How to Properly Clean Your Dog After a Skunk Spray

How to Properly Clean Your Dog After a Skunk Spray

Labradors love exploring the great outdoors, but there is always a risk of them encountering a skunk. Skunk spray is a scent no one wants to smell, especially when it’s stuck to your furry friend. Before you run to grab the tomato juice, read these tried and true steps for safely cleaning your dog after a skunk spray.

How to Properly Clean Your Dog After a Skunk Spray

Step 1: Contain Your Pup

The first step in cleaning up your pup is to keep them from getting resprayed. Your dog may see the skunk as a chew toy or a threat, so keep them contained and away from the skunk. Skunks typically use their spray as a last resort when they feel threatened, so keeping your pup away should be enough to keep them safe. Keeping your dog outside while you clean them up is also essential. The cleaning process may be messy, so keeping your pup contained outdoors will prevent the smell from contaminating anything inside your house.

Step 2: Clean Your Dog’s Eyes

Depending on how close the skunk got to your pup, there’s a chance that some of the spray got in their eyes. We recommend cleaning your dog’s eyes to prevent any discomfort. You can cleanse Fido’s face and eyes with a washcloth and water or eye wash. There are many types of eye cleansers available, but it’s best to consult your veterinarian before using anything new. If your dog still shows indications of discomfort after you’ve cleaned its eyes, contact your veterinarian. Watch for symptoms such as watery eyes, excessive blinking or squinting, redness or swelling in or around the eyes, and temporary loss of vision.

Step 3: Prepare a Cleaning Solution

When it’s time to clean your pup, skip the tomato juice. Although this is a commonly-held solution, it does little except temporarily mask the smell and create a mess. Instead of creating a red mess and staining your lab’s beautiful coat, try making a homemade de-skunking solution. You likely already have all the ingredients for this home remedy, making it a quick fix. To make this shampoo, mix one quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, ¼ cup of baking soda, and one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap. We recommend combining these ingredients in a large, open container since the mixture will foam up and expand.

Once you are finished with your homemade shampoo, dispose of it. This mixture doesn’t store well, so prepare it fresh if you need it again. If a homemade solution doesn’t remove the smell, consider purchasing a store-bought de-skunking shampoo.

Step 4: Cleaning Your Dog’s Coat

Before applying anything to your dog’s fur, put on a pair of rubber gloves that cover your hands and forearms. This will help in keeping skunk oil off your skin. Carefully work the paste into your dog’s coat, avoiding their eyes. Rinse off the mixture quickly to prevent it from bleaching your dog’s coat, and repeat a few times if necessary. The chemicals in this mixture will react with the chemicals in the skunk spray, reducing the smell significantly. When finished, rinse Fido thoroughly to ensure no peroxide is left in their fur.

If your homemade mixture isn’t effective, consider purchasing a de-skunking shampoo from a nearby store. You can also use a storebought shampoo after applying the peroxide mix to double-cleanse. After thoroughly cleaning your dog, we recommend using a deep conditioner to restore the lost moisture. Use an old towel to dry your dog, then keep them in a warm room until they are fully dry.

Step 5: Clean Your Area

After de-skunking your pet, it is crucial to take care of any clothing that may have come into contact with the skunk spray. Wash the affected clothing with a laundry product specifically designed to eliminate odors and then allow the clothing to air dry. An alternative option is to add half a cup of baking soda to your laundry to help remove the skunk smell. Additionally, remember to thoroughly clean the area where you washed your pet to eliminate any lingering odors.

Things to Keep in Mind

Be careful not to get anything in your pup’s eyes when cleaning. If the skunk directly sprayed your dog, it may be impossible to completely remove the smell on the first try. In the future, you can take steps to prevent your pup from getting sprayed again. Skunks are most active during dawn and dusk, so we suggest you avoid walking your pets in wooded areas at these times. As mentioned earlier, skunks usually only spray others as a last resort. Work on your dog’s recall to ensure you can keep them from running up to a skunk and encouraging it to spray.

Check out these related blogs for more dog tips!

Caring for Your Labrador’s Coat

Taking Your Dog on a Hike

Bathing and Grooming Your Labrador

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