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

Posted by Ingrid Fehr on

Living in the country, we expect to have our pups have a run in with a skunk now and again. Thankfully, this has been a rare occasion! Last week however, we had our sweet Beagle, Buster and our oldest girl, LadyBug the Rat Terrier, get sprayed through our wood privacy fence at four in the morning! Gary was kind enough to let the dogs out, but his sense of smell isn't the keenest, so we had skunk smelling dogs in the house before we could handle the situation. 

(The old wives tale is to use tomato soup, tomato paste or tomato juice. Did you know that method requires your poor pet to 'soak' in it for 30 minutes?! And, it really doesn't work great.)

Here's our take on the easiest, fastest way to handle a skunk incident:

#1- If at all possible, DO NOT LET THE DOG IN THE HOUSE! (Granted at 4 a.m. there wasn't much choice, but it will save a lot of work if you can avoid this)

** Important ** If your dog is sprayed in the eyes, you really need to get outside and flush the eyes before worrying about the smell issue. Please put on gloves before doing anything or you will also smell like skunk. Do not touch your face!!

#2- DO NOT WET THE DOG! Trust us, this is only going to spread the problem and make the odor really tough to get out.

Now, reality for us at 4 a.m., was to leave all the dogs outside- except Buster, who was in prior to knowing the skunk sprayed him- until we were ready to handle the problem. Skunk smell does not come out of rugs, towels or anything that isn't a hard surface. For us, it isn't worth it to try to soak and save collars, throw rugs or anything else that may have the skunk scent on it. So, we tossed everything that possibly could have 'the juice' on it outside, then evaluated it later.

Reminder- Even if your dog doesn't touch anything inside your house, the house is going to smell like skunk... for days... but with a little care, you can help yourself a lot. But it still stinks!

OK, so you've decided the bathroom or laundry room sink is where you want to handle your smelly dog. If you do this outside, make sure to do it in a confined area and not outside your patio door!


  • Get your gloves on and some old clothes you don't mind throwing out.
  • Make sure your throw rugs, shower curtain, linens, or anything else is as far removed as possible.
  • Our suggestion is to keep a 'skunk kit' at the ready, just in case. Now is not the time to scramble for ingredients!
  • Make your skunk odor remover paste: Personally we don't think now is the time for measuring, but   the time for action, so just get your ingredients into a glass bowl or throw away container. Worry less about amount and more about speed. (NOTE: do not make this ahead of time or store the leftover solution, it could explode!)



Skunk Odor Remover Paste Ingredients:
3% Peroxide
Baking Soda
Dawn Dish Soap- the blue colored original kind


  1. In your container, fill it about 1/2 full of peroxide, cover with baking soda and squirt a couple squirts of dish soap (yes, it must be the blue Dawn). Now mix it and make a paste.
  2. If you can see the skunk spray, start there and literally cover your pup (BUT NOT THE FACE OR EYES!) in the paste. You may not need to paste your entire dog, it depends on the spraying. Once your dog is pasted, start adding peroxide to make the paste lather. Keep rubbing and scrubbing. You should notice the smell start to get better, or you're getting used to it at this point. :-) Don't leave it on too long, peroxide and lighten fur or irritate skin if left on too long... Make 100% sure you've got all the skunk spray covered.
  3. ** If your pup was hit in the face, it was important to flush the eyes first and we get that water is involved, but hopefully the his or her face is just a little stinky. For faces, we recommend a solution of 50/50 water and vinegar (plain old white vinegar is fine). Take the solution and with a cloth you can throw out, saturate the cloth in the solution and gently wipe your pups face. Please don't get it in his or her eyes!
  4. At this point, you can rinse your pup with water. Rinse, rinse, rinse! 
  5. Now that your dog is wet, put the rest of the vinegar/water solution all over your dog. Make a little more if you don't have enough to cover all the formerly or at least less smelly spots. Rinse with water.
  6. Take your favorite pet shampoo and lather and rinse your dog. Things should look good by now!
  7. Towel dry your pup and do a sniff test.
  8. This is a must for the spots you accidentally missed or couldn't get to, like parts of the ears or near the mouth. It's an essential oil called "PURIFICATION". You can use the original by a company called Young Living or a brand that is much cheaper is Pure Essential Oil Works. It works the same in this situation! Dilute equal parts of the Purification Essential Oil with a carrier oil, such as almond, or jojoba, but any will do. Take the diluted essential oil and rub into your pets skin/fur where the smell may linger.
  9. Using a fresh towel, rub your dog dry again. Repeat steps 8 & 9 if necessary.


Now for you and the house. If something got 'scented' that you do not want to part with, you can try this (though really we suggest tossing everything in a trash bag and tying it up prior to putting it in your trash can):

In your washing machine (and if doesn't work, you're going to rinse the washing machine several times in hot water and lemon essential oil to get the smell out), add your regular laundry soap, 1 cup of baking soda, 1 cup vinegar and 10 drops purification essential oil and launder as usual.

As for the rest of your house, we recommend for all hard surfaces 50/50 vinegar and water with the purification essential oil. 



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  • You always give great advice. I love my dog and pigs pet feeders. Thanks for caring about your following.

    Lew Wallace on

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