There are few things more offensive to our sense of smell than the spray of a skunk, but as a dog owner, chances are you'll end up having to de-skunk your dog at least once during her life. With any luck once will be enough to teach your dog better than to mess with a skunk, but don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen because some dogs don't learn their lesson after getting sprayed. Depending on how close the skunk was when your dog got sprayed, the odor may be strong enough to invoke watery eyes in both you and your pup.
How to Use Vinegar to Get Skunk Smell Off of a Dog
There are a lot of folk remedies to treat skunk odor, but oddly, the most famous method — the one that involves drowning your pup's fur in a whole lot of tomato juice doesn't actually work all that well, plus it can stain your dog's fur, your clothes, and anything else it comes in contact with. One thing that does work is vinegar, but there are a few different methods out there for using vinegar to remove skunk odor, and each has its unique application techniques you should know about.
Use it undiluted on towels
Pet Helpful suggests soaking towels in apple cider vinegar and then using the towels to scrub the smell off of your dogs. While the site suggests that this will remove the skunk odor, it does not strip away the oily residue left behind by the skunk spray. For oil left on the fur, try washing your dog like normal using Dawn dish soap or a similar brand of dish soap that cuts grease but is gentle enough for animals in place of dog shampoo. Once the fur is cleaned, rinse all of the soap out and then dry your dog thoroughly.
Dilute it and apply directly
New England Today recommends combining two parts water with one part apple cider vinegar, making sure that you mix up enough of the solution to saturate your dog's fur completely. Set aside the mixture after mixing, wet your dog's fur and then work the solution into your dog's fur, making sure it completely covers his entire coat but does not drip into his eyes. Let the solution sit for at least five minutes and then rinse thoroughly.
The site also suggests mixing a cup of vanilla extract with a gallon of water and then letting the dog soak in the mixture for 10 minutes before washing him with dog shampoo. Rinse thoroughly and dry your dog when you are done. While it can be used on its own, this remedy may be most beneficial after the application of vinegar as the vinegar can help neutralize the odor, and the vanilla can help cover up what remains.
Create a skunk-odor remover
Vet Info suggests using a kitchen-sink-style recipe for dog cleanser that combines 1-quart hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1-quart apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dawn, 1/2 cup powdered OxyClean and 1-quart warm water. Apply with a sponge onto the dog's fur, avoiding her eyes. Leave the mixture on your dog's fur for 5-to-10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.
It might seem like a lot, but with this blend of products known for their effectiveness on skunk odor, you can be reasonably certain the skunk smell will be gone in no time. It's worth noting that this mixture may irritate dogs with sensitive skin and the hydrogen peroxide may bleach dark fur, so always check with your vet before applying a homemade skunk odor remover. Also, since the recipe does not say how big of a dog this was made to cover, you might need to make two or more batches for large pups.