Skunks only spray when startled or threatened, which is almost every time they encounter a dog. Because our dogs are so curious, they usually get skunked right in the face. When that happens, the last thing you want to do is hose them down. Sounds like nonsense, but there’s a valid reason.
When your dog gets skunked, it’s important to follow a certain procedure if you want a skunk-free dog and a skunk-free life.
What To Do When My Dog Gets Skunked
Keep your dog outside, while you grab a towel, some rubber gloves and maybe a mask. You don’t want your dog inside the house tainting the rugs and furniture. You will have to get up close to de-skunk the silly mutt, so arm yourself! That skunk spray is pungent.
It’s also oil-based, so do not bathe your dog right away. Water and soap alone will only fuse the skunk smell to your pet’s fur.
If you haven’t planned ahead and stocked your doggie cupboard with some skunk odour remover, don’t worry. A simple solution of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap can tackle that pungent skunk smell. Here’s the recipe from the Toronto Wildlife Centre:
- 4 cups 3% hydrogen peroxide
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap
Tomato juice was once thought to be the best home remedy for de-skunking your dog, but its secret lies in the acidity of the beverage, in which case apple cider vinegar should work as well. It just might take a few applications to take effect.
Whatever de-skunking solution you decide to use, the trick to remember is time. The skunk odour remover must remain on the affected spot for at least 10-15 minutes. Also, the solution must be massaged right to the roots of your dog’s fur to make sure you remove all traces of skunk odour.
Some dogs may have skin reactions to these skunk odour remedies so do a test patch first. If you’re using the hydrogen peroxide recipe above, be aware this solution will bleach the colour out of your dog’s fur and might irritate their skin.
If your dog was skunked directly in the face, you may need to flush out his or her eyes. Check with your vet if there’s signs of irritation or swelling.
Also, do not use a spray to apply the skunk odour remover on your dog’s face. Instead, soak a cotton pad in the solution and bathe the area very carefully, making sure you avoid the eyes.
It might take a few applications before your dog is smelling like his old sweet self, but once you’re satisfied with the results, you’re ready to bathe your dog. Check your pet store for dog shampoos specially made to remove skunk odour.
You can repeat this de-skunk procedure a few times, but be careful not to over-do it and dry out your dog’s skin. If you’re not sure, check with your vet.
In the meantime...skunk-proof your yard by removing food, waste and garbage and blocking areas that might encourage them to nest.
Take care when you let your dog out at night, especially at dusk when the evening critters start to stir. Turn on a light to scare off any wildlife and double check just to be sure before you let your dog out. Once you’ve been skunked, you never forget!