How To Stop The Stink If Your Dog Gets Sprayed By A Skunk

I wish I didn't have personal experience with de-skunking, but alas, I do. A few weeks ago, my dog was sprayed in the neck by a skunk, and let me tell you - the stench is serious.

My dog obviously loving one of her many de-skunking baths.JILL LAYTON

My dog obviously loving one of her many de-skunking baths. | JILL LAYTON

We've all smelled the spray from a skunk, but when it's up close and personal and basically IN YOUR HOUSE, well that's a whole other level of stink. So because I care about you and your olfactory glands, and don't want you to waste any important seconds searching for the right remedy, I've compiled the most efficient steps to take if your pet gets sprayed.

The de-skunking steps come from the Humane Society of the United States and actually work, unlike the tomato juice urban legend (which might work a little, but not enough ... plus it's gross and leaves your pet smelling like tomato juice).

1. Leave your pet outside.

Not forever. Just while you get everything together so she doesn't bring the odor inside. Trust me. I made that mistake.

2. Mix the ingredients.

  • 1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide (available at any pharmacy)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap (preferably Dawn)

Apply the solution immediately after the animal is sprayed. Wear rubber gloves (another step I failed to take!). Be very careful not to get the solution in her eyes. Don't store the solution ahead of time - it could explode if left in a bottle. And if you don't have peroxide, baking soda and liquid soap on hand, use vinegar diluted with water (but definitely get to the store ASAP to get the correct ingredients).

3. Clean and rinse.

Rub the mixture through her fur (before you wet her), but don't leave it on too long (peroxide can bleach fur). Rinse thoroughly.

4. Shampoo.

Next, wash your dog with pet shampoo and rinse thoroughly. By now, she should be de-skunked and really tired of being washed.

If you happen to get skunk oil on your clothes, wash them with regular laundry detergent mixed with a half cup of baking soda.

So there you have it! Of course the best way to get the skunk out is to not get sprayed at all (which of course is way easier said than done). Skunks are nocturnal, so keep a tight leash and a close eye on your pets if they need to go out at night. And remember, if your pet does get sprayed, it's totally normal to continue to smell whiffs of skunk for weeks (and maybe months) after - even if you follow all the steps. It's a skunky world out there - we're just living in it.