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Neutralizing Skunk Odor in Pets



Dogs can be very curious. If your dog encounters a skunk it is likely to get sprayed if it insists on checking out this newly found creature. When a skunk is startled it will make a peculiar purring sound, sometimes growling.  Before emitting its sulfuric spray (mercaptan) in self-defense, it will warn its target by raising its tail, standing on its hind legs and stomping its front feet.

The mercaptan it sprays not only carries a terrible odor but, if it hits the eyes, will blind the skunk’s target for up to two days. Your dog may come home with more than it had bargained for when it encountered the skunk.

The skunk’s spray does not only extremely foul smell, but it is very hard to get out of a dogs fur. Your dog may smell for quite some time if you do not act quickly. A fresh spray smells so bad it burns your nose.

If you or your pet gets sprayed it is important to work quickly to get the skunk oil out and neutralized. If you do not act quickly the smell can last up to two years!

Tips: Before You Bathe Your “Skunked” Dog

  1. Before handling your dog, you may want to put on some old clothes. Skunk spray is actually an oil and is very difficult to remove from clothing. Do not let your dog lay in his dog bed or the skunk oils will get on the bed.
  2. If possible, leave the dog outside to prevent the odor-ridden oils from getting into your house.
  3. Determine where the spray hit the dog.  Depending on your dog’s hair type, you may be able to trim away or comb out some of the affected hair.
  4. You can use paper towels to soak up the oils from the coat before you begin washing. If you use a real towel you will most likely have to toss it as the oils may not come out 100% and your towel may smell for a long time. Be careful not to spread the oils from one part of the dog to another. Only wipe where the oils are already to avoid making the problem worse.
  5. When you’re ready to wash the dog, only clean the sprayed area. Skunk spray is oily and can easily be spread all over the dog. You will most likely have to give the dog more than one bath, so save an all-over bath until the second or third washing.


Removing the smell from pets

Get yourself and the pet outside before bathing it. The pet is going to want to shake the cleaner off and it’s going to go flying everywhere, including on you.

  • 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide (from drug store)
  • 1/4 cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent
  • Mix thoroughly

Rub this solution into your pet’s dry coat, being careful not to get the cleaning solution in the pet’s eyes. Let the cleaner/deodorizer sit on the poor thing for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with water and then shampoo as normal. Repeat all steps if necessary.

Extra Heavy Duty Deodorizing For Your Pets

If your pet has been sprayed hard and the skunk smell is lingering, As long as the pet does not have any open sores, you can try this after you have given it a baking soda bath.

Vinegar stings on sensitive spots so avoid getting this into the pets eyes:

  • Use a 1:4 ratio of vinegar and water, so 1 quart vinegar to 1 gallon of water
  • Rub into the fur
  • Let sit on the fur for 5 minutes and rinse thoroughly.


Alternative Methods

Consider using a commercial product for eliminating skunk odor. There are plenty of cleaning sprays and solutions designed specifically for eliminating skunk odor from furniture, clothes and pets.

  • These products are not always necessary, but if you have already tried a do-it-yourself cleaning method that didn’t work, you can either wait for the odor to go away on its own or invest in a commercial cleaning product to speed up the process.


Anyone who has ever come in contact with a skunk knows how hard it can be to get rid of that smell once and for all. By using some of the tips above, you should be able to free yourself and your pets from the stinky remains.

If you think you have a skunk  problem, call Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control today. 1-888-592-0387.

Proudly serving: Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Brampton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Sudbury, St. Catharines, Cambridge and the Niagara Region.




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About the author:Founder of Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control in 1989. Canada's largest urban wildlife removal and exclusion company. Industry leader and pioneer. Split, Scram, Scoot! However you want to say it, Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control has helped over 200,000 home owners and businesses safely and effectively resolve their wildlife issues. Happy to discuss business and franchising opportunities

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