What to do if you or your dog gets sprayed by a skunk—and it doesn’t involve tomato juice


It’s not exactly news that skunks are rather smelly creatures. After all, you only have to drive past a skunk who’s unfortunately become roadkill to know they pack a pungent odor.

But, contrary to popular belief, skunks don’t always smell. Instead, that spray that you likely encounter every now and then is the result of a skunk that felt threatened by a predator, whether it be your too-curious dog or a fast-approaching vehicle. And they can hit a target with accuracy — taking aim at a perceived danger that is as far as 20 feet away.

skunk photo
Flickr | rikkis_refuge

Those smelly, precise glands are akin to the anal glands of a dog or cat. The smell? A skunk’s stench is the result of sulfur compounds that smell a lot like rotten eggs, and it’s meant to smell bad in order to ward off a predator.

What To Do If You Or Your Dog Gets Sprayed

The good news for you is that people are not skunks’ most common targets. The bad news for your dog is that pooches are regularly the wearers of skunk spray.

If your dog is sprayed by a skunk, then you will want to first give their eyes a once over. If they are red or irritated, then you should immediately flush them with water or try a dog-safe eyewash. Next up is a bath and you’ll want to do it ASAP in order to remove the odor from your dog’s coat.

skunk dog photo
Flickr | JeepersMedia

What About Tomato Or Lemon Juice?

While you may have heard that tomato juice is a go-to for removing skunk spray, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. In addition to tomato juice, lemon juice also doesn’t work to get rid of the smell, nor does attempting to cover it up with perfume or household fragrance sprays, like Febreze.

Instead, just try this simple recipe made from everyday household products:

  • 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap

Mix all of the ingredients together, work the solution through your dog’s coat — be sure to wear rubber gloves — and let it sit for five minutes before rinsing with warm water. Be careful not to use the mixture close to your dog’s eyes. You might have to repeat the bathing process with dog shampoo if the skunk did a thorough job of covering your pup.

dog wash photo
Getty Images | Pascal Le Segretain

If you happen to catch a skunk off guard, then you may be a victim of their smelly protection method. In this instance, you can actually use the same solution you mixed up for your dog on yourself. (Hopefully, you don’t have to do double duty and treat the two of you at once.)

RELATED: Hero Dog Saves Boy And His Mother From A Poisonous Rattlesnake

Preventing Future Skunk Encounters

Because it’s tough to train your dog to keep his nose out of a skunk’s business, you might want to learn a bit more about the local skunk scene in order to steer clear during peak hours.

When it comes to keeping yourself in the clear, take a flashlight with you outdoors for nighttime activities, like taking the garbage out, so you can be on the lookout.

On the other hand, if you are able to observe a skunk from afar, then you might get a chance to see that they are kind of cute. Some people even keep them as pets, despite their stinky reputations, and claim not liking skunks is nothing short of a deal-breaker

skunk pet photo
Flickr | gamppart

Hey, no one’s perfect, right? And skunks are no exception.

RELATED: Does your dog run off a lot? Here are some tips to stop your dog from running away:

Animals, Cleaning & Organization, Home, Pets, Wild Animals

About the Author
Caroline Shannon-Karasik

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