September 22, 2023

What do we know about skunks?  They are small animals with distinctive black and white fur. Skunks are primarily nocturnal animals, meaning they are most active during the night. They have excellent hearing and a well-developed sense of smell, which helps them find food in the dark.

Never expected it to happen, but it did! Early one morning our Vizsla, Scarlett, went out for her morning tour of the property and discovered a skunk on the property.  Being a retriever, she hauls out to chase off the intruder.  This was her first encounter with a skunk and her first mistake.  The skunk, true to nature, turned and released a noxious weapon.  Too late for Scarlett to avoid getting sprayed.

As a result, the skunk was gone, but the Vizsla wanted back inside.  As you can see from the photo, she was not going inside without a bath (or two!)

Removing skunk smell from a dog can be a challenging task, but it’s possible with some patience and the right techniques. Skunk spray contains sulfur compounds that create the unpleasant odor, so you’ll need to break down these compounds and neutralize the smell. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Act Quickly: The sooner you begin treating your dog, the better chance you have of removing the skunk smell before it becomes deeply ingrained.

Isolate Your Dog: Keep your dog outside to prevent the smell from spreading throughout your home.

Wear Protective Gear: It’s a good idea to wear gloves and old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, as the skunk odor can transfer to you.

Dry Your Dog: If your dog’s fur is wet from the skunk spray, gently towel-dry them to remove as much of the spray as possible.

Create a De-Skunking Solution: Mix the following ingredients in a large bowl or bucket, I used a wheelbarrow!

1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1-2 teaspoons liquid dish soap (Dawn works well)
Use this mixture immediately after mixing because it can lose effectiveness over time.

Apply the Solution: Put on your gloves and work the mixture into your dog’s fur, avoiding their eyes, ears, and mouth. Leave the solution on your dog for about 5-10 minutes.

Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse your dog’s fur with water, ensuring you remove all of the de-skunking solution.

Shampoo and Repeat: After rinsing, Shampoo your dog with a dog-specific, odor-neutralizing Shampoo. Rinse thoroughly again.

Dry Your Dog: Towel-dry your dog or use a hair dryer on a low setting.

Inspect for Lingering Odor: If the smell lingers, you may need to repeat the de-skunking process. Sometimes, multiple treatments are necessary.

Prevent Future Encounters: Take steps to prevent your dog from encountering skunks in the future. Keep your dog on a leash during walks, secure trash cans, and avoid letting your dog roam at night when skunks are more active.

If the skunk smell persists despite multiple attempts to remove it, or if your dog shows signs of irritation or discomfort, consult your veterinarian for further advice. In some cases, professional grooming may be necessary. Additionally, never use tomato juice as it’s not an effective method for removing skunk odor, and it can stain your dog’s fur.

DID YOU KNOW? That peroxide will bleach pet hair the same as human hair?  Just so you aren’t surprised if your black coated dog turns reddish!