DIY Solutions To Rid Your Pet of Musky Eau de Skunk Smell

If you have a dog and a piece of remote land where he is free to roam around, chances are the day will come when your buddy comes home smelling like he swam in a pond of liquid skunk, lol.

As anyone who has gone through this will tell you, the “fragrance” is overwhelming and seemingly impossible to get rid of.

The good news is that although this chore is a major, unpleasant hassle (and I say that without exaggeration), it is doable to get rid of that stank with a little bit of elbow grease and a few items from the pantry.

I’ve organized my collection of home remedies for you to try including the much sought Krebaum’s Formula that many swear by (Source: University of Nebraska Lincoln – pdf). It’s been publicly available for a few decades and a tried-and-true success.

Before Starting:

The first thing to note is to keep the animal outside, this will safeguard against him rolling around on the floor, rubbing against furniture or even shaking his coat out…attempting to free himself of the nastiness. This will only rub the chemicals off inside your house and no one wants that!

Be careful to keep any of the treatments below out of the ears, eyes and mouth. Soak a washcloth in the chosen solution and use that to apply near these areas.

Krebaum’s Formula

Caution: This recipe must not be sealed or stored in a container or spray bottle as it can explode (don’t let that scare you, just be smart about handling it). Apparently this is one of the reasons why the recipe is freely available rather than being commercially packaged and sold, it could blow up on store shelves!

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart of fresh (not old or out-dated) 3% hydrogen peroxide (from a pharmacy) – store bought is only 1.5%
  • 1/4 cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) – to act as a buffer
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid soap – to alkalize the peroxide (Soft Soap or Ivory Liquid, don’t use shampoo or detergent)

If it’s for a larger dog, 1 quart of lukewarm water can be added.

Mix in an open, plastic pail and use immediately. Wear latex gloves when applying.

Directions:

  • Lather thoroughly and deeply into fur. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse well.
  • Do procedure outside, and if you have plastic goggles–wear them. Dogs especially are notorious for shaking their coat out when wet, you don’t want this stuff getting into your eyes.
  • Solution can be used on people, animals, clothing, or outdoors where needed.

More Home Remedies To Try

*Remember to wear latex gloves and protect pet’s eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Combine 1 part with 2 parts of warm water. Squirt the mixture all over his fur and really scrub it in. Allow to soak for 5 minutes then rinse him off.
  • We’ve all heard of the tomato juice soak, is it really effective? Well if you have a bunch handy, there’s no harm in trying it. Some swear it helps while others say it’s a dud.
  • Toothpaste Tip (from comments below): Squirt a tube of toothpaste all over the pooch, work into fur and scrub away.
  • Regina & Sunshine Trish (from comments): Straight vinegar, or a 50/50 mix with water. Leave it on for awhile before washing off.
  • Shared by another tipster below: “I used to work with a woman who had worked for animal control in the past. She told me that the best way to de-skunk your pet was to bathe them with dawn dish soap and to rinse them with straight vinegar, and to not follow up with a water rinse. The degreasing powers of dawn get rid of the oily spray, and the vinegar acts as a deodorizer.”

Skunks can carry rabies, take to vet immediately if you find any bleeding or open wounds while washing your pet.

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Comments

    • nancy
    Reply

    I’ve actually used Febreze on my dog when she was sprayed by a skunk. It did the trick until a more thorough cleaning could be done.

      • aurora clarke
      Reply

      Febreze is TOXIC to pets long term! Kidney failure, liver damage and it killed small caged birds in the past.
      Do NOT use products intended for sofa’s, rugs and other inanimate objects on LIVE ANIMALS!

        • t. Edwards
        Reply

        No it’s not. That’s an urban myth which has been debunked.

    • Louise
    Reply

    We just do the old tomatoe juice rinse.. If you don’t have tomatoe juice, I also use a can of tomatoe soup with water.. scrub into skin..and then rinse and shampoo.

      • Sharon Venable
      Reply

      Yes, this works (tomato juice). I have done this when my cocker was sprayed.

    • Chuck
    Reply

    My dad got sprayed by a skunk and he used coyote pee and tomato juice to get it off… he also used the coyote pee to put around our house and we never saw skunks or racoons ever again…

    Chuck!

    • Alison
    Reply

    My chocolate lab was “skunked” twice within a week, both times a direct hit.

    She had 3 sponge baths and 2 real baths with the peroxide mixture and while it helped, it didn’t get rid of the smell.

    I then bought a bottle of “Skunk Off” at our local pet store, gave her a quick once-over with a sponge and not only was the smell completely gone immediately …. but she smelled fabulous!

    I’m staying with that from now on!

    • Carmen
    Reply

    My Jack Russell was sprayed by a skunk late in the evening and we didn’t have any tomato juice. I had heard that toothpaste is often used by game wardens on their dogs if they get sprayed by a skunk. I used it as if it was dog shampoo and just kept on scrubbing and scrubbing. After a tube of toothpaste, Snoopy was almost back to himself.

    • Regina
    Reply

    I personally swear by straight vinegar as not only very effective, but also cheap and convenient.

    • Sunshine Trish
    Reply

    Our vet recommended a 50/50 of white vinegar & water. After washing the dog, we sprayed the dog with the vinegar mixture. The key is to LEAVE IT ON the dog. Most people rinse it off & that is when it doesn’t work as well… you have to leave it on.

    (I too used some Febreeze on my dog’s back to help get rid of the smell til the vet told me about the vinegar & water). It worked, but I only put it where he couldn’t reach.

    • stykzorz
    Reply

    I used to work with a woman who had worked for animal control in the past. She told me that the best way to de-skunk your pet was to bathe them with dawn dish soap and to rinse them with straight vinegar, and to not follow up with a water rinse. The degreasing powers of dawn get rid of the oily spray, and the vinegar acts as a deodorizer.

    • mrspig
    Reply

    I have worked as a professional pet groomer for over 20 years and our top secret (very expensive I might add) DE-skunk treatment is 1 quart hydrogen peroxide,
    1/2 cup of baking soda, 2 teaspoons of original blue Dawn dish washing soap follow the above directions and let it sit at least 10 min rinse then…here is the big secret… pour Scope Mouthwash over the pet and dry with a blow dryer. I will deny ever letting out the groomers secret!!! Hope None of you are clients of mine hehehe

      • Jo Anna
      Reply

      Ty mspig, I’m sure that those readers who cannot afford an expensive trip to a pet groomer appreciate your generosity in sharing your top secret remedy. I had never heard of scope being used. I have printed your response just in case my cats are ever skunked.

    • Mrs.Smith
    Reply

    I use a box of baking soda rubbed into the fur well and let sit several minutes. This soaks up the oils in the skunk spray. Then pour vinegar over all the powder and rub it in well being careful to avoid the pets eyes. This neutralizes the odor. Rinse and then bathe your pet in blue Dawn dish washing soap. I am a dog groomer and this works wonders!

    • Leslie
    Reply

    I’ve always heard hydrogen peroxide to open the hair cuticle, then the baking soda to neutralize, and the Dawn dish liquid because the skunk’s spray is oily, and Dawn removes the oil best. That’s from my hair stylist, who’s boxer dog is adorable but not so bright 🙂

    • Amanda
    Reply

    Our black lab got sprayed by a skunk, we used the baking soda,dawn n vinegar mix(rinsing the thick liquid out after appros 15-20min) and it ended up turning her red, well not like bright red, it tinted her hair an auburn plus there was still a skunky aroma to her. To make matters worse after about 2weeks she started molting out the “red” fur, it pulled/fell out in clumps, leaving her coat very thin an unpleasent looking. Not sure what went wrong, and shes no worse for the wear, but Im not using that mix again an figured Id share that bit of info.

    • Mike
    Reply

    I had two skunks come into my kitty door and mated in the kitchen. My cat and I tore and I closed the door to the bedroom and didn’t come out till they were done. Used Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover and it was okay but the smell was still there. So, I decided to use the 1 quart hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking powder, and 1 tablespoon of Dawn recipe, scrubbed walls, sliding glass door, and floor edges, mopped floors, tossed mats, and it worked! In total I used 7 quarts of hydrogen peroxide, 1 3/4 cups of baking soda and 7 tablespoons of dawn, and was cheaper than Nature’s Miracle. Recommend using “old-school” recipe with “elbow-grease” instead….

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