How to Clean a Dog Sprayed by a Skunk

Once again, I turn the blog reins over to my beautiful bride, who writes at  This time she’s sharing one of our most important recipes… A recipe for which we always have ingredients on hand…  A recipe that has saved us more than once after moving out here…  Take it away, Joanna.


I find Pinterest mildly annoying, so you’ll know I am serious when I make this request:

Please pin the above picture. Pin it and pin it good.  Pin it hard.  Pin it so it goes viral.  Pin it so all the world can be saved!  Saved from what you ask?  From a dog.  A skunky dog.


Ugh.  You heard me.  A skunky dog.


Our fateful day was Monday.  The Toddler had gone to bed for the night, I was preparing to write a blog post and The Husband had just stepped out the back door to spend some man time in his Man Cave.  The Destroyer, our Labrador Retriever who (sometimes) answers to Sadie, whose name has been officially changed to Smelly, accompanied The Husband outside but never made it to the Man Cave.  Something piqued her interest and she was off.  We own several acres so it’s anyone’s guess where exactly she went.

Five minutes later I hear her barking at the front door. I called The Husband on his cell and asked him if he had lost his dog.

Yeah,” he said, “she took off.  Can you let her in for me before she wakes the kid?

Sure,” I said, “no problem.”  Except it was.  It was most definitely a problem.

I let Smelly in and immediately noticed it.  The smell.  It was akin to plastic, but the worst plastic, a burning plastic.  To be honest, my first thought was not the dog.  Our friend John had just posted on Facebook that very morning about a strong plastic smell permeating throughout his house and I was immediately curious as to how his random house smell had managed to travel an hour and a half in one day to become our random house smell.

I called The Husband on his cell again and asked him to come inside as there was a smell.  A bad smell.  In the meantime, Smelly had dashed in madly through the front door, into the wood stove room, veering right to slide crazily through the kitchen and into the back entryway, stopping only when she reached the back door.  She was in search of The Husband.  He came into the house through the back door.

Ugh.  What is that?  It’s worse over here.” he said.

Worse over there?   Oh no.  Oh no, it’s not the dog is it?” I asked.

Oh.”  The Husband sniffed Smelly.  “Oh.  Oh, it’s definitely the dog.  What is that smell?  Skunk?  It’s skunk.  She ran into a skunk.  Ahhh, crap, SHE RAN INTO A SKUNK!  What do we do?

My response was simple.  “Outside.  Take the damn dog outside.  NOW!”  I tossed the Husband a leash and he tied Smelly up on the back deck while I stepped inside to the comfort of the skunk free bedroom and hid.  It was time to decide what kind of person I was.  Do I woman up and help out or continue to hide?

I decided I could do both.  I could help, yet remain a safe distance from the dog.  The Husband had suggested Google, but I went straight to the experts and called the local Emergency Vet instead.  When I explained what our lab had done the tech had only one question for me “Is she a Chocolate Lab?’’

Why yes, yes she is.”

I thought so,” said the tech.  “They tend to be a little crazy.  You should consider a Black Lab next time, they have a much better temperament.

Oh no, this is our last lab.  Ever.  Can you help with the skunk smell?”  Turns out she could.  They had a recipe.  A recipe for a de-skunk-erizer.  It goes like this.


1 quart hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup baking soda
1 tablespoon Dawn dish soap

The Haps

Mix ingredients.  Wash only the areas sprayed by the skunk, avoiding the eyes, nose, ears and mouth.  Rinse thoroughly.


A skunk’s musky badness is oil-based.  The hydrogen peroxide cuts the oil and allows it to be washed away.

Great.  GREAT!  No, not great.  I didn’t have all these ingredients.  I only had maybe a half pint of hydrogen peroxide, which was expired, and while I had dish soap, it wasn’t Dawn dish soap.  Did it matter what brand of dish soap???  Not worth the risk.  I had to shop.

I left The Husband outside in the cold to babysit the frantic pooch and drove away.  Away from the smell.  It may have been my subconscious self preservation instincts kicking in, but I drove past the dollar store, past the local mom and pop grocery store and on down the road to the larger chain store.  I told myself I needed the best chance of finding the freshest, most exact ingredients but I’m pretty sure I mostly wanted to get as far away from the situation as possible.  After all, as I was about to drive away The Husband made sure to confirm I would be helping him, right?  Right.  Right-ish.

As an apology for the fact I had already decided I would remain safely upwind and at least ten feet from the dog at all times, I picked The Husband up two bags of Oreos.  He was going to need them.  In fact, I might have one now as I type this post.

Armed with my supplies, I returned home with only one frantic call from The Husband questioning my whereabouts.

I had made the call to the vet, I had internally agreed not to drop the dog off at the pound the next morning, and I had shopped for supplies.  Was that enough help I wondered?  No.  I needed one more thing to really cinch my support.  I suggested to The Husband he run the hose inside from the stationary tub so he could have warm water on this chilly night and I was done!  It was time to pop open the Oreos, grab my camera and watch from a distance.

And watch I did.

I watched as The Husband scrubbed.


And scrubbed.


And scrubbed some more.


After three scrubbings, a collar change and some ribbing by me for The Husband wearing his now 16 year old high school Varsity Tennis warmup sweatshirt (Go New Phila Fighting Quakers! Yes, that was really their name.) and what I affectionately call his Dad Pants (they are actual jeans previously owned by the Father-In-Law) Smelly smelled more like a wet dog than a skunky wet dog.  Enough so that I let her sleep in the bedroom that night.  Not near my side of the bed, but in the same room.  I’m adding that to my list of how supportive I was.

Driving down the road a few days later, I passed by this poor fellow.


Don’t judge, but I am secretly hoping it’s Smelly’s skunk.  So this incident doesn’t repeat itself.  Because Smelly doesn’t exactly learn her lessons the first time.  Or the second.  Or the third.  I bought six quarts of hydrogen peroxide just to be safe.

So please, if you have a dog and have any possibility of ever being anywhere within the vicinity of a skunk, for Pete’s sake keep your dog on a leash at dusk!!

And keep this recipe as well as a stash of hydrogen peroxide, Dawn and baking soda around just in case your dog ends up like our dog.


Poor, sweet Sadie pup.  She doesn’t look too happy there either.  We love here.  Even when she’s a pain in the ass.

Posted in Homestead, Pest Control Tagged with: ,
12 comments on “How to Clean a Dog Sprayed by a Skunk
  1. Yuck! I have personally never had the privilege of having to de-skunk a dog. (And, by the way, Joanna, I think your efforts were Noble and Heroic.) I do keep this stuff on hand, though, at my house and at my parents’ house just in case!
    Christine @ Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers recently posted…Tulips, Chickens, and a Tire SwingMy Profile

  2. I need to make sure I have these items, I could see our Australian Shepherd chasing down a skunk! 🙂
    Thanks for posting.
    Tanya @ Seven Springs Homestead recently posted…Foraging: American PokeweedMy Profile

  3. Jessica says:

    I wonder if the recipe works on ducks. That duo gets in trouble more than a skittish pair of ducks should.
    Jessica recently posted…7 Tips to Home & Garden ShowsMy Profile

    • Mike says:

      Now you have me wondering if skunk spray would not stick to ducks as well, since they have an oily coating.

      And NOW you have me wondering if I can somehow get a huge lineup of various animals and get them all sprayed in order to compare. You know, for science.

  4. Logan says:

    I can only say I know this experience all too well.

    Our Chocolate Lab (Jake) did the same thing at about 1.5 yr old. He learned his lesson though, and since keeps a safe distance when approaching strange animals.

    Don’t believe the temperament thing though. Our black lab is much crazier and much more looney. Love labs.

    • Mike says:

      My wife will probably be by shortly to see if you’d like to adopt one more lab…

  5. Patrick says:

    Okay going to book mark this post, hopefully I will never have to come back to it.
    Patrick recently posted…Strawberries, Snakes And PuppiesMy Profile

  6. Barbara says:

    I remember my parents washing down our skunky sheepdog with tomato juice. Dog was put into the big laundry sink and opened cans of juice and did whatever they did. I was back up in the attic fast cos it stank. But the dog smelled ok in the morning, the house was still rank. That is what I remember from back in the 1960’s.
    Barbara recently posted…SATURDAY ALTERNATIVE CARTOONS: OCTOBER 29, 2016My Profile

  7. K Potts says:

    Don’t use this on ducks! They won’t bother a skunk enough to get sprayed anyway. One of our golden retrievers was a skunk magnet; if there was one around it found its way into the yard so that she could chase it and get sprayed. I use these ingredients but do not measure as I am usually in a hurry to rid the area and dog of the smell as quickly as possible. It works every time. My baby Ursa died about 10 years ago and we have not had nearly as many skunks around even though we have goldens still🤔.

  8. Tawnya knipp says:

    What do you do if it got in their eyes?

  9. Christine says:

    Our yellow was just skunked. Thankful just one of the 2. The mixture seemed to work pretty well. Now trying to air out the house with open windows and bowls of vinegar all around. Yikes. I hope he learned this lesson on the first time!

  10. Scott and Amy says:

    Last Spring and now in The Fall this pin is immensely timely and effective.

    More than one dose seems to be mandatory.

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "How to Clean a Dog Sprayed by a Skunk"
  1. […] Gentlemen Homesteading Consultant shares a post that every dog owner needs to read — How to Clean a Dog Sprayed by a Skunk. Trust me, you’re just going to want to get the stuff and keep it on hand… just in case […]

  2. […] How to Clean a Dog Sprayed by a Skunk from Gentleman Homesteading Consultant — We have not yet had the pleasure of trying this recipe out… but we keep the ingredients on hand just in case! […]

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