How to De-Skunk Your Dog

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When you live in the country, it’s a pretty great life. However, there are some things that stink about it. Literally.

We recently had a run-in with a skunk that thought it would be a great idea to live under the barn. Unfortunately, Duke was the one that made this discovery. The hard way.

Here it was, about 10:30 pm and I was about to go to bed. As usual, I let the dogs out to use the bathroom one more time before calling it a night. We stepped out onto the patio, and both dogs instantly looked towards the barn. Then Duke let out a bark! and took off running! I looked and saw an animal, but it was dark and I couldn’t tell what it was. I grabbed my shoes and ran after Duke, who was now just standing next to the barn, sniffing the ground.

I got over to him, grabbed him by the collar…

And then I smelled it.


How to De-Skunk Your Dog | A Lesson in Country Life from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

I immediately gave Duke a bath and then promptly soaked him down with an entire gallon of apple cider vinegar. ACV normally gets the smell out of ANYTHING. It seemed to work, and we went to bed.

At 3 am the smell woke me up. It was horrifying. The whole HOUSE smelled like skunk!

At 3:30 I was walking through WalMart getting what I needed to de-skunk him. I contacted a friend whose dog would regularly get “skunked” when we lived in North Carolina. At one point she even had to throw away furniture because her dog ran in the door and onto the sofa… right after getting sprayed! If anyone knew what to do, it would be her. It took her advice and combined it with some information that I found online.

Here’s what I did to de-skunk Duke.


How to De-Skunk Your Dog | A Lesson in Country Life from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

Here’s what you need:

  • a small bucket
  • rubber gloves
  • a sponge or rags
  • 1 quart – 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 c baking soda
  • 1 tsp dish soap – I used original blue Dawn when I did this
  • dog shampoo
  • A 4-pack of feminine douche, the vinegar kind – yes, I know that sounds crazy, but trust me. 

First of all, do this as soon as possible. If you know you have skunks around and there is a chance you could have a “skunk incident” keep these supplies on hand somewhere. You could even keep them all in the small bucket as your “skunk kit.” The longer the skunk is on the dog, the harder it will be to get the smell out. In doing my research, I learned that “skunk smell” can last as long as 2 YEARS!!!

Now, you want to do this outside if you can. The smell – even if your dog doesn’t touch anything, will permeate your house and take days to get rid of. If you can’t do it outside, lay down a tarp or an old blanket that you can discard when you are finished.

In the bucket, combine the hydrogen peroxide, the baking soda and the dish soap. Don your rubber gloves, and swirl your hand in the mixture to combine it. It may bubble a bit, and that’s fine.

Now, grab your poor, stinky puppy and dip the sponge or rag into the solution. Begin working this into your dog’s fur, especially concentrating where he got sprayed. Use the cloth to carefully go around the eyes and ears. Don’t get this in their eyes!

* If you have a dog with thick or long hair, you will probably want to double the batch of solution. Duke has short hair, and weighs 70 lbs.

How to De-Skunk Your Dog | A Lesson in Country Life from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

How to De-Skunk Your Dog | A Lesson in Country Life from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

Once he is completely soaked with the mixture, rinse it out and give him a good shampooing with normal pet shampoo.

Then the weird part. Take the feminine douches and pour them all over him. Rub it all into the fur, and think of this as a “final rinse.”

This is what I did, and amazingly it worked! Even after Duke was dry, the smell was 99% gone. When he got sprayed by the skunk, he got a direct “face shot.” It was in his eye and in his ear. If I put my nose right in his face, I could smell it around his eye, and if I stuck my nose down in his ear.  I mixed a little more of the solution and carefully repeated the process around his eye and ear.

That did the trick. Thank heavens!!!

Something to note – doing this may dry your dog’s fur a little, and may actually bleach the fur a touch. Duke did seem a little paler afterwards, but just barely. After we finished all of this, I sprayed him down with a dog spray that is a “perfume” for dogs, but has conditioners in it to moisturize the fur & skin. (This is the one I have.) We’ve had no further issues.

I hope like crazy that you NEVER have to use this. But if you do, this is what worked for me. If you came across this tutorial in a moment of desperation, I am so sorry!!! I hope this works as well for you as it did for me. When it is all said and done, I’m honestly glad it was a skunk and not a porcupine, which was my first thoughts when I saw the animal off in the distance that evening. It could have been so much worse.

Oh, and by the way. The day after this…I got to work building the fence!

4 thoughts on “How to De-Skunk Your Dog”

  1. Think of a 6 lb Yorkie getting skunked and having to catch running like a banchie all over the house because she got it RIGHT in face. This was back in early 2000s and it wasn’t easy, but found a similar recipe using ACV but no douch afterwards. Thank Yah it worked! This recipe seems a little milder on the animal, so I’m keeping this one as well in my animal arsenal! Thanks Constance 😊 Shalom 🥰

  2. Yep, just had this happen yesterday afternoon. One way to ruin a good sandwich and my u-tube time but it has to be done. Oatmeal dog shampoo and a half gallon of ACV seemed to do the trick. I love that stuff. Honey is a shop dog so no furniture ruined. Good luck everyone!

  3. We had a dog get “skunked” one year. It was horrible. I had never been around FRESH skunk spray. It’s such an intense aroma and the fumes actually burned my eyes. My neighbor’s dog got sprayed the year before and I went and knocked on her door about 10:30 pm. She opened her door, holding the “deskunk shampoo” in hand. That worked pretty well, but her collar couldn’t be saved, it had to be thrown away.

    To make matters worse, my husband had just came home from the hospital from a major surgery and we had a difficult guest staying with us for a week! I must say, I shed a LOT of tears and had more than a couple of adult beverages that week.

    Glad your pup didn’t have a run in with a porcupine…that would have been just awful.


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