Skunks release a strong, unpleasant odor when frightened or agitated, according to North Carolina State University. The odor comes from an oily fluid comprised of sulfur and alcohol from glands near the skunk's anus. Skunks often spray dogs, especially curious ones, when they get too close as a warning to back off and leave them alone. Unfortunately for dog owners, skunk smell is extremely strong and lingers for days if untreated. Some home remedies can help remove the odor from your dog's coat, providing much-needed relief for your nose.
Tomato juice is an old remedy for removing skunk odor from dogs. While it does not actually remove the odor from the dog's coat, it replaces the strong skunk scent in the human's nose, bringing short-term relief. According to North Carolina State University, this process is called olfactory fatigue, and while people exposed to the dog's skunk odor for a while will think the odor has gone, anyone who was not around the dog before the tomato juice bath will still smell the skunk odor.
Hydrogen Peroxide Mixture
A successful way to remove skunk odor from dogs involves mixing 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 tsp. of liquid soap or dish detergent. Applied to a wet dog like a shampoo and left to work for three to four minutes, the ingredients work to neutralize and remove, rather than mask, the odor. This mixture is unstable and veterinarians at Pet Education recommend discarding any leftovers. You might need to repeat the process two or three times to completely remove the skunk odor from the dog's coat. Avoid contact with the eyes.
An alternate home remedy for removing skunk odor from dogs consists of 1/3 part white vinegar mixed with 2/3 parts water, according to Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. Rinse the dog with the vinegar-water mixture, rubbing it into the dog's coat thoroughly. Wear gloves to avoid contact with the skunk oil that carries the odor. Wash the dog outside if possible to prevent the odor reaching the inside of your house. Rinse the dog with warm water and reapply the vinegar solution until the odor is practically gone. Some smell might remain for a couple of days after the bath.
- Photo Credit dog image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com