Learn what to do if your dog gets sprayed by a skunk.
Wondering what to do if your dog gets sprayed by a skunk?
I’ve been there. Twice.
Unfortunately, you’re going to be in for some work.
But it isn’t the end of the world. I promise.
There are some products that actually work to neutralize the odor.
Keep reading to see just what to do when your dog gets sprayed.
*Please note I am not a veterinarian, nor do I have any pest control experience. I am also not an expert in home cleaning. This article is opinion-based and purely for entertainment purposes. Please seek the advice of professionals on how to properly clean your dog after a skunk spray, remove the odor from your home and deal with the actual skunks.
7 Action Steps for Right After Your Dog Gets Sprayed by a Skunk
So, your dog just got sprayed and you know you need to take action.
But what do you do?
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1. Keep your dog outside
Whatever you do, don’t let your dog in the house (yet).
Doing so before the spray has been neutralized runs the risk of getting the stench inside. And, if this happens, the stink will be harder to get rid of.
But, if you’re concerned about the skunk still being in the area (or more than one skunk), do change your location (i.e. backyard to front yard).
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2. Immediately neutralize the skunk spray
When you’re wondering what to do if your dog gets sprayed by a skunk, you need to remember the most important thing:
Neutralizing the skunk spray,
And, the sooner you get the odor neutralized, the better.
I’ve used this recipe from the Humane Society on two occasions and it really helps.
All you need is:
- Baking soda
- Dawn dish soap (blue)
While it doesn’t completely eliminate the smell, it significantly reduces it.
Be sure to follow the recipe and instructions closely. And don’t skip the part where you let the mixture sit on your dog (that’s what gets the smell out).
I *highly* suggest having these ingredients on hand at any given time if you have a dog.
You never know when a skunk spray will happen. And, the last thing you’ll want to do is have to go out shopping for them.
(Plus, if it happens too late at night you might have to wait to shop until the next day. Then you’re hooped!!)
3. Wash your dog with de-skunking shampoo
After using the DIY neutralizing recipe (and rinsing it out thoroughly), I’ve always followed up with a de-skunking shampoo wash.
I do this right after, while still outside.
I use the skunk-off shampoo from my vet and it’s also conveniently sold on Amazon.
(Note, you might have to get creative if your dog gets sprayed during a time of year it’s too cold to wash him outside. Talk to your vet about what you can do to neutralize the odor before you have to bring him inside for a bath or transport him to a dog wash.)
After the de-skunking shampoo, follow up with a good conditioner.
It’s likely your pup will need it after all the neutralizing and washing.
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4. Have your dog sleep in the kennel overnight
It’s likely you won’t want to blow dry your pup after he’s been shampooed and conditioned.
(Trust me, the process in the first three steps takes longer than you’d think!)
And, since our skunk encounters have always been at night, after the bath it’s time for bed.
Normally our dog sleeps in our bedroom, but when he reeks like skunk it’s out of the question.
So, we set up his crate in the kitchen where it’s warm and dry. (And where the wet-dog-skunk smell can’t get into the carpet.)
5. Shower off, Throw on Some Laundry & Go to Bed
Once your pooch is in the crate, you’ll likely need some TLC.
I’m guessing your clothes will probably stink.
Because when washing a dog sprayed by skunk it’s easy to get the smell on you.
Once you’re inside, remove your clothes as carefully as possible.
If you really don’t care about them (or want to deal with washing), toss them.
But, I’ve found success through neutralizing them with baking soda and peroxide and washing them on regular wash. Then following up with a skunk-neutralizing laundry spray.
(Do note that peroxide can ruin some fabrics.)
Once you get your clothes taken care of, have a shower.
The humane society’s website says the peroxide, baking soda and dawn mixture is skin safe. So I’ve always rubbed that mixture on my skin (and let sit for a few mins) before I shower.
Then, I finally go to bed and hope for a better day tomorrow!
6. Get your dog groomed as soon as possible
The day following a skunk spray, I like to call around and get my dog scheduled for a full groom as soon as possible.
Groomers are way better at cleaning my dog than me.
And it’s nice to have my pup cleaned up for easier maintenance.
7. Move on with life
Your dog’s head (or wherever he got sprayed) is probably going to stink for a while. Even after a groom.
And you might catch whiffs of skunk on stuff in your house.
This means that you might have to deodorize your dog and items in your house for the next few weeks.
Do your best to remember that the scent will fade.
And it’s not the end of the world.
Just get deodorizing, doing laundry and living life.
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How to Prevent Your Dog Getting Sprayed by a Skunk in the Future
The first time my dog got sprayed by a skunk I thought it wouldn’t happen again.
But I’m here to tell you, that’s not necessarily the case.
So, if you want to lessen your chances of it happening again, here are some things you can do:
1. Let your dog out before dusk.
If you want to avoid an encounter with the nocturnal skunker, avoid going out when he’s out.
Let your dog out for a normal run around and potty break before dusk.
Then follow up with an on-leash potty run right before bed. (I choose to do these in the front yard as it’s noisier and there are more exits for us and the skunk if we happen to cross paths.)
2. Don’t leave the door open when you let your dog out.
We often leave our back door open to give our dog free reign of the house and yard.
But, as we learned, this can backfire. Quickly.
The first time my dog got sprayed by a skunk the back door was open.
And what do you think he did?
He immediate ran inside and started rubbing his face in the carpet. Ugh.
So do yourself a favor and leave the door shut.
This way if there is a skunk spray you can at least contain the mess.
3. Skunk-proof your yard
This gets a little tricky because you have to be sure the skunks have vacated the premises. (It does you no good if you end up trapping them in your yard.)
There are lots of resources online plus you can call on the help of a professional pest control service.
Once you’ve retrofitted everything you need to have your current space skunk-proofed, you can do the same moving forward.
Any time you add a new structure to your yard, skunk proof from the get-go.
Just know that tossing lemon peels around your yard doesn’t count as skunk proofing.
I did this based on some articles I read online. And, I literally watched as a skunk crawled right over them.
Knowing how to react when your dog gets sprayed by a skunk is easier with pre-planning.
Let’s hope you never have to worry about your dog getting sprayed by a skunk. But, if it does happen to you at least you’ll know what to do.
Neutralize, wash, deodorize.