Did your dog have an unfortunate meeting with a skunk? Find out the best way to de-skunk a dog with the best tried and tested instructions to bring back your dog’s unique glorious scent.
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:
Rinse your pup’s eyes with saline eyewash. If he keeps squinting or pawing his eyes afterward, call your vet.
Lose the skunk breath. Rinse your dog’s mouth out with a hose.
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, here are three expert suggestions to make that skunk smell be gone!
Wash, Rinse, Repeat with Skunk Shampoo.
Lather up the pup with skunk shampoo (available at pet supply stores) and let the shampoo sit for five minutes before rinsing. Repeat.
You can read reviews about Skunk-Off Pet Shampoo at amazon.com, 149 4-star reviews and many rave reviews or Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover with 327 4-star reviews to date. Assuming you are searching for immediate relief, you are not buying online – even Amazon Prime is not that fast! – but customer reviews about the products are super useful.
Stock up on tomato juice or baking soda.
Bathe your dog in either 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.
Brian Retzler tracked down the Popular Science de-skunking article and posted it on his blog. When this tip was first published in 2008, his post had around 100 comments from fellow dog owners (and even one cat owner) confirming this will do the trick, now there are more than 600! Read the comments on his site for additional tips.
Thank you to Per Anderson and Selma for the photo.
Originally posted November 2008; reviewed and updated November 2016.