Dog Sprayed By a Skunk? Here’s How to Get Skunk Smell Off Your Dog

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By Pet Expert Team
Updated: 6/3/20242-4 minutes
Dark-colored Shih Tzu dog taking a bath

It happened. Your dog was sprayed by a skunk. Your first reaction might be whether your dog is in any sort of pain or discomfort. The next problem you wrestle with is how to get rid of the skunk smell on your dog. This article provides helpful information to deal with unwanted skunk spray on your dog.

What is Skunk Spray?

First, you may be wondering, What is Skunk Spray? Skunks are typically docile creatures, but they possess a secret weapon – two anal glands located underneath their tails that spray an organic compound called a thiol. If they’re approached by a human or animal that triggers their discomfort, they may hiss or stomp as a warning. But if the warning isn’t heeded, they can release the thiol with an impressive aim that can shoot as far as 15 feet. With this precision, it’s no wonder you often hear of cases where a dog was sprayed in the eyes by a skunk.

Why Do Dogs Get Sprayed By Skunks?

We’ve all heard stories about how a dog gets sprayed by a skunk in the face. Dogs are curious animals that often explore the world with their nose to the ground. Unfortunately, if they stick their nose in the wrong places, they could encounter a not-so-friendly animal like a skunk. A dog will likely get sprayed by a skunk if the skunk feels threatened. While skunks usually display warning signs to back away, a dog may still press on, and a skunk won’t hesitate to spray as a way to defend itself.

Side Effects of a Dog Getting Sprayed By a Skunk

If a skunk sprayed your dog, severe irritation can occur. Depending on where your dog was sprayed, they might experience a burning sensation. This often happens if a dog is sprayed in the eyes. In severe cases, they can develop superficial ulcerations and even temporary blindness. In instances when a dog was sprayed in the mouth by a skunk, the dog’s mouth could develop mouth ulcers. Very rarely, a severe case can occur where the skunk spray affects a dog’s hemoglobin which can cause a type of anemia.

You may also be wondering, Can skunk spray kill a dog? While getting sprayed by a skunk can be an extremely unpleasant experience, there have been no cases of death caused by skunk spray. Regardless of how or where your dog gets sprayed, remember that if your dog is sprayed by a skunk, side effects will occur but will eventually subside.

What to Do if Your Dog Gets Sprayed By a Skunk

If you want to know what to do if your dog gets sprayed by a skunk, the first piece of advice is not to panic. It’s not uncommon for dogs to get sprayed by skunks, but be ready to take the following steps.

1. Keep Your Dog Outdoors

Your first inclination might be to bring your pet indoors to escape the threat of a skunk respraying. However, it’s best to stay outside to avoid a situation where you might find yourself saying, “my dog got skunked and the house smells”. The stench from a skunk spray is powerful enough to carry throughout your home, so keep your dog outside until you can properly clean them.

2. Check Their Eyes

The next thing to do when your dog gets sprayed by a skunk is to check their eyes. If they were sprayed in the face, their eyes may become red or irritated. Flush them out with water or eye drops to provide some relief. Don’t hesitate to contact your vet if you feel concerned about the irritation in their eyes.

3. Rinse Their Mouth

The skunk may have also sprayed into your dog’s mouth. To remove this unpleasant smell and taste, thoroughly rinse your dog’s mouth with water. 

4. Look for Wounds

Also check for any bites or wounds on your dog’s body. If a rabid skunk were to bite your dog, this would be a cause for concern as the rabies virus can be transmitted this way. Contact your vet immediately if you do find any wounds or bites. 

5. Focus on How to Get the Skunk Smell Off Your Dog

Once you’ve ruled out any major concerns, focus on how to get rid of the skunk smell on your dog. Continue reading for step-by-step instructions on how to remove the stench.

How to Get Skunk Smell Off Your Dog

Your dog was sprayed by a skunk. Home remedy solutions are available to combat the smell.

Search online, and you’ll find there are many products you can buy that are commonly referred to as a skunk shampoo for dogs or a skunk bath for dogs. But if your dog was sprayed by a skunk, home remedy solutions are also an option.

Whether you decide to purchase a skunk bath off the shelf or make a DIY solution at home, be sure to not get any of these cleaners in your dog’s eyes or ears. If they happen to make contact with the eyes or ears, immediately flush them out with water and contact your vet.

The following steps guide you through a homemade solution that you can apply to remove the skunk smell from your dog.

Step 1: Gather the following ingredients.

  • 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide 
  • ¼ cup baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon liquid soap

Step 2: Mix the ingredients together.

Step 3: Carefully apply the mixture immediately while it’s still bubbling. Let it sit on your dog for no longer than a few minutes. Note that the mixture can discolor fabric and temporarily discolor dark-colored fur, so again, use it with care.

Step 4: Rinse thoroughly.

Step 5: While this step is optional, fully bathing and conditioning your dog is a good way to give a thorough cleaning to remove the skunk smell on your dog.

You may have heard that when a dog is sprayed by a skunk, white vinegar solution can be applied. This is another home remedy option. Use the same steps outlined above, but gather equal parts white vinegar and water in place of the hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and liquid soap. 

How Do You Get Skunk Smell Off a Dog’s Face?

You can follow the same steps for DIY solutions outlined above. When applying to your dog’s face, be sure to avoid their eyes and ears. Getting these ingredients into these areas can create another issue on top of the skunk smell you’re already experiencing. If their eyes and ears do come in contact with these mixtures, call your veterinarian.

For more expert tips on grooming your dog, explore our other dog routine care articles

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