The offensive skunk smell is legendary. Blinding, headache-inducing, with a lingering effect that can last for weeks, the notorious skunk spray is respected – and avoided – by predators throughout the wild kingdom. With pinpoint accuracy up to 20 feet, the cat-sized omnivore shoots their adversary with its last best defense from two tiny, nipple-like structures attached to the anal glands.
The crippling odor is caused by thiol, a compound containing loads of sulfur, producing the gag-inducing rotten-egg smell. These organic compounds also make skunk spray linger and incredibly difficult to remove.
Before I share my special recipes to get rid of skunk smell from your dog, I have to caution you that they seem to work in direct proportion to the amount of skunk squirt the dog or person has on them. The more spray, the more lingering stench. Mother Nature is a…switch you need to turn off sometimes.
Classic De-skunking Treatment – Peroxide Solution
This is the treatment I typically recommend. There are commercial products available, but I’ve personally had the best results with this concoction.
- 1 quart of 3% Hydrogen peroxide
- 1/4 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
- 1 teaspoon liquid soap (I prefer Dawn)
Mix ingredients together and apply all over the dog. Be sure to protect their eyes and don’t allow your dog to lick. After bathing in the mixture, rinse liberally with fresh water or bathe with dog shampoo and then rinse. Repeat if needed (you probably will).
Alternative De-skunking Treatment – Vinegar and Water Solution
I’ve only used this a couple of times and had mixed results. Some veterinarians swear by it, so try it if the Classic Treatment doesn’t work.
- Dawn liquid soap
- Massengill® Vinegar & Water douche
Bathe dog with a mixture of Dawn and water. Rinse well, then apply douche over dog’s body (be sure to protect their eyes). Do not rinse, and let air dry.
Whatever treatment you choose, be sure to protect your dog’s sensitive areas and eyes and don’t allow them to lick any of the solutions. Rinse well with fresh water and then rinse some more. As I mentioned, some cases can be frustrating. If a skunk dumps their entire chemical arsenal on your dog, you’re in for a prolonged battle. A brief burst of spray is typical and the hydrogen peroxide treatment seems to work pretty consistently. There are plenty of home remedies such as tomato paste (or juice) or beer that simply don’t work. There are also tweaks to my peroxide recipe that you can try.
Keep in mind if your dog gets sprayed in the eyes, serious injury can result. If your dog is holding their eyes shut or constantly squinting, or if you notice redness or swelling for more than 24 hours, see your veterinarian. Only try to get the stink off, first. Your vet will thank you.