• Pet Waggin' Pet Care Team

The Ultimate Guide to De-Skunking Your Pet


It’s one of every pet owner’s worst fears.


You take your pup for a nice leisurely stroll through the neighborhood, enjoying the cool spring breeze when you hear a rustle in the bushes ahead of you. Well, you think you did, but you KNOW your four-legged friend definitely did because he’s alert and ready for action!  You tighten your grip on his leash and pray it’s just a lizard. Time slows down as you watch that short, round, black and white body waddle out and those beady eyes stare right at you. Your breath hitches.


Before you know it, you’ve blinked, madness has ensued, and your pup is covered in the stench of skunk while the offending rascal is nowhere to be found. Now what?



If this has ever happened to you, you’ve probably tried everything from tomato juice baths to bargaining with deities. If it hasn’t happened to you, you’re probably already thinking of your friends’ horror stories and wondering if you have any tomato juice in your pantry. Don’t worry (and go make yourself a bloody mary! 😉), we’re here to make sure that if this ever happens to your pet, you’ll know exactly what to do.


First steps:

1) Stay outside.  Make sure you keep your pooch outside so that you don’t have to worry about tracking the smell inside.  Getting rid of odors off your pet is much easier when you’re not worrying about the odor getting stuck in the carpet and furniture.


2) Check your pet’s eyes.  Immediately check to see if your dog has caught any of the spray in his eyes.  You’ll know if he did if his eyes are red, irritated, or watery. If they are, flush them with cool water.  This can be done using an outside hose (just be careful) or a bottle of water. Keep rinsing until you’re sure they’re thoroughly flushed.  Continue to flush his eyes throughout the rest of the process as you don’t want to continually irritate his eyes with other irritants during the washing process.


3) Grab your supplies.  You’ll need to either stay in the clothes you were in or throw on clothes you don’t mind getting smelly (don’t worry, we’ll give you tips to de-smell your clothes too!)  Besides your cleaning supplies, which we’ll go over below, you’ll also want a pair of gloves, a hose for rinsing, and an old towel or two. (Pro tip: Having an extra set of gloves, an old towel and a pair of old sweatpants and a t-shirt ready to go in an easily accessible place, like the garage will make this process a lot easier should a stink attack happen, because they are happening here in Long Beach!)



Suds and Stuff:

1) A good dog shampoo designed to get rid of odors is imperative to make sure your pup is back to normal. We recommend Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover or De-Skunk Odor Destroying Shampoo.  Both can be purchased from Amazon.  (Note: we recommend getting the original if you go with Nature’s Miracle instead of the Lavender, especially if you are a multiple pet household.  Most pets, especially cats, recognize each other by smell. Adding an additional floral scent on top of skunk can be overwhelming for some pets).


2) Before you start shampooing your pet, you’ll want to get the majority of the odor out using a secret recipe that was given to us by our wonderful client, Vicki. Vicki has a friend who is a rancher who runs into this problem quite often! He has tried many solutions and recipes and swears by this one!


  • 1 can evaporated milk

  • 1 can condensed milk

  • Hydrogen peroxide

  • Dog Shampoo


Scrub-a-Dub-Dub:

Grab your gloves and get to scrubbin’! Here’s the best way to ensure you get all the odor out:


  1. It’s typically pretty obvious to tell where the skunk hit your dog. Try to focus your cleaning efforts on that one area so you don’t spread the skunk oil around. Mix the evaporated and condensed milk together and dab it on where the damage has been done. Try to keep it on the fur level and avoid having it soak into the skin if possible. Let the milk solution dry as much as possible and then pick the flakes off with your fingers or a paper towel.

  2. Once you’re done with the milk mix, it’s time for the peroxide and shampoo mix.  Create a solution made up of 50% peroxide and 50% dog shampoo. Lather and soak the solution into the offending area. Again, this is not the time to do a full body wash! We don’t want to get any of that skunk oil anywhere else.

  3. Rinse thoroughly to ensure all milk, peroxide, and shampoo has been removed from your pet’s fur.

  4. Grab your old towels and dry your four-legged friend off so that he doesn’t get chilled.  Keep him in a warm room so he can dry off and stay warm.


Self-care

If your clothes got hit in the shoot out and they are clothes you want to keep, they can easily be laundered with detergent, a half cup of baking soda, and a splash of vinegar in the washing machine to get back to good as new!  If you got any on your skin, you can use the same peroxide mixed with your shampoo or body wash to get rid of the odors. Just make sure you don’t leave it on too long and that you hop in the shower to ensure it’s all rinsed off thoroughly.



The Experts

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, or how many times you rinse and repeat, the smell continues to linger.  If that’s the case, we recommend Signal Hill Pet Grooming! Signal Hill Pet Grooming is our go-to groomer in the area. We’re fortunate enough to be able to partner with them and support another local business in the Long Beach and Signal Hill areas. Your pet is never left unattended at their salon and they treat your pets with the utmost care and compassion - the same way we do. They even have special equipment for elderly pets who have trouble standing for long periods of time. When the smell can’t be beat, then we recommend taking your pet to Signal Hill Pet Grooming. When we called and talked to the experts at Signal Hill, they mentioned that they use their signature blueberry scented shampoo as it’s the best at covering up the skunk odor; however, sometimes it just really takes time for strong odors such as skunk to dissipate.


Be Prepared

If you live in a heavily skunk populated area, it’s a good idea to have a plan of action in mind should something like this happen. Make sure to have your ingredients, some old towels, and a hose ready to go in a place easily accessible, like the garage, so that you don’t have to wander through the house, gathering items, while smelling like PePe Le Pew!  In your “go kit,” make sure to have the number for Signal Hill Pet Grooming. When you can’t get it out yourself, take it to the experts!

P.S. Let’s be honest. A good majority of the time, our dogs get skunked because they are curious and run after the skunks hoping to play or attack! This can be prevented with good leash manners, which our dog trainer, Carolyn, specializes in. Considering all of the skunks around Long Beach this time of year, now is the time to hop on a training program to avoid the extra curiosity and leash pulling your dog might do when another furry animal appears on their walk.

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