My Dog Got Sprayed by a Skunk!

There’s probably no recognizable scent out there that evokes a familiar and unpleasant reaction than that of a skunk.

We all recognize the smell and have a visceral reaction to it. Namely, to get away from the source, that black and white striped creature, the skunk.

If your dog has been sticking their nose in bushes and foliage in the yard, or suddenly disappears off trail, there may be a skunk around. Unfortunately, your dog may confirm that with a disconcerting odor that precedes them.

If your dog got sprayed by a skunk, there are some steps you can take to get rid of the order and make sure your pet isn’t injured, too. The team at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates is here to help with a stinky situation.

What to Do if Your Pet Gets Skunked

After being skunked, your dog is probably bewildered, crying, trying to hide, etc. They don’t enjoy the odor any more than you do, and being sprayed by a skunk can be startling, causing fear in your pet. Along with the stink, your pet may have had the expellent go into their eyes, causing temporary blindness, irritation, and stinging. 

Obviously, you will need to act quickly to stabilize your pet and start treating them.

  1. Get your pet to a safe, outdoor area that is secure, such as a fenced backyard. Your first instinct is likely to take your pet immediately to the bathtub, but this will leave trace odors throughout the home as well as oils in the tub and around where your pet is being treated. This can be very hard to clean, so avoid going indoors with your pet.
  2. Look for any injuries, bites, bleeding, etc. If your pet has been scratched or bitten by the skunk, you must get them to the veterinary hospital right away. Skunks carry a range of diseases, like rabies, and your pet will need treatment for any injuries.
  3. Spray your pet down with cool, clean water. Use a kiddie pool or something you can discard later and fill it full of water. Likewise, you can just use a garden hose and spray your pet down, paying special attention to the face and eyes. Look for irritation and redness of the eyes and flush them out with a separate pitcher full of clean water (never spray your pet directly in the eyes).
  4. Use a de-skunking solution. Whether you choose one that is store-bought, like Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover, or homemade, your pet will need something more than standard shampoo. To make your own de-skunking solution use 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda, and one teaspoon of dishwater soap.
  5. Wash your dog. Don a pair of gloves and an old shirt before you bathe your dog. Scrub your pet with the solution and let it sit for a few minutes. You may have to repeat the process a few times, depending on how much oil was deposited on your pet’s coat. Try not to leave the solution on too long as it can lighten your pet’s fur (as anyone who grew up in the 1980s knows, peroxide can lighten hair).
  6. Shampoo your dog with their regular shampoo. After you have mostly removed any odor using the solution, bathe your pet in their normal products, dry them with a big towel, and blow dry them out with a warm (not hot) setting. Preventing your pet from getting wet over the next couple of weeks can help diminish any trace skunk smells.

Your dog has been through quite an ordeal, as have you. Let your pet rest for the day and give them plenty of attention and pats. Treat them to a special reward after you have bathed them and they are resting. They certainly deserve it.

To avoid a repeat skunking emergency, make sure you discourage wildlife from coming into the yard. Keep weeds and tall grasses cut back, put trash bins in the garage or use a wildlife proof container, and never leave pet food outside. On the trail, keep your dog on a leash, so they cannot chase or corner wild animals.

Oh-oh, My Dog Got Sprayed by a Skunk!

If you suspect your pet has been in contact with a wild animal and seems unwell, has injuries, etc., please contact our team. For more pointers on what to do if your dog got sprayed by a skunk, we are here for you and will help you address the stinky situation.