I’ve been skunked

By nature, dogs tend to ignore skunk’s warnings.  So it is a good idea to be prepared when a dog’s curiosity gets the better of them.

Please note: this article has been provided for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing any signs of illness, please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

By Laura Pakis, Certified Dog Trainer and Cynologist

Skunks are generally easy-going creatures. In fact, they benefit the community by eating many insects and rodents we regard as pests.  They are nocturnal which means they are active between sunset and sunrise.  They are most known for their spray and its robust smell.

Skunks use their powerful defense only when they or their young are threatened and cannot escape. Even then, they give ample warning that should be heeded — stamping front feet, a raised tail, hissing, short forward charges, and twisting their hind end around in your direction.

By nature, dogs tend to ignore these warnings.  So it is a good idea to be prepared when a dog’s curiosity gets the better of them.

Here are some tips to help you if your dog gets skunked.


If you are wearing clothes that you care about, change and if you have rubber gloves or disposable gloves, now would be the time to put them on.

Skunk Odor Remover

Hopefully, you will have these basic items available in your home.  If not, I suggest that you finish reading this article and then run to your local drug store, purchase them, and have them on hand.

1 quart of hydrogen peroxide

1/4 cup of baking soda

2 Tablespoons of dishwashing detergent or liquid soap

Old towels

AND saline eyewash (to rinse your dog’s eyes)


Next, in a bucket – or soon to be designated container – mix together all of the above ingredients, except the towels and saline.  It will bubble and fizz quite a bit.  Make sure all the baking soda is dissolved.  You’ll have a nice paste-like mixture.  This mixture is not stable so you will want to use this solution immediately.

Aggressively rub the solution into the affected areas, being careful not to get any of the solution into your dog’s eyes, ears, or mouth.  To be safe, cover your whole dog.   Dip a washcloth in the solution and carefully apply the mixture around your dog’s eyes and into its face and ears.

Wait at least 5 minutes for the chemical reaction to occur.  This should break down the skunk oil and suspend it in the mixture.

Rinse your dog with warm water.  Then repeat the process.  Wetness seems to activate the smell, but hopefully not as bad as before.

First aid if sprayed in the eyes

Flush your pet’s eyes profusely with sterile saline (saline eyewash: not for contact lenses, but the solution for use in eyes). Prevent pawing and rubbing of the eyes to reduce the chance of secondary trauma. Follow up with a veterinary exam if your pet doesn’t quickly improve.

Give your dog a bath

You may not want to do this in your home since there will be a residual smell.  We were fortunate to find a groomer who offered self-washing and allowed us to bathe Penny.  Kudos to the DogSpaw in Gahanna, Ohio.  They understood we had taken the immediate steps to remove the smell and now just needed to remove the mixture Penny had on her.

Thoroughly dry your dog.  Again the odor seems to be triggered by wetness so the drier your dog, the less odor you should smell.

Plan on a week or so before the smell dissipates.

Hopefully, your dog will have learned from this escapade and will no longer find skunks of interest.

Read more about skunk odor remover at https://acmecanine.com/skunk-odor-remover-recipe/

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