Wildlife Informer is reader-supported. When you click and buy we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Get Skunk Smell off of Dogs

Dogs, being naturally instinctive and territorial will always inspect any intruder to their turf. While they will get away with many smaller animals they challenge, one of the mid-sized animals that have proven to be a hard nut to crack for a dog is a skunk.

Although it’s rare for a skunk to cause serious harm to dogs, they often leave a stinking smell on our furry little companion that isn’t easily removed.

This article will guide you through how to get skunk smell off of dogs.

What You Need to Know About Skunks and their Pungent Odor

Skunks are small black and white furry animals that are known to have gotten their name from the word “Mephitidae” which translates to “Stink”.

This is due to their ability to release a liquid with an offensive odor whenever they feel threatened. The yellow oily liquid they release irritates dogs.

In some cases, it may result in temporary blindness. Their spray contains sulfurous chemicals known as thiols or Thioacetates that makes the smell pungent.

The position of their muscles, next to their sweat gland, has made it quite possible for them to shoot at a very high degree; therefore, a dog that is unaware of the impending danger would get a blast in the face.

Skunks are found in abandoned furrows, forest edges, etc. They are nocturnal animals, and thus prefer looking for food whenever humans and other animals are asleep.

What to do if Your Dog Get Sprayed by Skunk

Did your dog just get sprayed by a skunk and you don’t know what to do? Don’t panic and stay calm, you and your dog can get through this.

We will discuss a few techniques to follow to get rid of the smell:

Wash Outdoors

Seeing your dog all wet and smelly may cause you to bring him inside to wash him up.

However, do not let your dog in the house until he is cleaned adequately as the scent may linger and travel throughout your entire home. This may prove challenging getting rid of totally.

Skunk oil and the smell may hang around for months if not correctly removed from your dog’s coat.

First off, keep him outside to assess the situation. Dogs are curious animals and, it’s possible he got sprayed in the eyes.

Check his whole body from head to tail for any injuries or bites as dogs get bitten after being sprayed. Check his eyes for any form of discoloration, if he got sprayed in the eyes,

Wash both eyes with cool water or with eyes solution for dogs. Human eyes drop too can also be used to rid his eyes of harmful substances.

Now when your dog’s face is properly cleaned, you can move to his body.

It depends on how bad your dog got sprayed, but some techniques may need to be repeated.

There are some recommended commercial skunk odor removers you can quickly get online or local pet stores. Here is one popular skunk odor remover on Amazon that is safe for use on dogs.

You may also like:  Bald Eagle Population Estimates (For 49 U.S. States)

In case you can’t get your hands on an industrially-made odor remover like the one above, you can substitute it with some home remedies.

The spray is an oily substance that can easily be attached to anything it comes in contact with. You can try the following steps for getting rid of skunk smell on dogs:

  • Put on a pair of gloves
  • Get a Hydrogen peroxide, Baking Soda, and a washing Soap.
  • Mix 1 quarter of 3 percent of hydrogen peroxide with one-quarter of 4 cups of baking soda and a teaspoon of dishwashing soap. Mix in a large open container. Do not keep the remaining of the mixture, so dispose of after use.
  • Cover the whole body with the mixture, use a washcloth to apply the mixture to his face, avoiding the eyes area as it may irritate. Do not leave for more than 1-5 minutes before washing off with clean water.
  • Use an old towel to dry your pet.

This mixture works by breaking off the oils and removing the skunk smell.

Sometimes your dog may require multiple treatments to get rid of the smell totally.

Take note as hydrogen peroxide tends to bleach your pet’s fur and may be noticeable, especially if they are black.

What neutralizes Skunk smell?

The oils in the skunk smell may be neutralized if the oils are broken down so that they can be easily washed off. The chemical structure of the volatile compounds needs to be changed so that they become a substance that produces little to no odor at all.

Tomato juice is another home remedy that seems to neutralize the odor, although it doesn’t altogether remove the smell like the former, it does help reduce the smell.

An alternative method is to drench your dog with a cup of vanilla extract mixed in a large bowl of water.

Apple cider vinegar also works by mixing two parts of water with one piece of Apple cider vinegar. Drench your dog with the solution and let it stay for 5 minutes, rinse off thoroughly.

How long does Skunk Smell Last on Dogs?

Skunk smell typically takes 2 to 3 weeks to wear totally off of a dog.

However it does depend, some may take weeks while others may take months. If your dog gets mildly sprayed and was attended to immediately, the smell may wear off entirely in a couple of weeks. If the skunk spray gets dried on your pet before washing, it can take months to get it off.

Therefore, the best thing to do when the pet gets skunked is to take care of it immediately.

What to do if Your Dog Get Spayed in the Face

What you need to do at first is to get a rag and clean the face. After this, mix the solution of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and a teaspoon of a dishwasher to clean the face using a rag. If you noticed that the skunk spray has entered the mouth of the dog, visit a veterinary doctor.

Make sure you are wearing thick gloves and do not get the spray on you when treating him. When in doubt, contact a veterinarian. 

You may also like:  Do Mothballs Keep Snakes Away?

Can Skunk Spray hurt a dog?

The latest research has shown that Skunk spray can injure your dog, especially if he got sprayed in the face.

The skunk spray contains a mixture of chemicals containing sulfur, similar to what is in rotten eggs. It may lead to vomiting and diarrhea. In some rare cases, if not addressed quickly, it may lead to skunk toxic shock syndrome which will destroy your pet’s red blood cells.

While these cases are rare, skunk spray can also give dogs a type of anemia called Heinz-body Anemia capable of causing death.

The symptoms include fever, anorexia, pale mucous membrane Reddish-brown urine, but most pet owners are unaware of it as this case is rare.

Most times, when skunks spray dogs, they are often bitten. A small bite from a skunk may lead to an infection and, or even rabies. Make sure your dog is vaccinated against rabies to offer protection.


Skunk spray is nothing to joke with. The effect can last for a long time and jeopardize your dog’s health. We have highlighted some of the best methods of getting skunk smell off. You will get a desirable result if you apply this method as soon as possible.

About Wildlife Informer

WildlifeInformer.com is your #1 source for free information about all types of wildlife and exotic pets. We also share helpful tips and guides on a variety of topics related to animals and nature.