Sprayed By A Skunk: How To Wash Your Dog


“She’ s been sprayed”, were the first words out of my wife’s mouth when she walked in the door. A couple friends were over and I was about to throw burgers on the grill. A quick double check confirmed the reality. The dog had been blasted at point blank range. The acrid smell permeated everything.

Given enough time it happens to all of them. Dogs get sprayed by skunks, bird dogs a bit more often. Skunks live in nearly every part of the country and in all sorts of environments. Dogs have a way of seeking them out like laser guided missiles. It’s not a matter of if, but when, your dog will be sprayed.

In the event of the inevitable, you have no choice but to deal with your reeking dog. Filling the bath tub with tomato juice to bathe your fowl smelling canine is a bad idea. First you do not want to let your dog in the house under any circumstance. You will regret it. Second, using tomato juice or sauce to get rid of the smell is an old wives tale. Tomato only masks the smell, it does not remove it.

But you are not out of luck. Mix the following ingredients in a bucket, put on rubber gloves, grab the hose and get to washing your pup. A second washing might be needed, but you’ll be ahead of the game before you know it:

  • 1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide (available at your local pharmacy)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap

To help increase your odds of success get a friend to help hold the dog. Then pay close attention to the areas around the collar, ears and nose, which likely received the brunt of the blast. You might smell whiffs of skunk for days. It has a way of lingering in your nose or on anything it came into contact with during the cleaning process. Best of luck!

7 Comments on “Sprayed By A Skunk: How To Wash Your Dog

  1. From forst hand experience I can attest to the effectiveness of this approach. Good, solid advice here.

  2. Thanks for the post. Wish I would have had known this as a kid. My shorthair took a solid shot from a skunk and she reeked for a month. We used half the years supply of tomato juice and every shampoo in the house to no avail. The smell stayed on my hands (of course I didn’t use gloves) for a solid two weeks. Nothing like being a little skunky to get the girls excited to see you!

  3. When we moved back to Skunk country after leaving the Navy thevet recommended diluted mouth wash like scope. Bath the dog first with a strong shampoo then cover hime withthe diluted mixture. It works well. Even on the dog walker ( who found that diluting was essential to avoid extreme discomfort. )

  4. I’ve had great luck with white vinegar, several times unfortunately! I think the tomato juice was a traditional method because of it’s vinegar content, but there is not enough in it to really remove the ‘stink’.

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