Many a curious dog has been known to go off to investigate the smell of a skunk only to come back with a face full of skunk spray. The nauseating odor can take days to come out and makes him as bad as a skunk. Tomato juice and vinegar baths or perfume are often recommended as ways to help mask the smell, but they don’t remove the spray altogether.
After you’ve checked your dog for injuries - scratches, bites, and swelling or discharge in the eyes - it’s time to begin cleaning with a solution that will break down the spray. If you do find injuries, call your vet. Skunks can carry rabies and other diseases, so a vet visit is a must.
As soon as you realize your dog has come into contact with a skunk, you will want to act fast. Skunks release an oil in their spray and it will sink further into your dog’s coat the longer you wait. This means more cleaning to get your dog smelling fresh once more.
You will also want to avoid bringing your dog inside if at all possible. That smell will permeate the area, and you will have to clean your house after finishing with your dog. Use a bucket and hose for outdoor washing, stick to a laundry room, or open the bathroom window if you must go inside.
Mix up the solution you will use to remove the skunk spray. Options include:
Try to avoid urban myths like tomato sauce. Those can mask smells but will not get rid of the oils, which is necessary to clean it away.
Once you have your cleaning solution ready, lather it into your dog’s coat. You will need to work it in well, and let it sit for five minutes. Keep any cleaning products away from his eyes as they can be damaging and don’t let your dog lick at their coat while the product is on. After five minutes, rinse your dog and repeat the wash if the smell lingers.
To avoid future skunk encounters, keep skunks out of your yard by removing access to food and monitor your dog whenever you walk in an area where skunks are present.