skunk standing on a log

How to Handle a Skunk Spraying Your Dog: Tips & Tricks

Dogs are known for chasing animals that are smaller than them, which includes skunks. If your dog has ever been sprayed by a skunk, you know how unpleasant that can be. Not only does it smell terrible, but it can also cause skin irritations and other problems.

Skunks are nocturnal animals, so they are more likely to spray your dog at night. If this happens to you, don’t worry – we have some tips and tricks that will help get rid of the smell!

What is Skunk Spray?

The anal glands of a skunk produce an oil to protect it from predators, which includes sulfurous chemicals known as thiols or thioacetates. The majority of the thiols bind to proteins in your dog’s skin, causing a persistent odor. Thioacetates are less powerful than thiols, but they can be transformed to thiols just with the addition of water.

The anal glands of the skunk release a defensive spray in order to ward off potential predators. Skunks can spray this stuff up to 15 feet away, so it’s not uncommon for dogs to get a direct face shot.

Don’t be alarmed if your dog gets a little too up close with a skunk. Follow these ideas to get rid of the odor fast and effectively.

What Should You Do if a Skunk Sprays Your Dog?

While you may be inclined to think that tomato juice is the solution, it has had little effect. The ideal alternative is to use a commercial-grade skunk removal product. These are commonly available from your veterinarian or a local pet shop. Ask your veterinarian which treatment they recommend, whether it’s commercially manufactured or homemade.

Don’t worry if you’re having a skunk problem outside of the hours of your veterinarian or pet store (which is usually the case). There is still hope if you’re dealing with a skunk situation outside of those times.

Step 1: Do not bring your dog inside

You’re probably going to want to keep your dog outside while you tidy up so they don’t bring the odor inside. Check their eyes; if they’re irritated or red, wash them with cold water right away.

When your dog comes into contact with skunk spray, the odor is transferred to his or her skin and fur. The scent can spread quickly through your house and household textiles, remaining even after your dog has been cleaned. To avoid spreading the smell to your own clothing, wear old clothes and gloves when treating your dog outdoors.

Step 2: Mix your ingredients for a DIY skunk spray remover

Mix together:

  • 1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of non-toxic liquid dish soap

Wash your dog with this solution as soon after they’ve been sprayed with rubber gloves on. DO NOT allow the solution in their eyes. (If you don’t have peroxide, use baking soda, liquid dish soap, and white vinegar.)

Warning: Do not store or prepare this combination ahead of time since it may erupt if kept in a closed container.

Step 3: Wash your dog

  1. Massage the solution into your dog’s fur with rubber gloves on.
  2. Clean your dog’s face with a washcloth, avoiding their eyes and mouth, if they were sprayed in the face.
  3. Let the solution sit for 3 to 5 minutes but make sure that your dog doesn’t lick or ingest any of it.
  4. Rinse the solution thoroughly.
  5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 until the smell is completely gone.
  6. Once the smell is gone, wash your dog inside the bath with their normal shampoo.

Allow your dog to air dry after they’ve been cleaned. Wash your clothing if you have skunk odor on them, using regular detergent and a half cup of baking soda.

Keep a close eye on your dog over the next few days, noting any changes. Skunk spray might result in skin irritation or other medical problems. You should also double-check that your pet has all of its vaccinations since skunks are known rabies carriers.

Step 4: Clean up after yourself

If your dog rubbed some of the stench off onto you, wash your clothing with ordinary laundry detergent combined with a half-cup of baking soda. This will help get rid of the skunk odor on your clothing.

Additional Tips For De-Skunking Your Dog

  • Don’t put a hydrogen peroxide solution stronger than 3% on your dog’s skin, as it may irritate the skin.
  • Take precautions not to get the solution in your dog’s eyes.
  • Don’t leave the solution on your dog’s coat for too long, since peroxide may cause his or her fur to bleach. This will be especially apparent in dogs with black coats.
  • Do not store the solution. Use it as soon as possible and recycle any surplus.

How You Can Avoid Future Skunk Sprays

Because dogs are naturally curious, and skunks are a common pest, there is no way to guarantee that this will not happen again. However, there are some things you can do to reduce your chance of running into a skunk. Skunks are nocturnal creatures who become more active at dawn and dusk. Try to keep your dog indoors during those times.

If you usually let your dog out in your yard rather than taking them for a walk around the neighborhood, take measures to make it less appealing to skunks. Don’t leave food or garbage accessible, and block access to your porch or shed so they don’t get too comfortable there.

Because skunks spray, you should be ready to deal with it. Keep the items listed above on hand or, even better, stock up on them. You can always have a bottle of commercial grade odor eliminator on hand as well.


No one likes to deal with a skunk spraying their dog. However, by following the steps above, you can get rid of the smell quickly and efficiently. Be sure to take precautions in the future to avoid this problem.

What to do when your dog gets sprayed by a skunk:

If your dog has been sprayed by a skunk, there are some things you can do to remove the odor.

  • Mix together hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and liquid dish soap.
  • Wash your dog with the solution and let it sit for three to five minutes.
  • Rinse your dog off thoroughly.

You may need to repeat this process a few times to remove the smell completely. Additionally, you can try washing your dog with their normal shampoo and letting them air dry.

If you have any skunk odor on your clothing, try washing it with laundry detergent and baking soda. Be sure to keep an eye on your dog over the next few days in case they experience any skin irritation or other medical problems.

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