1. Home

Discuss in my forum

How to Remove the Skunk Smell from Dogs

By

About Dogs - Photo of Skunk

Avoid this little guy.

Photo © leffler27 on flickr
Has your dog been sprayed by a skunk? Even if not, all dog owners should know how to handle it - just in case. You may have heard of skunk odor remedies like tomato juice or vinegar, but they really just cover up the odor. Products like Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover have been known to work, but may be hard to find in a pinch. You can remove the odor from your dog using household items. It's all thanks to chemist Paul Krebaum, who developed the recipe in 1993. Skunk spray is very oily and contains sulfur (hence the stench). This recipe causes a chemical reaction that breaks up the oils and neutralizes the odor.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 30-60 minutes

Here's How:

  1. As soon as you realize your dog has been sprayed by a skunk, don some rubber or latex gloves and old clothes and look her over for bites or scratches. Also check her eyes for redness or discharge. If any injuries are found, you should contact your veterinarian before proceeding.
  2. Time is of the essence here - the longer you wait to begin the process, the harder it will be to remove the stench. Get set up for bathing your dog outdoors or in an easy to clean area of your home (laundry room, bathroom, etc). If indoors, open a window to save your nose!
  3. Apply a small strip of eye lubricant (such as Puralube) or 1-2 drops of mineral oil to your dog's eyes. This will help protect the eyes in case any of the solution splashes or drips in.
  4. In the plastic container, combine 1 quart hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid soap. Add lukewarm water if needed (for larger dogs). Mix ingredients well. The solution will fizz, as a chemical reaction is occurring. Use immediately - do not store.
  5. Do not soak your dog with water prior to bathing. Promptly begin cleansing the affected areas thoroughly, massaging the solution deep into your dog's coat. You may wish to use a sponge or washcloth. Avoid getting the solution in the eyes, ears or mouth.
  6. Allow the solution to remain on your dog for at least five minutes (longer if strong odor persists).
  7. Rinse your dog well with lukewarm water. Repeat steps 3-5 as necessary until odor is gone.
  8. Dry your dog well and give her a treat!

Tips:

  1. NEVER place the solution in a closed container or spray bottle, as the pressure will build up and the container could burst. This could cause serious injury to you and your dog.
  2. DO NOT use higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or substitute baking soda with "similar" products. The altered chemical reaction could cause severe injury to you and your dog.
  3. Be certain you use fresh hydrogen peroxide, as it becomes less concentrated over time. If you are unsure how old your hydrogen peroxide is (or if it is expired) get fresh bottles just in case.
  4. The solution can be used to remove skunk odor from clothing and other fabrics. However, it can have a mild bleaching effect on some materials. In addition, your dog's coat may become slightly lighter as a result of the solution. If this happens, it should resolve over time. Don't worry, your black dog will not become a platinum blond!
  5. To help avoid future meetings between skunks and your dog, try to prevents skunks from becoming attracted to your property. Do not leave food outside, including bird seed and fallen fruit from trees. Make sure garbage cans are well-secured. Placing moth balls and ammonia-soaked rags around your property might deter skunks from approaching. In addition, keep your dog within eye shot and keep her from running into wooded areas unattended.

    Learn more about skunks from Veterinary Medicine Guide Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM:

    Skunked! Why Skunks Spray, What They Spray


    Sources:
    The Skunk Remedy Homepage
    Project Wildlife

What You Need

  • 1 quart (32 fl oz, nearly 1 liter) Hydrogen Peroxide 3% (U.S.P)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) *NOT baking powder or washing powder*
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons liquid soap (such as Ivory™ Liquid Cleanser or Softsoap®)
  • 1 quart lukewarm water (only needed for very large dogs)
  • A clean plastic bucket, bowl or other mixing container (do not cover)
  • Clean plastic utensils for mixing
  • Protective eye ointment or mineral oil (for your dog's eyes)
  • Latex or rubber gloves
  • A protective apron and eye goggles if possible
  • Plenty of towels
Related Video
Prevent Dogs From Getting Sprayed by Skunks
  1. About.com
  2. Home
  3. Dogs
  4. Caring for Dogs and Puppies
  5. De-Skunking Dogs - How to Remove Skunk Smell from Dogs

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.