My Dogs Got Skunked: Here’s What I Did Wrong

Written By: Caitlin Perna

I was dog boarding 2 regulars and at 6 am I let them outside. A few minutes later I look out the window and see a black fluffy tail straight up in the air with dog 1 following close behind and dog 2 next in line. Oh no.

Mistake #1 was not looking outside before letting the dogs out. It was dark and it’s always a good idea to make sure no unwanted wildlife have wandered into your yard. Even if it’s fenced in as mine was.

“Please, please, please don’t let that be what I think it is.” Spoiler: it was a skunk.

Mistake #2 was opening the slider door and immediately letting the dogs back inside. I was hoping they hadn’t

(Bubba, he found the skunk)

actually gotten sprayed and wanted them inside and quickly as possible. Who did I think I was kidding??

The smell slowly grew and permeated my whole apartment. What have I done?!

I quickly closed bedroom doors and put blankets on our couch.

Mistake #3 was not having a plan in place. This could easily be planned for.

Instead, I had to panic search google on what to bathe the dogs in.
This is what I found (and what you should use):

How to De-Skunk Your Dog:
  1. ¼ cup of baking soda.
  2. 1-2 teaspoons of mild dishwashing detergent like Ivory Snow.
  3. 1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution.
  4. Mix in a bucket and use immediately.
  5. Work the foaming mixture well into the coat.
  6. Leave on for five minutes.
  7. Rinse with warm water.
  8. Follow with dog shampoo if desired.

I did not have enough hydrogen peroxide, or space to wash 2 dogs at once, and did not wait 5 minutes because I wanted to get the other at least kind of washed too. Chaos. 

I dried the dogs off and ran to the store to get some regular dog shampoo and to see if they had anything specific for skunks (they didn’t). I also bought Odoban to spray on the furniture- it’s a disinfectant as well as odor remover. Bathed the dogs one more time and hoped for the best.

Here’s what I should have done:

  1. Kept the dogs outside- the skunk got as far away from the dogs as possible. Until I was ready to bath them, outside is the best place to wait so as not to stink up my apartment. It took WEEKS to  go away.
    If the dogs eyes are red flush with water immediately.
  2. Had an emergency set of ingredients and a bucket to mix them in. Get that set up first.
  3. Clean and rinse dogs thoroughly.
  4. Bathe dog in regular dog shampoo
  5. Repeat as needed
  6. Next time, plan ahead 🙂

Here are other ways to de-skunk your dog:

  • Tomato juice– bathe in dog shampoo, rinse completely, then saturate dog coat in tomato juice. Leave in for 10-20 minutes then rinse. Bathe dog again with dog shampoo
    *if your dog is white this might tint their coat orange for a little while
  • Skunk-Specific shampoo or spray. You can usually get these at your vet or a local pet store if skunks are common in your area
  • Avoid skunks;)

Luckily the owners of my boarders were understanding and grateful at my attempts to get the smell out of their fur. I can promise you, next time I’ll be ready!