How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell in Dogs

As a pet parent, dealing with the skunk smell in dogs can be a challenging and unpleasant experience.

Not only does the smell permeate your home, but it can also cause discomfort and irritation for your furry friend.

This comprehensive guide will provide essential information on removing the skunk smell from your dog, with everything from home remedies to dog skunk baths and natural skunk odor removal methods.

Additionally, we will discuss preventative measures to avoid future encounters with skunks. 

Ready to roll?

Understanding Skunk Spray: What is it, and why does it smell so bad?

Skunks are notorious for their potent, foul-smelling spray, which they use as a defensive mechanism against perceived threats.

The skunk’s anal glands produce the spray, containing sulfur-based compounds known as thiols.

These thiols are responsible for the pungent odor associated with skunk spray.

A skunk’s spray can reach as far as 15 feet and is particularly unpleasant when it comes into contact with your dog’s fur.

The Impact of Skunk Spray on Dogs

While the skunk smell in dogs is unpleasant for humans, it can also cause significant discomfort and even temporary blindness in dogs if it gets into their eyes.

If the spray enters your dog’s mouth, it can lead to nausea, vomiting, and even severe anemia.

Therefore, it’s crucial to act promptly and effectively to remove the skunk smell from your dog and alleviate any discomfort.

What to Do Immediately After a Skunk Encounter

When your dog gets sprayed by a skunk, your immediate actions can greatly determine how quickly and effectively you’ll be able to get rid of the skunk smell.

Let’s discuss the steps you need to follow immediately after your dog has been sprayed:

Step One: Prevent the spread of the odor.

The first step is to prevent the spread of the skunk smell as much as possible.

Keep your dog outside or in a well-ventilated area to avoid the smell spreading indoors.

If you need to transport your dog, try to do so in a way that minimizes the spread of the smell, such as using a pet carrier or a car with open windows.

Step Two: Put on old work clothing for protection.

Before you start the cleaning process, make sure to protect yourself. You don’t want to end up smelling like a skunk too!

Wear old clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, and wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.

Eye protection may also be necessary, especially if your dog will likely shake off the solution during the bath.

Step Three: Check your dog’s eyes and mouth.

Skunk spray can irritate your dog’s eyes and mouth.

If your dog’s eyes are red, swollen, watering, or showing signs of distress, you should immediately rinse them with cool water or a plain saline solution.

Contact a veterinarian for advice if the spray has entered your dog’s mouth.

Methods to Get Rid of Skunk Smell on Dogs

Once you’ve taken the initial steps, it’s time to get down to business and remove the skunk smell from your dog.

You can use several methods, and what works best may depend on your specific circumstances and what materials you have on hand.

DIY Skunk Odor Removal Solution

The most effective way to eliminate the skunk smell on dogs is using a DIY solution made from hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap.

This homemade solution works because the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda break down the thiols in the skunk spray, while the dish soap removes the oily residue.


  • 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup of baking soda
  • 1-2 teaspoons of mild dish detergent

How it’s Done

  1. Mix the ingredients in a large container.
  2. Apply the solution immediately to your dog’s fur, avoiding the eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Work the solution into the fur and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse your dog thoroughly with water.
  5. Repeat the process if necessary.
  6. Follow up with a dog-friendly shampoo to remove any residual solution and leave your dog smelling fresh.

Note: It’s essential to use the solution immediately after mixing and not to store it for future use, as it can explode if kept in a closed container.

Tomato Juice

While it’s a common myth that tomato juice can remove the skunk smell from dogs, it’s not entirely effective.

Tomato juice or sauce can mask the smell temporarily, but it doesn’t break down the thiols or remove the oily residue from the skunk spray.

If you don’t have the necessary ingredients for the DIY solution, this method can serve as a temporary measure until you can properly de-skunk your dog.

Commercial De-Skunking Products

    Many commercial products on the market are specifically designed to remove skunk odor from dogs.

    These products, available as shampoos, sprays, or soakers, can be a convenient and effective solution, especially if you live where skunks are common.

    Natural Remedies for Skunk Smell on Dogs

    If you prefer a more natural approach or don’t have access to commercial de-skunking products, several natural remedies can help remove the skunk smell from your dog.

    Vinegar and Water Solution

    If you don’t have baking soda and hydrogen peroxide on hand, a solution of vinegar and water can be a decent alternative.

    While not as effective as the DIY solution, the vinegar’s acidity can help neutralize the skunk smell and clean some of the skunk oil off your dog.

    Baking Soda Paste

    You could use baking soda paste if the skunk sprayed your dog’s face.

    Mix one part baking soda with three parts water and apply it to your dog’s face, avoiding the eyes, nose, and mouth.

    Let it sit for 3-4 minutes, then rinse or shampoo it.

    Apple Cider Vinegar

    Apple cider vinegar is another natural remedy that can help to neutralize the skunk smell.

    Mix two parts of water with one part of apple cider vinegar and wash your dog with the solution.

      Post-De-Skunking Steps: Drying and Rewarding Your Dog

      After successfully removing the skunk smell from your dog, it’s important to dry your dog thoroughly before letting them back inside the house.

      They might spread the skunk smell around if their fur is still wet.

      Towel-Dry Your Dog

      Use an absorbent towel to dry your dog. Make sure to get them as dry as possible to avoid any residual smell from spreading.

        Reward Your Dog

        Going through a skunk spray incident and subsequent bath can be stressful for your dog.

        After the bath, reward your dog with some treats.

        This will calm them down and help them associate the bathing experience with positive outcomes.

        Cleaning Your House: Dealing with Skunk Smell Indoors

        If the skunk smell has made its way into your home, you can get rid of it in a few natural ways.

        Use Vinegar

        Vinegar is a great natural deodorizer. You can boil vinegar in a pan to help clear the smell or set open vinegar containers around the house to absorb the odor. Just place the containers in spots where kids or pets won’t knock them over.

        Wash Your Clothes

          If you got skunk spray on your clothes while bathing your dog, wash them in regular laundry detergent boosted by 1/2 cup of baking soda. This will help to remove the smell from your clothes.

          Prevention: How to Avoid Future Skunk Encounters

          Now that you know how to deal with skunk smell in dogs, it’s time to look at how to prevent future encounters with skunks.

          Here are some tips:

          Keep Your Yard Clean

          Skunks are attracted to food sources, so keep your yard clean. Empty the trash regularly, keep the lids on trash cans tightly, and pick up any fallen fruit from fruit trees in your yard.

          Illuminate Your Yard

          Skunks are nocturnal animals and prefer dark, quiet spaces. Installing motion-activated lights or keeping your yard lit throughout the night can deter skunks from entering your property.

          Keep Your Dog on a Leash

          Keep your dog on a leash if you’re out for a walk during dawn or dusk or in an area known for skunks. This will help to prevent any unwanted encounters with skunks.

          Train Your Dog

          Teaching your dog to stay away from skunks can be helpful. Use commands like “leave it” or “come” to prevent your dog from approaching skunks.

          When to Seek Professional Help

          In most cases, the methods outlined in this guide should be enough to remove the skunk smell from your dog effectively.

          However, if your dog has been sprayed in the face or shows signs of discomfort or illness after being sprayed by a skunk, it’s essential to seek immediate veterinary attention.

          Wrapping Up

          Dealing with skunk smell in dogs can be challenging, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can effectively remove the smell and prevent future encounters.

          Remember, the key is to act quickly and use the right methods to de-skunk your dog.

          With these tips and tricks in your arsenal, you’ll be well-equipped to handle any encounters with skunks your dog may have in the future!

          DIY Spotlight