What to Do? My Dog Got Sprayed by a Skunk!

It’s no laughing matter when a skunk nails your curious dog. And to be fair to the skunk, your dog probably deserved it by acting like a total dork. Regardless, a skunk’s mercaptan oil not only stinks to high heaven, it can blind its target for up to two days, and the stink can linger for up to two years if you don’t act quickly!

Here’s an idea of how things usually go…


Wow! Look at that! It’s furry! It’s (probably) smaller than I am! It’s black and white! Let’s sniff it! Wait! It’s purring; but it’s not a cat. It’s moving! It’s standing up now and stamping its front feet! Huh? Now what’s it doing with its tail? Gotta chase it . . . agh! What’s that SMELL?


Gotcha, sucka!

Dog vs. Skunk

How to know if it’s a skunk that’s zapped your dog? Trust us, the smell alone—slightly akin to searing rubber in a frying pan or lighting plastic on fire—will be your answer.

First, whatever you do, do not allow the dog inside the house, near his bed, or anything else for that matter. Leash and tie him up till you can get started on the post-skunked treatment. The mercaptan is an oil and is super hard to get out of clothing and fur and any material that can retain odor.

Second, change into some old clothing you can trash afterward. Put up your hair and hide it under a cap if you can. Got an old bandana? Pretend you are a masked fool and cover your mouth and nose—so you can breathe while mitigating the effects on your poor sniffer. And a pair of those disposable latex gloves wouldn’t hurt.

Third, try to figure out where the spray hit the dog. There will be a patch where the oil has congregated. If you can, trim out that fur or cut it all the way off at the root.

Fourth, get a roll of paper towels or rags and pat and hold down (don’t rub) on the affected areas. Rubbing will just spread the smell.

Fifth, apply some shampoo to a rag and clean only the affected areas.

Finally, get to bathing that pooch. And we’re not talking one shampoo. We’re talking more like three or four—especially if your dog has lots of fur. If you have a significant other who can drive, send him or her to the nearest pet supply to buy skunk odor remover. But if this can’t be done right away, then starting the washing process immediately will be more effective. The longer the oil sits, the more it gets absorbed and the longer the stink will last.

As for tomato juice, mouthwash, or hydrogen peroxide+baking soda+dishwashing detergent (an explosive mixture, by the way), we haven’t tested these, so we cannot recommend nor discourage their use.

Whatever you do, do it as fast and as thoroughly as possible. When you’re done, toss everything you’ve used or worn into a plastic bag, seal, and throw away.