A dog being bathed outdoors

You’re out hiking or camping with your fur friend when all of a sudden, you hear a yelp as your dog comes running back to you with that unmistakable scent all over their body… 

Being sprayed by a skunk is a common theme for those who live or spend time in forested and natural areas with their four-legged pals. “My dog got sprayed by a skunk!” is a scenario we often hear from concerned pet owners.

The team at BEEVET Animal Hospital is here to explain what you should do to rid your pet of this awful odor. Read on to learn more. 

The Skunk’s Scent

Skunks are typically avoidant creatures when it comes to pets and people. However, a curious canine has no problem trying to investigate everything, including skunks. Skunks spray out of fear or being startled. The odor is a defensive strategy that signals to predators not to bother with these stinky little foes. 

Your dog is not clued into this. 

How to Deskunk Your Dog

Your first inclination is probably to dunk your dog in the bathtub, but this is a definite no-no. Walking your skunked dog through the home will leave traces of the skunk oils in carpet, curtains, upholstery, and so on, and will be incredibly hard to get rid of.

Instead of this, follow these steps:

  1. Leave your dog in a secure area outside. 
  2. Gather old towels, an old robe or shirt, and gloves for your use.
  3. Get your shampoo supplies, which may include over the counter deskunking shampoos or a homemade concoction using 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda, and a teaspoon of degreasing dishwasher soap. 
  4. Do not rinse your pet prior to pouring the concoction over them. Leave the soap on for 5 to 10 minutes. 
  5. Rinse your pet thoroughly and repeat until the odor is gone.
  6. Dry your pet with old towels.

It’s a stressful time, after your pet has been sprayed by a skunk, so it’s a good idea to reward your pet with something enjoyable after the experience. Try spending the afternoon playing a game, walking, or giving them some treats for their daunting experience (and reward yourself, too, for the trouble).

We Don’t Want to Do THAT Again

Obviously, hindsight is always 20/20, but there are some ways you can prevent another skunking episode. 

  • When camping, use a long tie-out for your pet instead of letting them wander.
  • Keep your dog on a leash when out hiking in natural areas.
  • Keep trash bins covered or in the garage to prevent attracting wildlife to the yard.
  • Cut long weeds and overgrown areas where wildlife hide.
  • Make sure your pet understands basic commands and responds to them before letting them off leash.

For more information on what to do if your dog got sprayed by a skunk, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us