I recently had to quickly learn how to neutralize a dog sprayed by skunk. It was MY dog, and the worst morning of my life. The smell is still freshly burned into my memory, and all the clothes, purses, belts, and other leather items I had to toss out.
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It was early morning when I opened the door to let him out. The sun hadn’t quite come out yet and the grass was shiny with dew.
It’s highly unusual for my dog to dart across the street. In fact, he never does that. I installed a wireless fence around my house to stop both of my dogs from running away.
Most of the time it works. However, on this particular morning, one of my dogs bolted across the road.
I’m going to tell you what happened to me, my dog, and my house on that early weekday morning.
In this post, you will learn the cheapest and easiest way to neutralize a dog sprayed by skunk. Initially, I was skeptical, but it really works!
The Morning I Neutralized a Dog Sprayed by Skunk
I held my breath as my dog darted across the road, terrified he’d be hit by a car. Luckily, there was no traffic on this particular morning.
I called him back and waited. Within seconds he turned on his heels and raced back towards the house. Relieved, I let him inside.
Then I smelled it.
“What is THAT SMELL?” I asked my husband.
“SKUNK!” he replied. Our eyes watered and a bad taste developed on our tongues. The dog sat on the couch pawing at his face, his eyes read, drool flowing from his mouth.
Guaranteed Way to Neutralize a Dog Sprayed by Skunk
Skunk spray is comprised of seven volatile compounds that, when mixed with water, reorganize their chemical composition and become the most vile aroma you’ll likely ever encounter.
The compounds, thiols and acetate derivatives, bind to skin proteins like blood suckers on an ankle. Have anything leather in your house? Leather, as you know, is a hide (or skin).
Even though it’s the dog that needs to be de-skunked, the airborne compound quickly embeds itself into leather jackets, belts, purses, sofas, etc.
Best Method EVER for Neutralizing a Dog Sprayed by Skunk
I phoned the veterinarian the morning of the “skunk incident” for advice. I thought they might have a solution or something to sell me. Instead, I was told to:
Use an entire bottle of hydrogen peroxide
Use a small container of baking soda.
Add about a quarter cup of vinegar
Mix in a few drops of dishwater detergent
I was instructed to put the dog into the tub and soak him (avoiding his eyes) with the concoction. I was skeptical, but what other options did I have?
I couldn’t believe that I was able to get at least 80% of the smell off of my dog using the recipe above. I ruined a lot of towels in the process, but I learned a valuable lesson on how to neutralize a dog sprayed by skunk.
A couple of weeks later, when it seemed the smell was starting to come back, I gave my dog another bath using the peroxide, baking soda, and dish detergent. This time, I allowed the concoction to settle into his fur and skin before scrubbing him down and rinsing.
It worked again! This time, the smell didn’t come back. My towels, however, are in the garbage.
The Apple Cider Method
To neutralize a dog sprayed by skunk with this method, your dog must be wet first. Work a ratio of 1 part water to two parts apple cider into your dog’s fur, allowing it to sit for at least 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing.
The Not-So-Fresh-Feeling Method
Douche or feminine wash can also be used to de-skunk your dog. Mix a gallon of water and 2 ounces of feminine douche.
Soak your pet with the solution and let it sit for about 15 minutes before rinsing. Once rinsed, wash your dog with dog shampoo. Rinse and repeat as needed.
Personally, I can only vouch for the first method using hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, baking soda, and dish detergent. It’s inexpensive and it’s absolutely the best way to neutralize a dog sprayed by skunk.
Beware Bleach: My dog’s black fur now has an auburn sheen to it because of the bleaching effects of the hydrogen peroxide. Frankly, it could have turned him alien green as long as it got the smell out.
Why Mr. Skunk? WHY?
A skunk sprays when it feels threatened. This stinky form of self-defense comes with a warning beforehand by stomping their feet, raising their tail, and hissing. If the warnings are not heeded, hit the dirt and cover your eyes.
The spray, a secretion from the anal glands, can reach up to 15 feet and skunks are known for their accuracy.
Aside from the horrific odor, skunk spray can make you (and the dog) sick. I had no idea! My eyes burned, I felt sick to my stomach, and I had a pounding headache all day long. In absolute worst-case scenarios (if you or your dog are directly sprayed in the face), the compound can cause temporary blindness.
TIP: You might want to call in sick
Of course, my fight or flight instincts kicked in immediately and all I wanted to do was flee. Once I knew my dog was okay, I grabbed my leather jacket and headed to work.
Bad idea. I thought I was escaping the smell, but was quickly told by my employer that I had brought it with me.
People were annoyed. I’ve worked there for 20 years and have never been asked to leave but – on that day – it was gently suggested that I head back home for the day.
The Health Concerns of Skunk Spray
The severity of the damage a skunk spray can do to your dog will depend on which part of your dog got sprayed and how close the skunk was when it happened.
Skunk spray can affect the dog’s eyes, skin, and lungs. Common side-effects include drooling, sneezing, squinting eyes, temporary blindness, swelling and redness, vomiting, and gagging.
Risk of Rabies & More
Remember to keep your dog up-to-date on vaccinations, especially if they are likely to encounter wildlife like skunk, racoon, rabbits, porcupine, etc. Bites and scratches can result in serious disease if your dog hasn’t been properly inoculated.
Mr. Skunk and I are NOT on Speaking Terms
If you live in a rural area like I do, it’s almost impossible to totally avoid skunks and other wildlife.
Sooner or later, you’re going to need to neutralize a dog sprayed by skunk. However, there are a few ways to lessen the chances of encountering a skunk in the first place
Number 1: Don’t leave dog food or garbage in the open. Skunks roam properties early evening and again early in the morning, lured by the smell of a possible meal.
Number 2: Skunks are nocturnal creatures who typically come out at dusk (and early morning). Install motion sensor lights to scare skunks off of your lawn.
Number 3: Consider live-trapping skunks. You can always contact animal welfare specialists to assist. Hardware stores sell traps if you want to do it yourself.
Watch the following YouTube video and learn how to live-trap a skunk.
How to Handle a Skunk Spotting
If you’re out camping or just happen to spot a skunk nearby, there’s no need to get hysterical. Skunks actually don’t startle all the easily, so just go your separate ways. Trust me, that relationship was never meant to be.
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