Your Dog Sprayed by Skunk? Don’t Panic, Take a Deep Breath, and Follow These Steps

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Your Dog Sprayed by Skunk ?
For my first veterinary job, I worked for a clinic in a small farming community. Needless to say, we had our share of dogs that tangled with area wildlife. When I had to help an owner with a dog sprayed by skunk, I would offer them some of the following advice:
Table of Contents

First, What Not to Do

If your pup comes home smelling like a skunk, your first inclination might be to get him in the bathtub or to soak him with tomato juice, but not so fast. You should avoid:

OK, Now Tell Me What to Do

Before you begin

Wait, you just told me to go to work right away… While you don’t want to delay de-skunking very long, that’s not your first step. First, check Fido over from head to tail.

Keep your fur-baby outside

The last thing you want to do is bring your pooch into the house where the odor could soak into fabrics and other items inside. Tie or kennel your pup while you collect your supplies:

De-Skunk Your Dog

While there are some commercial skunk odor products on the market, you probably won’t have them on hand the first time. Good news! you can also use common household products to make a home-made remedy to neutralize the odor:


The Next Step

How Do You Treat a Skunk’s Spray in a Dog’s Eye?

If you think your pup got skunk spray in his eyes, or if you see any of the following signs, flush the eyes with a sterile saline solution as soon as possible:
The oil can be damaging to tissues in the eye, so it’s important to act quickly. After you provide this first aid care, contact your veterinarian for a follow-up exam and treatment. In the meantime, keep Fido from pawing at his face to prevent injury.

Skunk Spray Is Not Only Smelly But Dangerous?

Besides the unbearable stench, there’s another reason that you want to de-sunk your pooch ASAP. Skunk spray can be deadly. There are toxic chemicals in the substance that are similar to those found in onions or garlic. Depending on the amount and location of skunk spray on Fido, the toxic effects can include:


In rare cases, dogs can develop anemia after exposure to skunk spray. If the spray gets in open wounds or on the membranes around the mouth or eyes, it might enter the bloodstream. The chemicals can destroy red blood cells leading to anemia. After an encounter with a skunk, watch for signs like:
Symptoms can appear as long as 24 hours after the spraying occurs. When you see these signs, it’s crucial that you get Fido to your veterinarian. Delaying treatment can result in death.


When your four-footed pal meets up with a skunk, they may get more than spray. Often, these wild animals will bite before turning tail to eject their smelly oils. If there are any wounds on your furbaby, take them to your veterinarian. You’ll want to seek treatment to head off potential infections.
Remember, skunks can be rabies carriers as well. Your pup’s doctor will probably want to take preventative measures just in case.

Symptoms of Skunk Spray in Dogs

Besides the obvious reek, you may see other symptoms after Fido gets sprayed by a skunk:

Skunk Smell Aftercare

Any of these symptoms should trigger a call to your veterinarian for a check-up.

Monitor Your Pal

When you’re done cleaning your furbaby, watch him for the next few days for signs of a toxic reaction. If you see any of the symptoms mentioned in previous sections, contact your veterinarian.

What if Fido Still Smells?

Even after you de-skunk Fido you might notice a residual odor on the fur, especially when he gets wet. This should fade over time. If you just can’t take it, make an appointment with your groomer.

What If He Got Sprayed in the Yard?

If your pup met up with the skunk in your yard, keep him away from the area until the smell is gone. You don’t want him to pick up more oil when he’s playing outside.

Where Does Skunk Spray Come From?

Skunks spray the oily substance from two sacs called anal glands that are under the tail. The chemical is a combination of molecules called “thiols” that are also found in decaying carcasses.

How to Avoid Getting Skunked Again?

There’s no sure fire way to guarantee that your four-footed friend won’t get skunked again, but you can do some things to make it far less likely:

What About the Skunk?

If the skunk is anywhere to be found, you can check to make sure it’s alright. Remember to be safe. The critter may still be on high alert, and you don’t want to get sprayed!
Call animal control if you find an injured skunk or if you think the animal is living on your property. Keep your pooch away from the area to prevent second spraying.
If Fido managed to kill the skunk, you can contact your veterinarian or animal control to find out how you can have it tested for rabies.

How To Keep Skunks Away From the House?

Modify The Habitat

In addition to keeping a lid on your trash cans and removing any food from the yard, you can try the following to discourage skunks from coming on your property:

Skunk Repellents

Wildlife management experts tell us the best prevention is to remove food and modify the habitat. Applying skunk repellents alone will probably not keep the animals away. However, you can try one of the substances below in combination with other measures:

Final Thoughts

No one wants to deal with Eau de Skunk. But it happens.If you live in a place where there are skunks, consider stocking up on the ingredients for a de-skunking solution. Stay alert and take appropriate preventative measures.
Be prepared to give your special pal the care they need by understanding the signs and symptoms of a toxic response. If you have any questions or concerns, call your vet. Do all you can to keep your dog safe and healthy.
Your dog got sprayed by a skunk, share your story in the comments below.
Speedy in Hollywood, LA

One request from Speedy

Dr. Libby Guise put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to the dog parent community. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media networks.

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Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.