How do you clean a dog that got skunked?


Quick Answer

When your dog gets sprayed by a skunk, panic is likely the first emotion you feel. The stink is unbearable and it seemingly lasts forever. Take quick action to remove the odor and spare the rest of your belongings and family members from getting exposed as well.

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Full Answer

  1. Avoid spreading the smell inside your home

    If the dog has already run inside, then get him out immediately. Keep him outside on a leash until you get the smell removed. Keep the dog from lying on his dog bed, going into his doghouse, and brushing up against other pets or people.

  2. Assess where the oil hit the dog

    Chances are the dog got hit in the face, although some turn away at the last minute or get sprayed in the legs if they are standing over the skunk when it sprays. The stink is actually in an oil-like substance that can be removed, but the oil can also be spread by contact. Avoid that at all costs. Approach your dog only after changing into old clothes you plan to discard, and avoid using any towels or brushes that you want to keep.

  3. Develop a treatment plan

    Don't rub your dog all over with a towel or drop him into a bath. This does nothing to lessen the stink and might actually make it worse. Effective treatment involves washing only the affected part of the dog, shaving off all or part of its fur and deciding where it will stay while the smell slowly wears off.

  4. Purchase or make stink-removing spray

    There are products on the market designed to remove the stinky oil and having those on hand for a possible skunk encounter is a good idea. Making your own is also an option, and there are recipes available on the Internet. Follow all directions carefully, especially if applying to the dog's face.

  5. Wash the sprayed area carefully

    Only wet the sprayed area of your dog for the first few washings. Dunking the whole dog in a tub with the oil present makes the whole dog stink and compounds the problem. Continue washing, following all directions, as necessary. Give your dog an entire bath as a last step, just to make sure every bit of the stinky oil is removed.

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