How to Bathe a Dog Sprayed by a Skunk

30 - 60 Minutes
1 Day


Molly, a Border Collie living on a small farm, is used to protecting her turf from the various wild critters that inhabit her rural neighborhood. She barks and hassles the wildlife that venture too close to her yard, and usually, they leave--or suffer her wrath! But Molly's owner also owns several partially feral cats that she feeds outside in one of the sheds. Eventually, a skunk discovers the cache of cat food available to any enterprising wildlife that dares to enter Molly's territory. A recipe for disaster! The skunk is not scared of Molly, he has a secret weapon: sulfurous compounds that he can shoot 15 feet from his anal glands. Molly is about to find out all about it!  

If you live in a rural area, or even if you don’t, your dog is liable to come into contact with a skunk sooner or later, and your dog will probably react in very dog-like fashion, by barking and threatening the strange critter that has come across her path, resulting in your dog getting sprayed by the skunk, and chaos ensuing.

Dog's Perspective

If your dog has been sprayed by a skunk, he will smell, really bad!  So bad even your dog will be upset about the smell, and that is saying something. Your dog may be excited, scared, and confused, and running about all over the place, sharing his skunky smell with all and sundry. This makes dealing with a skunk scent covered dog quite difficult. To make matters worse, your dog may have been sprayed in the face when they confronted the skunk. A dog that gets skunk spray in the face may be dealing with irritated eyes and nasal passages, which are painful. You will want to neutralize the skunk smell as soon as possible, but dealing in a relaxed, patient way while avoiding getting contaminated with skunk spray is going to be necessary to calm your dog down so you can effectively treat and bathe your skunky dog without upsetting him further and spreading skunk odor everywhere.

Caution & Considerations

  • Avoid skunk spray if possible! Do not leave pet food out where it can attract skunks, keep your dog contained, especially at sundown or dusk when skunks are most active. Put trash and compost away in skunk-proof containers.

  • Decontaminate eyes as soon as possible by rinsing with water or appropriate eye wash.

  • Keep your dog outside during the bathing process, if possible.

  • Mix home remedies as needed. Don't store a baking soda mixture, it will explode.

  • Eyes and skin can be irritated by skunk spray or by a neutralizer used, use caution.

  • Keep vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, as well as commercial neutralizer, out of your dog's eyes.

  • Consider having commercial neutralizer available in case you need it, or the ingredients for a homemade neutralizer.


If you can avoid having your dog sprayed by a skunk, that is highly recommended, obviously! However, in the event your dog is sprayed, don't panic. Your dog will survive, and so will you, it will just be unpleasant and very very smelly! If you live in an area where skunks are frequent visitors, have hydrogen peroxide or a commercial skunk neutralizer on hand so you are prepared, and remember this too shall pass.  Eventually!

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