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How To Deskunk Your Dog

Petmate Academy

November 12, 2020

We've all smelt it while driving down the road. You may have even encountered one yourself! The misunderstood skunk. Accidently coming across and scaring a skunk can cause you or your dog to get sprayed. But that's not even the worst part.

What's the worst part of it, you ask? The scent left behind! It's very potent and can linger for days! For dogs however, it can be even worse. Since our four-legged friends have a heightened sense of smell, the scent of a skunk is even more potent, and can cause unusual behavior if not treated at an early stage. Keep reading for tips on how to treat and get rid of that horrible skunk smell, but first, a brief overview of what we're up against!


Commonly found in the United States, Canada, South America, and Mexico, skunks are small, furry creatures renowned for their black and white stripes, and yet, you guessed it, their fairly unpleasant smell. When encountered, it's best not to draw near nor convey any action, as the skunk is known for its distinct defense mechanism: unpleasant odors produced from their excellently-developed scent glands. Skunks have two glands, located on each side of the anus. These glands are the ones responsible for producing the skunk's spray, identified as having a mixture of sulfur-containing chemicals, such as thiols, which give off an offensive odor. Thiols gives the said spray a certain scent of a burnt tire, garlic, or a sulfur smell.


Skunk with its tail raised


Before spraying, skunks are known to often charge at an attacker, stomp on its front legs, or hiss. However, if the skunk still feels threatened or frightened, it will shoot a severely smelly and oily substance from the glands underneath their tail with a range of up to 10 feet! Unfortunately for the receiving end of the said substance, the scent can last for days. Luckily, the substance causes no harm whatsoever. Additionally, it's also good to know that, unless threatened, skunks are not aggressive, and won't harm humans.


Incidents like your dog encountering a skunk can happen quite often depending on where you live, so it's best to ensure that your house has some of the most basic deskunking necessities on hand. Some of them may even already be present in your home!

To deskunk your dog, common items you'll need are hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap. With the right combination, these chemicals actually have the ability to neutralize that skunk smell.

Here's How:

1. Prepare 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide (950ml)

2. Pour the hydrogen peroxide into a large bowl or container

3. Add 1/4 cup of baking soda (59ml) to bowl

4. To help with lifting the oily substance off your pooch, add 1 Tbsp of dish soap (15 ml)

5. Mix the elements in the bowl until the substance becomes slurry

6. Dab using an old cloth and apply the mixture to your pooch wherever needed

7. Once applied, allow the ingredients to work their magic, and let it soak for 5 minutes. The ingredients work by oxygenating the thiols, breaking them up, and attaches more molecules, then neutralizes the sulfur smell. For this method to work really well, consider dabbing two applications.

8. After 5 minutes, proceed with rinsing, and repeat as needed

9. For finishing touches, you'll always have the option to proceed with a traditional bath using baby shampoo, to give your dog that refreshing, clean feeling.


In some cases, residual traces of thiols can still be present in your home, especially if it rains, or your dog goes for a swim. It's best to use an environmentally-friendly disinfectant spray with your favorite scent to fend off the unpleasant odor. Another excellent option is to take a wet rag, soak it in a mixture of water and fabric softener, and apply it over any affected area of your home. The effects of the thiols will eventually disappear over time.


While there are commercial remedies out there that are readily available, it helps to be in the know of some do-it-yourself tips and tricks when dealing with this stinky problem. Additionally, to do yourself a favor in the future, make sure that your yard does not attract any more skunks. Avoid leaving food outside, and make sure garbage bins and lids are safely secured. Prevention is always much easier and less costly than the cure.


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