Has Your Pup Ever Been Skunked?

I always feel bad for skunked dogs and their owners. Recently, I felt special sympathy for one such pair, because the pair consisted of my Labrador pal Buster and me. We hosted a dinner party. Buster was a very good boy during the party, and he didn’t complain about not having been walked before the party. But by the time things broke up, Buster definitely had earned a walk. And it was midnight.

I was holding the leash when Buster suddenly lunged forward. When I saw the object of his attack, I initially feared it was a raccoon. Thankfully it was only a skunk. Raccoons generally stand and fight. Raccoons are ferocious and I’ve seen many dogs get torn apart by them. Skunks simply turn and spray.

Being skunked is a miserable experience. I know this because a hearty portion of the spray struck me. Thankfully, skunks almost never cause lasting (physical) harm (I will be dealing with the emotional repercussions of the incident for a while yet).

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I took great solace from the knowledge that Buster and I would be OK. However, we did have one very urgent problem: we smelled horrible.

Thankfully my fiancee, Denise, was walking with us and she escaped unscathed. We walked home and Denise went inside to look up a good skunk remedy. Buster and I sat in front of the house, looking and feeling quite dejected.

If your dog is skunked I do not recommend taking him to the vet. Most vets I know firmly turn away skunked dogs because they are not in need of medical attention and because they make veterinary hospitals uninhabitable.

Denise ran to the store and came home with the ingredients for a skunk remedy. Thankfully it worked. Here’s the recipe.

Mix 4 cups hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon liquid soap together in a bowl that can be thrown away. Wear gloves to protect your hands from skunk odor. Use a wash rag to apply the remedy to the skunked area (do not get it in the eyes or mouth). Do not rinse or wet down your dog before applying the remedy. Let stand for 10 minutes, rinse, and repeat as necessary.

Two rounds of this remedy got 95 percent of the smell off Buster. Sadly, like most dogs he was sprayed in the face so I was not able to clean the affected area as aggressively as I would have liked. I gave Buster a bath with dog shampoo after treating him with the remedy. Buster went to bed, and I washed my clothes with laundry soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. I am happy to say the clothes now smell fine and they did not bleach appreciably from the peroxide. I am sad to say that my keys, wallet, and cell phone still smell pretty bad.

As I write this Buster is giving off a very slight skunky funk. It will wear off in a few days.

And I will be very happy if we never, ever meet another skunk again.

By Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM, for Dogster Magazine

About the Author: Dr. Eric Barchas is an emergency veterinarian based in San Francisco. He is Dogster Magazine’s resident vet.

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Taylor Story
Taylor Story4 years ago

Never have I ever, or my pets, gotten sprayed by a skunk. Thank goodness for that.

Donna R.
Donna R.4 years ago

Our dog Max, rest his goofy soul, got skunked in the face while I was at work. I smelled it as soon as I opened the gate. I made a midnight run to the all nite grocery store for tomato juice to us on our very large lab. When I got to the store, I told the cashier and police officer why I was there and asked if they knew of anything else or better to use. (Our dog was a black lab so using peroxide was not an option as it would turn his coat a lovely reddish hue.) The officer informed me his dog has been skunked many times and told me after using the tomato juice on Max and rinsing that I should use feminine douche on him and let it set for a bit on his coat. So I got the tomato juice and proceeded down the aisle with the douche in it. When I was deciding what kind to get, I realized he didn't tell me if I should get plain or pretty smelling. So, I grabbed one of each and went back to the check out area. At this time, there were about 4 or 5 people in line and the officer was standing just beyond them. I held up both boxes and asked - vinegar and water or pretty smelling. He responds "The prettier smelling the better". You can imagine the looks the two of us received from the people in the line. It was very funny. Happy to report, it worked on making Max smell less awful - unfortunately the smell in my house took a few days to dissipate.

Winn Adams
Winn A4 years ago


Rhonda B.
Rhonda B4 years ago

Thank you

Alan Lambert
Alan Lambert4 years ago

Good idea for a remedy, we always used tomato juice and that worked well too...

Alvin King
Alvin King4 years ago


Carol R.
Carol R4 years ago

My brother's dog was sprayed so many times we lost count! It seemed Digger never minded the smell ! Sometimes it seemed he would go out of his way to find a skunk and terrorize it. Even bringing it home with him. UGH.

Marion Friedl
Marion Friedl4 years ago

We have no skunks in Germany, hahahaha, and I only have 2 tomcats, Thori and Gizzy, pure indoor cats!

Carla van der Meer

When one of my dogs was still fairly young we lived on a farm. One night let her into the yard and when I went to the stairs to bring her in, she had made a friend. A baby skunk! She even stopped several times to ensure it was following her up the stairs. The striped tyke made it into the mudroom when something spooked him and the inevitable happened, resulting in one smelly pup. It was quite the ordeal at the time, but now we laugh about it.

Barbara D.
Past Member 4 years ago

It's happened to all 3 three of mine ~ separately and together ~ several times. Oh, yeah, my partner too!!
The joys of country living!