The classic American Thanksgiving story: Dinner’s over, waistbands are snug, it’s time for an evening walk. You consider a leash, but think better of it as you pad off, crunching leaves under foot and paw. Then, just around the bend, you find yourself face to tail with a skunk on a mission. Your dog barks, give chase and the little stinker lets loose. 

What to do? Hold your nose and read on for de-skunking tricks that work:


Eyes. Rinse your pup’s eyes with saline eyewash. If he keeps squinting or pawing his eyes afterward, call your vet.

Mouth. Lose the skunk breath. Rinse your dog’s mouth out with a hose.

Nose. That’s your nose, not your dog’s. The truth is, in a world of potions that promise to eliminate skunk smell, the only thing that works is repeated washings and time.

That said, we have some expert suggestions to held speed up the process.

  • Wash, Rinse, Repeat. Lather up the pup with skunk shampoo (available at pet supply stores) and let the shampoo sit for five minutes before rinsing. Repeat.

  • Stock up on tomato juice or baking soda and bathe your dog in it before washing him with shampoo. Then, you guessed it — repeat.
  • Try a tip from Paul Krebaum. Who’s Paul?
    He’s the chemist whose masterful de-skunking remedy gets the job done. Here’s his secret recipe, originally featured in Popular Science magazine in 1995.

    Mix together 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap. Then wet the pup and slowly pour the mixture over the dog (take care not to get it into his eyes, ears or mouth). Rub the mixture into the dog’s fur as you go and let it sit for up to five minutes. Then hose him down for skunk-free fur.

    Note:  While hydrogen peroxide can bleach clothing and hair, it does not appear to bleach or fade dog fur.


The Scoop:

Brian Retzler tracked down the Popular Science de-skunking article and posted it on his blog. Learn more and see the 100+ comments from fellow dog owners (and even one cat owner) confirming this will do the trick.


Thank you to Per Anderson and Selma for the photo.