It’s after dark and you’ve let your dog out for their bedtime bathroom break. It’s a lovely night and you’re enjoying the spring time air when suddenly your dog starts frantically barking and runs off. Then the smell hits you, that wonderful aroma that can only signal one thing: your dog has been skunked! 

If you’ve never dealt with a skunked dog before, it can be very easy to panic. The gut reaction would be to immediately hose them down with water to remove the offending odor. PLEASE DON’T DO THAT! 

Skunks actually spray an oil (anal gland fluid to be exact) which, once it comes in contact with water, can actually make the smell worse. You might also feel the urge to run to your cupboards for a jar of tomato juice. This old wives tale doesn’t work either and you would more than likely end up with a dog smelling like a very sulphury tomato. 

My number one piece of advice is to always make sure you have some Skout’s Honor Skunk Odor Eliminator on hand because it never fails that this happens in the middle of the night! 

But if you find yourself in this predicament with no Skout’s Honor on hand, there is a very easy skunk deodorizer remedy that you can make at home.

Here’s what you need: 

  • 1 quart hydrogen peroxide (the 3% formula you can find at most drug stores)
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 1-2 teaspoons of dishwashing soap (like Dawn). 

Mix all of these ingredients together in a large bowl or bucket. You may need to double the recipe if you have a large breed dog. To keep the smell from transferring to your hands, you may want to wear dishwashing gloves. Apply the mixture to your dry dog making sure to work it deep into their coat. If you need to wash their face, make sure to avoid the eyes as the solution can sting and irritate them; a washcloth or sponge can be handy in this situation. Leave the solution on your dog for at least 5 minutes (longer if there is still a strong odor after the 5 minutes is up). Rinse the solution off completely with lukewarm water. You may need to rinse and repeat 2-3 times to get out a majority of the smell. 

This solution can also be used to wash other items that may have been skunked (like your dog’s collar) but be advised it may have a slight bleaching effect on darker colored materials (you might even find if your dog’s coat is dark that they look a little lighter after being bathed). Once you are finished with the solution, rinse it down the drain with water. Do not keep the solution in a sealed container as the pressure from the chemical reaction will build and cause the container to explode. 

If your dog gets skunked in the face, you might also find that their eyes are irritated and watery. Skunk spray can cause a similar reaction like that of tear gas. The irritation should stop on its own but you can flush your dog’s eyes with sterile saline eye wash (not contact solution). If the irritation persists, contact your dog’s veterinarian. Also check your dog over for any wounds. A skunk’s first line of defense is to spray, but they will fight if provoked. Again, contact your veterinarian if you discover any bite marks or other wounds.

Hopefully these tips will help you if your dog ever gets skunked. Just as a reminder, we do have a skunked dog policy in our self serve dog washes. We ask that you wash your dog at home at least once before coming in and they also need to pass a “sniff” test. This helps to ensure a pleasant environment for all Loyal Biscuit Co. customers.

Sources: “How to Remove the Skunk Smell from Dogs” [], “Ask a Vet: What Can I Do if my Dog get Sprayed by a Skunk?” []. 

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