of any residual odor or discoloration left behind on your garment.
Additional Tips for Removing Odors
Dealing with skunk spray on your pet can be nerve wracking, because you basically have to drop everything to get rid of the smell. Don't worry, though, because you have options.
- Yes, tomato juice works. However, the recipe above works better, almost every time. The enzymes in tomato juice help neutralize the smell emitted by skunks and break it down into less-potent compounds. However, if you use the recipe above, don't use any tomato juice because it is acidic and could potentially result in irritation.
- Try not to let your dog lick their fur or eat anything else while you are washing them off.
- Skunk spray contains hydrogen sulfide, which is a chemical that irritates the eyes and lungs, so it could cause irritation to not only your dog, but your family, as well.
- Don't forget to wear rubber gloves while bathing your dog. You don't want to spread the stink if you can avoid it.
If your dog was sprayed directly in the face or mouth, consult your veterinarian before attempting to clean them up yourself. Skunk spray can cause oral burns and irritation if not treated immediately.
Prevent Getting Sprayed
The best way to prevent your dog or cat from being sprayed by a skunk is to keep them inside at night or when they are most likely to run into these stinky neighbors. If this is not an option, then make sure they are on a leash whenever they may encounter one on the loose. If your pet does get sprayed by a skunk, it is important that you act quickly so that you do not have trouble removing the odor later on.