My Dog Got Skunked, Now What?

Don't panic. Don't grab the tomato juice. This home remedy will help deskunk your dog just fine.

When your dog gets sprayed by a skunk it can be a real nightmare. Dogs are already stinky, and if you add an unexpected skunk stench on top of the sometimes unpleasant doggy aroma, your nose is in for a real treat. If it happens to your dog, make sure to take these next steps to ensure that your dog stays safe and their fur (and your house) are stink-free. Here are some other easy ways to get rid of pet odor.

The first thing to do after your dog gets sprayed by a skunk

The first thing you should do after your dog is sprayed by a skunk it to check for bites or scratches on their skin. “Skunks can carry rabies, so bring your dog to a veterinarian immediately if you find any wounds. If your dog’s eyes appear red, swollen, painful, or weepy, rinse them out with cool water,” says Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, serves on the advisory board for Pet Life Today. Dog owners, here’s how to keep your pet warm this winter.

Although unlikely, the only health problems your dog will face after being sprayed by a skunk are irritation of the eyes, nose, mouth, or skin. In very rare cases, compounds of skunk spray can get absorbed into the bloodstream and damage red blood cells leading to anemia, Dr. Coates says. If you know your dog’s smell isn’t from a skunk, these are some medical reasons your dog might smell.

How to remove the smell

After you’ve made sure that your dog is OK, it’s time to get them clean. If you can avoid it, don’t bring them inside. They’ll just get the smell on your carpets and around your house. Then, before getting them wet, massage this mixture deep into your dog’s coat. If your dog got sprayed in the face, make sure to be very careful around their eyes, ears, and mouth.

  • 1 quart 3% Hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1-2 teaspoons of liquid soap

If you have a big dog, dilute the solution with water so you have more of it to rub on their fur. Once you’ve given your pooch a good scrub, rinse them down with water. If they still smell repeat the process.

Dr. Coates adds that it’s important to remember that hydrogen peroxide can lighten your dog’s fur or fabrics that it comes in contact with (towels), so don’t let it sit on your dog for more than five minutes. If you don’t want to run the risk of lightening your dog’s fur, Dr. Coates recommends Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover. It uses enzymes to break down the compounds that smell so bad in skunk spray. Find out what your dog’s noises actually mean.

How can you keep your dog from getting sprayed again?

The smartest thing to do is to keep your dog leashed when you’re out walking or playing in the yard. You can also train them to not be aggressive around unknown animals. But sometimes it’s unavoidable because once a skunk sees your dog they’ll get spooked and most likely spray them. Now that your dog, hopefully, smells better, learn about the things your dog wishes you knew.

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing for rd.com or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.