Skunks are docile animals, content to mind their own business. Moreover, they’re extremely nearsighted, their vision sorely impaired. So, when your dog gets blasted by a skunk, it’s likely they scared the creature. Thus, afraid of being hurt, the skunk defended itself by releasing a dreadful stink.
What happens if you don’t “de-skunk” your pet? It can take three weeks for the vile smell to dissipate. A faint odour can linger for up to six weeks. Here’s how to get skunk smell out of a dog.
Traits of Skunk Spray
Whenever a skunk feels threatened, it fires an oily musk from two glands beneath its tail. The odour smells like burning tires mixed with rotten eggs. The yellow mist can leap 5 meters, sticking to whatever crosses its path.
The stench comes from its sulfurous compounds, thiols and thioacetates. I’ll explain their hazards shortly. Here’s how to help your pup recover.
1. Ideally, tend to your dog outside.
If possible, for the entire de-skunking process, keep your dog outdoors. By this, you’ll protect your home from contamination, including your furnishings and household air.
While doctoring your dog, speak to them soothingly. I know it’s not easy when you’re feeling rattled. Still, by staying composed, it will help your dog cooperate.
Before handling your pup, put on latex or rubber gloves. Then, leash your dog to a stationary outdoor object.
What if you don’t have a yard or outdoor space to treat your pup? In that case, tape plastic bags around their feet. Then, with your dog leashed, escort them to your bathtub.
At this point, don’t apply water to your dog! The oily musk will repel the water. Then, thioacetates in the spray will get more potent, smelling even worse.
2. Clean your dog’s eyes.
Dogs commonly get squirted in the face. If this happened to your pup, the musk could be in their eyes, stinging them. Clues are eye tearing and squinting.
The best flushing agent is a veterinary eyewash product such as our dog eye drops. Lacking this, fill a pitcher with warm water, pouring it over your dog’s eyes. In this way, rinse them for five minutes.
Again, try to avoid wetting your dog’s body. Otherwise, the skunk smell will intensify. If water does land on your dog’s fur, blot it with paper towels. When done, discard them. Reusing the towels will spread the musk or drive it deeper into your pup’s coat.
Do your dog’s eyes look normal? Even so, as a precaution, flush them with water or pet eyewash.
Another solution is trying our eye drops for dogs.
3. For other adverse reactions, seek vet treatment.
After the eye cleansing, check your pup for bites, scratches, or other wounds. A skunk can be rabid or otherwise diseased, harmful to both your dog and yourself. So, if your dog has broken skin, rush them to your vet.
Is your dog drooling or vomiting? If so, this means they swallowed the spray. Thiols in the musk can make a dog anemic. Symptoms include brown urine, black stool, and lethargy.
For the above problems and other reactions, consult your vet.
Before entering the animal hospital, call the receptionist. Explain your dog’s symptoms from being skunk sprayed. This way, the technicians can protect the clinic and staff from musk contamination.
4. Prepare to bathe your pup.
If your dog’s health isn’t endangered, you can focus on removing the musk. While stores sell de-skunking pet products, we recommend the following natural remedy. Devised by a chemist, this homemade solvent neutralizes skunk oil and dispels the odour. This solution is widely recommended by dog care websites.
First, collect everything you’ll need for the de-skunking session:
- latex or rubber gloves
- clean, plastic pail
- 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
- baking soda
- mild dish detergent
- washcloth and paper towels
- water pitcher
- kitchen and bath-sized towels
- doggy treats
Only use 3 percent strength hydrogen peroxide, sold by pharmacies and supermarkets. Anything stronger than 3 percent will burn your dog, along with washing soda. However, baking soda is completely safe.
If your dog’s coat isn’t dry, rub a towel over their body. Wet fur makes this remedy less effective, requiring more applications.
5. Proceed with the treatment.
Wearing gloves, fill the pail with one quart hydrogen peroxide, one-quarter cup baking soda, and one teaspoon dish detergent. Mix well until the baking soda dissolves. While the brew is bubbling, massage it through your dog’s coat.
If your dog was sprayed in the face, wet a washcloth with the solution. Then, rub your pup’s face with the cloth, avoiding their ears, mouth, and eyes.
Let their fur soak up the mixture for five minutes. Avoid letting it absorb longer since peroxide can bleach your dog’s fur. If your pup gets restless, soothe them with calming words and petting. Next, using the pitcher, rinse your dog with warm water.
Is your pup still stinky? If so, repeat the neutralizing treatment. Then, blot your dog’s coat with a towel.
NOTE – What if you don’t have hydrogen peroxide on hand? In that case, bathe your dog in vinegar diluted with water. While it’s not very effective at getting skunk smell off a dog, it helps as a temporary measure. Next, at your first opportunity, buy the supplies to make the peroxide solution.
6. Follow-up with using dog shampoo.
This step is important for your dog’s comfort and well-being. Dog shampoo will remove any residual peroxide solution.
Furthermore, a high-quality dog shampoo will hydrate your cutie’s fur and skin. While the peroxide treatment is deodorizing, it strips canine skin of its natural oils. The oils create a vital skin barrier, repelling dirt and germs. Plus, this oily film retains moisture, curbing dryness.
Without these protective oils, your dog is vulnerable to skin infections. Thus, bacteria, viruses, and parasites can fester. Additionally, your dog’s coat and skin become flaky and parched. The itchiness makes your dog scratch its skin, gouging and wounding it. A final bath in dog shampoo helps to restore canine skin oils.
Here’s a third advantage of using dog shampoo. It gives your pet’s coat a lovely scent! Otherwise, they’ll smell of peroxide.
In addition, you could use our dog perfume to help lessen the smell.
7. Reward your cutie for their cooperation.
After bathing your pet in dog shampoo, dry them with a towel. Next, give your pup some treats and praise them lavishly! Then, bring your dog to a warm room to dry completely. Lastly, lead your pup to their bed, where they can sleep off the day’s trauma.
NOTE – Discard any leftover peroxide solution. If you bottle it, the oxygen gas it releases will burst the container.
Pitfalls of Human Shampoos
Avoid using your shampoo to bathe your dog. Human-grade shampoos are risky for canines on several counts.
First, such products remove a dog’s protective skin oils. Secondly, human shampoos complement the acidic nature of our skin. However, dogs have slightly alkaline skin. Our shampoos make canine skin unnaturally acidic. Due to this change in skin pH, your pup can’t recover its moisturizing oils.
These pitfalls aren’t the only hazards for dogs. This article details why you shouldn’t use a human-grade shampoo on your pup.
High-Quality Dog Shampoos
The best dog shampoos restore canine skin to its normal pH. Plus, they have natural moisturizers, fostering the health of your dog’s skin and coat.
Our formulas have these two benefits. Furthermore, they’re free of the soap and other irritating chemicals in conventional dog shampoos.
After a de-skunking treatment, we recommend using either of the following products.
Our all natural dog shampoo cleans your dog with colloidal oatmeal. Your pup’s skin will relish the nourishing coconut, olive, and jojoba oils. Aloe vera untangles pet fur, imparting it with softness and sheen.
Your pup’s eyes and nose will take a liking to this product. Plus, it rinses off easily. The fragrant essential oils leave your dog smelling delightful!
Customers praise this natural dog shampoo for making their pet’s coat silky and shiny.
Like all our shampoos, our baby powder dog shampoo is soothing and tear-free. You’ll appreciate its low-foaming lather, gliding off your dog during rinsing. Lacking harsh soap, it pampers both puppies and mature dogs.
Compared to our 6 in 1 Shampoo, this product is slightly milder with fewer ingredients. Coconut extract lifts off dirt and grime, leaving your dog’s skin clean and moisturized. Vegetable glycerine releases tangles and conditions your dog’s fur.
A blend of floral essential oils confers a baby powder fragrance. After bathing in our baby powder dog shampoo, your pup is irresistibly kissable!
Owners of long-haired dogs love this dual-purpose product. Since it both cleans and de-tangles fur, there’s no need to buy a separate conditioner. Customers especially value the safe, all-natural ingredients.
Let’s say that, after the skunk sprays your dog, they bound over to you for comfort. In your pup’s distress, they throw themselves at you. Ugh! Now you smell terrible, too. Here’s how to remove the stink from your skin, hair, clothes, and indoor air.
Skin and Hair
In your shower, lather your skin with grease-cutting dish detergent or deodorant soap. Shampoo your hair with a product made for oily tresses.
If you’d rather take a bath, fill your tub with hot water and three cups of baking soda. Agitate the water until the baking soda dissolves. Then, soak in your tub for 20 minutes. After draining the tub, take a shower, rinsing off the baking soda residue.
For durable clothes, mix regular laundry detergent with one-half cup baking soda. Then, using hot water, machine-wash your clothes. When done, if they still reek of skunk, repeat the process.
Follow-up with air-drying your clothes. Machine-drying could bake the musk into the fabrics.
For delicate garments, soak them for 30 minutes in laundry soap mixed with a half-cup of baking soda. Repeat as needed, followed by air-drying.
Restoring Indoor Air
It’s vinegar to the rescue! Over a few days, the vinegar will absorb the nasty odour.
Pour a few bottles of vinegar into bowls and cups. Station them in rooms needing a breath of fresh air. Remember to keep the vinegar beyond the reach of your dog, along with any young kids.
In your kitchen, boil a cupful of vinegar in a pot, repeating as needed.
Avoiding More Episodes
Discourage Skunk Visits
Skunks are most active at dawn, dusk, on cloudy days, and during moonlit nights. If your pup loves romping in your yard, choose other times to indulge them. When walking your dog, always keep them leashed.
If you own fruit trees or berry bushes, pick up fruits that fall to the ground. Remove any pet food bowls placed outside. Secure trash cans with sturdy lids, deterring hungry skunks from raiding kitchen garbage.
Do you have a deck or porch? If so, block access to the areas beneath them. Eliminate any piles of wood and brush, ideal places for skunks to hide. Clear out dead tree stumps, viewed by skunks as cozy shelters. Also, prevent the critters from living in a shed by keeping it locked.
Heed Skunk Warnings
Usually, when a skunk gears up to spray, it issues a poignant warning. This involves hissing, foot-stomping, and raising its tail like an exclamation point. Next, a skunk might shake its tail or slap it on the ground.
If the scary stranger doesn’t back off, a skunk will curve its body, preparing to aim. Now, its face and rump point at its target. Oh no — here comes the spray!
Why does the critter delay the discharge, giving an ominous warning instead? Why is a skunk so reluctant rather than bold?
The animal knows that, upon firing the musk, it takes a while to replenish. Meanwhile, during those 10 days or so, the skunk has no defenses. Hence, when danger looms, skunks would rather retreat than use their only weapon.
Handling a Chance Meetup
To lessen the risk of scaring a skunk, avoid walking your dog in wooded areas. But, what if you have no choice?
Here are two common scenarios. Let’s say that, while walking your leashed dog, you spot a skunk ahead in your path. Moving slowly, head in the other direction, keeping your pup close at your side. Once you’re beyond the firing range of 5 meters, walk away at a steady pace.
What if the skunk is near your feet? Even then, depart cautiously. By this, the creature will feel less threatened and might amble away. If not, while the skunk performs its warning dance, you should have time to escape.
Skunks are among the most peaceable creatures in the animal kingdom. They never instigate trouble, keeping to themselves. Hence, skunks only fire musk when feeling threatened.
Hopefully, in the future, your cutie will avoid disturbing a skunk. Regrettably, some dogs don’t remember the trauma of getting sprayed. In the event your dog doesn’t, they’ll miss the warning signs of a forthcoming stink-fest. Therefore, be prepared by stocking up on de-skunking supplies, including:
- 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
- baking soda
- mild dish detergent
- Eye Drops for Dogs
- 6 in 1 All Natural Dog Shampoo
- All Natural Baby Powder Dog Shampoo
- All Natural Dog Perfume
Now, you’re a pro at handling skunk encounters!
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