Your dog got sprayed by a skunk! They probably don’t smell very pleasant. So, what do you do now?
A quick note before we get started! Try to keep your dog outside if you can! If you let them inside the smell will transfer all over your house and be a lot more challenging to get rid of.
Dogs and Skunks
Dogs and skunks have a long history of interactions. A lot of dogs love chasing anything they find running around in their yard.
Skunks on the other hand, don’t usually like being chased and will shoot of a stream of extremely smelly liquid to deter anything from chasing them.
This leads to a lot of cases of dogs getting skunked, if you’re reading this, your dog may just be the most recent. So, what do you do to get rid of that smell?
The first thing you will likely want to do is bath your dog. Deskunking baths are a little different than a usual bath. In a usual bath you might wet your dog’s coat before putting on the shampoo. DO NOT WET YOUR PET’S FUR BEFORE PUTTING ON THE SKUNK SHAMPOO! Getting skunked fur wet helps to seal the smell into their fur and makes it much harder to get out.
As we mentioned in our warning at the start of the article, you should ideally keep your dog outside to prevent them from getting the skunky scent all over your house. If they are already outside, the best place to bath your dog is at your hose! If your hose is inaccessible (or maybe you don’t have one) you can always fill some buckets with water to rinse your dog off.
You’ll want to use some sort of skunk shampoo to help remove the scent. There are numerous commercial skunk shampoos available online or at the pet store to use, but there are also several mixtures you can make at home that have similar efficacy to the commercial products.
Skunk shampoos are usually best put on your dog’s fur BEFORE you get your dog wet. That way you can scrub it in to get at the scent directly before you get everything wet and spread the scent around more. Check your specific shampoo’s directions to see what the manufacturer recommends.
To help make sure you don’t get too skunky yourself, it is advisable that you wear rubber gloves while washing your skunked dog. Once you finish using the skunk shampoo, your dog should smell better than before. If not, you can do another quick wash with the skunk shampoo. When your dog seems to be free of the skunk smell, you can wash your dog off with a regular pet shampoo so that they get nice and clean.
NOT What about a home made shampoo?
The Humane Society has an article on their website that has a recipe for a quick home made skunk shampoo to use in a pinch. Check out their article for the recipe and instructions on how to use it!
Post Bathing Tips
Here are some other things you should make sure to do after you have taken care of bathing your dog to remove the skunk scent from them.
Clean your clothes
Odds are that unless your dog has the patience of a saint and the stillness of a statue you got a bit wet while giving them a bath. We would highly reccomend that you change clothes and wash the ones you were wearing while bathing your dog as some of the smell might have transfered onto you while cleaning up your dog. (You may even consider taking a quick shower yourself if the smell on you persists after changing!)
Clean your dog's collar
If your dog normally wears a collar, it can be very easy in the rush to deskunk your dog to take off the collar for the bath and forget about it until later. If your dog was wearing their collar at the time they got skunked or even if it got put on before they got cleaned up, you should make sure to wash and clean up the collar. Collars can hold the skunk smell for a super long time if they aren’t washed and cleaned right away and then the smell can even get back onto your dog if they are wearing a dirty collar.
Wash your dog's bedding
If your dog managed to get inside while still smelly, they may run right for their bed and get that all stinky too! If that happens it would most likely be very apparent that you need to get it washed. However, even if you wash your dog outside and they don’t make it inside, it is a good idea to wash their bedding a couple times several days after the skunking incident. Some of the skunk smell may still be slightly present on your dog after a full bath and then get onto their bedding later.
Use odor eliminating products if needed
If despite your best efforts the skunky smells won’t go away you may want to consider using odor eliminating products. There are some products such as Kennel Odor Eliminator (KOE) that you can purchase to help get rid of smells. KOE can be used when washing your laundry to get rid of the smell and it can even be watered down and used in a spray bottle to spray just like any other odor eliminating products or air fresheners. Don’t forget to spray the incident site if your dog was skunked at home or your car if you brought them home after being skunked.
As with using any chemicals, make sure you read the directions and warnings carefully and follow their instructions before use.
At this point the skunk smell should be mostly, if not all, gone! The smell may linger for a few days and even pop back up stronger if your dog gets wet again. But never fear! At this point you are equiped with all the tips and tricks you need to get rid of the smell once and for all!
Just reuse and redo the steps up above as needed to keep the smell at bay. So long as you keep up with the smell, it should go fully away fairly quick!
Some more tips for dog owners
You’ve probably heard someone say “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” before. But is that actually true? Check out our blog post all about old dogs and new tricks to find out!