My Dog Got Sprayed By A Skunk, What Should I Do?

By their very nature, dogs are curious and this can get them in all sorts of trouble. This is one reason why it’s more likely that a dog would be sprayed by skunk rather than a cat.

Typically, dogs are sprayed near the head or chest area, and the oil-based skunk spray may appear as a yellowish liquid. While this is obviously an unpleasant experience, for you and your dog, don’t panic. There are some tips you can follow if your pet is sprayed by a skunk.

Assess the situation

First, check your pet from head to tail. If you see any wounds or if you think that your pet has been sprayed in the eye, then it is important that you take your pet to the veterinarian.

If your pet is acting normally and you don’t see any wounds, then you can treat your pet at home. You will want to act fast though—if the skunk spray dries it will be harder to remove.

How to remove skunk spray from a dog

Keep your pet outside during treatment. The spray’s odor can get into your house and permeate household items. Also, wear old clothes and gloves when bathing or handling your pet as the oils can transfer to fabric or skin.

To remove the spray from your dog’s fur:

  • If possible, try a commercial-grade skunk odor remover. Your veterinarian can recommend one that will work best for your pet. Alternatively, there is a home remedy you can use:
    • Combine 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of dish soap. If you use this option, it must be mixed in an open container and should not be saved. If placed in a closed container, the container may rupture and you or your pet could be injured.
    • Warning: Do not use either of the above-mentioned products around the eyes as they can cause damage to the eyes.
  • Wash the affected area with the solution. If the face is involved, use a washcloth to wipe your pet’s face; be sure to avoid the eyes and mouth.
  • Do not leave the product on your pet’s skin for more than a minute as it could potentially dry out or harm your pet’s skin.
  • Once the area is covered with the treatment, rinse your pet with water.
  • Multiple washings may be needed to remove the oils.
  • After the oils have been removed, wash your pet’s entire body with your normal pet shampoo. If you don’t have pet shampoo, you can wash your pet with dish soap. It helps disperse the oils effectively.

Commercial products and home remedies work by breaking down the oils and removing the scent. In some cases, these products may cause your pet’s fur to be bleached during the process.

Monitor the situation

Watch your pet closely over the next few days after treatment for any abnormalities and check the skin for any crusts or scabs. In some cases the skunk spray can cause dermatitis or other medical issues. In addition, make sure that your pet is up-to-date on its vaccines as skunks are known carriers of rabies.

Need more info?

When in doubt, talk to your local Banfield veterinarian. You can also find information about your pet’s health in the preventive care section of our website, or by browsing the selection of articles below.