What To Do When Your Dog Finds a Skunk

Now that the weather is getting nicer and we're spending more time outside, the possibility of our dogs having a run-in with a skunk has raised to 'its definitely going to happen' percent. Dogs are naturally curious animals, and skunks live just about anywhere -- in the country, and the city -- and at least one dog in your life will get sprayed. Consider it a right of passage (for you...not them).

So what should you do if (or when) it happens? 

Whatever you do, don't spray your dog with water after he's been skunked. The oil will repel the water and become more pungent once wet! 

Also, do not bring your dog inside the house if you can help it. As long as the skunk oil remains on your dog's coat, it will stay in the air you breathe. So find a safe place for them to wait outside your living space and begin putting together the proper remedy to remove the oil as soon as possible. 

Now, is it just me, or does ‘getting skunked’ always seem to happen late at night when stores are closed? Skunks are nocturnal, so the odds of your dog getting skunked just as you settle in for the evening is high. That's why I've included a recipe that removes the stinky oils using everyday household items so no matter when it happens, you can take care of it. 

The quicker you can get the dog in the tub, the better the result you’ll have. Simply put, move fast so the oil doesn’t have time to saturate into the hair. Here’s exactly how you formulate the cleaning solution and get them cleaned up: 

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup of baking soda
  • 1-2 teaspoons of mild dishwashing detergent like Ivory Snow or Dawn
  • 1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution

Directions

  • Mix in a bucket and use immediately
  • Work the foaming mixture well into the coat
  • Leave on for five minutes
  • Rinse with warm water
  • Follow with dog shampoo if desired

Here’s what you can expect- the solution could bleach your dog's coat, but the less time it spends on their coat, the less likely that happens. Also, use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution or lower as higher concentrates may burn. 

Begin by removing your dog's collar. The skunk oil will likely be throughout the collar and washing it separately will help you remove the odor entirely. 

Pay special attention to how you handle the solution on your dog's face. It's a potent formula and it's best to use a rag to gently clean their face and all sensitive areas, taking care to protect the mouth and eyes. Just as you do for their entire body, use a new rag to rinse the formula off with lukewarm water and repeat until the smell goes away or is greatly reduced. 

Skunk oil is powerful, but so is this peroxide mixture! It should remove the smell completely but in some cases, you might want to give your dog a follow-up bath a few days later. Because the peroxide mixture releases oxygen after it is combined, make a fresh batch before the follow-up bath so it is effective.

Luckily, getting sprayed isn't dangerous to you or your dog, but it's sure unpleasant. Once your pup has been de-skunked, wash your towels or clothes by using regular laundry detergent with a half-cup of baking soda. 

Be sure to bookmark this post for when the time comes! You never know when it could happen. 

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