Fragrance Disasters What to Do if Your Pet Is Sprayed by a Skunk

Written by Leanna Serras

Your dog just got sprayed by a skunk: What do you do now? It's important to take action immediately after your pet has been sprayed. If you don't, the odor will continue to linger in the air and seep into your pet's fur.

What to Do First

After your dog is sprayed, you might immediately think to bring it inside to get cleaned off, but don't: Keep your dog outside so the smell doesn't spread into the house. Then, check your dog's eyes to ensure that they didn't get sprayed. If you notice that they look red or irritated, flush them out with cold water. The next step is to remove the oils from their fur. The most successful known remedy is a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap. Put on some gloves and start the outdoor bath. Note that it is important to not leave this mixture on your dog's fur for too long, as it can actually bleach the fur and irritate the skin. Towel-dry your pet when done, and make sure to wash your clothes. Your dog should be stink-free!

Why Is a Skunk's Scent So Potent?

Skunks have two anal glands that produce their spray. The spray is made up of sulfurous chemicals called thiols, more commonly known as mercaptans. Why is the scent so potent? These chemicals often smell like rotten eggs, but thiol are also present in rotting flesh and feces. The longer you wait to remove them, the longer these oils seep into fur and linger in the air.

Why Is it so Hard to Remove the Skunk's Scent?

There are a few reasons why this stinky spray takes so long to remove. The obvious answer is the strength of the chemicals, but another part of the reason why it is so hard to remove is that the victims often use the incorrect remedies. Ever hear of using a tomato-juice bath or a commercial skunk scent remover? These fixes work about as well as trying to hide the scent with discount designer perfume or cologne.

Additional Pet Safety Measures

You can't always control what happens to your dog, but you can do your best to make your dog's environment safer. It's important to make sure your home is a safe and happy place for your furry friend.

Kitchens and bathrooms are often danger zones for pets. Place cleaning items and medications on high shelves or in cabinets, and don't leave food out on the counters, especially if you have a dog that is very tall or a good jumper. Make sure your trash cans are tightly sealed, too: A lot of food and trash items can be harmful to your pets.

Living rooms might seem harmless, but it's easy for a dog to nibble on a poisonous houseplant or chew up a television wire. Also, make sure not to leave small objects lying about, as they can be choking hazards.

Bedrooms often have great hiding places for your pets, such as closets or drawers. Make sure your pet doesn't find their way into one and fall asleep, though, or it could end up trapped. Another potential danger with closets is the clothing within: Shoelaces and buttons are choking hazards.

Garages are potentially the most dangerous area for your pets. If you live in a colder climate, antifreeze and salt might be lying around; make sure these items are safely stored away, as these can cause death. Also make sure that screws, nails, and other tools and supplies are safely stored away out of reach.

To ensure your pet's overall happiness, there are a few other important factors to consider. Make sure your pet is maintaining a healthy diet and gets enough exercise. Also, it's important to socialize your pets: You don't want your dog to be sitting inside alone all day, as it will make the animal feel lonely and isolated and can lead to bad behavior. Interaction and socialization are important for their happiness.