There’s no mistaking the unique aroma of skunk spray. If you’ve ever been the unfortunate owner of a recently-sprayed pet, you know all too well the noxious, eye-watering stench. Rushing to bathe your pet was probably your first instinct, but bringing them inside and getting them wet is actually the worst thing you can do!

If your pet has been sprayed by a skunk, let The Pet Experts shed a little light on the stinky situation. We will explain why skunks spray, and what you can do to remove the odor and protect your pet (and your rugs, furniture, bedding, and everything else you own) from a smelly disaster.

Why Skunks Spray

Skunk spray comes from specialized glands near the anus, and contains seven volatile compounds that, when mixed with water, form the characteristic skunk smell. 

Being sprayed by a skunk is a relatively common problem when you own pets, especially dogs. Skunks are mostly docile animals, and do most of their business during dusk and dawn. If they are cornered or frightened by a pet (usually a dog), they spray in self defense. 

So, Your Pet Has Been Sprayed by a Skunk… 

Whether your pet has been lightly misted or fully doused in skunk juice, their fur will be essentially saturated with the odor. Bathing them in standard pet shampoo will not remove the odor (water actually makes the smell worse), and by bringing them inside your home you run the risk of spreading the smell to clothing and other fabrics.

Before you attempt to rid your pet of the odor, first check them for injuries. Although rare, encounters with a skunk may lead to bites or scratches, which should be checked out by a veterinarian. Your pet should also be seen if they have been sprayed in the eyes, or if they are experiencing any drooling, sneezing, squinting, or vomiting.

If your pet is unharmed, mix the following solution to remove the odor from their fur:

  • 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide solution
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 1 tsp. dishwashing soap
  • Up to 1 quart of lukewarm tap water for larger dogs

Put on some rubber gloves, find a spot in the yard or garage, and get to work. Wash your pet thoroughly with the mixture, working the solution into the fur. Leave it on for 5 minutes, then rinse. You may have to repeat the procedure to completely remove the odor. Follow up with another bath using a commercial de-skunking shampoo, just to be safe.
If you need more information about what to do if your pet is sprayed by a skunk, don’t hesitate to contact The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital.