How to Care for a Skunk Sprayed Dog

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Wash skunk sprayed dogs outdoors to prevent transferring odors to your house.
Wash skunk sprayed dogs outdoors to prevent transferring odors to your house. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

The smell of skunk spray is unmistakable and must be removed from your dog as soon as possible by neutralizing the odor. The yellow tinted, oily musk contains six sulfur products that make it smell awful and can last several weeks.

Check Your Dog

As soon as you discover your dog is a victim of skunk spray, do not allow him inside your home to spread the offensive odor onto your floors and furniture. Look closely at your pet to make sure he wasn't attacked and isn't bleeding. If you see any area of blood on him, take him to your veterinarian immediately, because skunks can be rabid or carry diseases.

If your dog is having breathing difficulties, rush him to your veterinarian for treatment.

Skunks normally spray dogs in and around the face. If your dog's eyes are red, swollen or irritated flush them with water to reduce and remove the irritant.

Deskunking Solution

Mix together 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands from skunk spray. Wash your dog in this solution, rubbing it through all of his fur and down to his skin.

Wash around his eyes and on his face with a sponge dampened in the solution, being careful not to get it in his eyes. Allow the solution to remain on your pet for about 10 minutes. Rinse your dog thoroughly with water, then bathe him with his normal shampoo and rinse him well. Dry your dog with a towel and allow him to lie in a warm room to finish drying.

Neutralizing the Odor

The peroxide/baking soda recipe neutralizes the skunk spray by breaking down the oils it contains. It changes the changes the chemical structure so the skunk musk no longer smells. Dish detergent breaks down oil so it can be washed off your dog. Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda results in a bubbling substance that oxidizes the skunk spray.

The old wives tale of using tomato juice does not neutralize the odor effectively but temporarily masks it. This method also can turn light-colored dogs a pretty shade of pink.

Skunk Spray Tips

Wash your dog as soon as possible; the longer the oils remain on him, the harder it is to neutralize the odor. Doubling the recipe may be necessary for large dogs to gain complete coverage of the body with the solution. Any unused deskunking solution needs to be discarded due to the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide mixing that can explode in a sealed container. Commercial formulas and professional groomers are other options for making a dog smell sweet again.

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