Top 5 Ways to De-Skunk Your Hunting Dog

   09.24.20

Picture this; you’re out hunting grouse with your four legged hunting partner when you notice he/she starts acting very “birdy,” as we call it in the uplands. Their nose is pressed to the ground, tail pointing straight to the heavens, and there’s a certain urgency in their stride as they tear through the cover you’re hunting in. And then you smell it. The unmistakable scent that tells you your partner was NOT sniffing out a bird, and that you have a very long day ahead of you.

If you own a hunting dog, there’s a fair chance you’ve found yourself in this predicament before. But if you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, ‘that’s never happened to me’ you should probably go find yourself some wood to knock on, and then come back and read my list of the best ways to de-skunk your hunting dog below.

Top De-Skunking Remedies for Your Hunting Dog

Most people have heard the old adage that tomato juice works as a home remedy for humans, but that’s just one of your options here. The thing to keep in mind, is that stench can stick with your dog for many months – even a whole year – if it’s not completely removed. So you want to act relatively fast in this situation.

Before you tackle the smell, do a once over on your dog to confirm they are not in any pain. Skunks have surprisingly good aim when they spray, and have a knack for hitting whatever is chasing them in the face first which can cause a dog’s eyes to burn and water. If you have eye drops in your dog’s first aid kit use those, or you can just flush their eyes with water, too.

Now it’s time to get down to the brass tacks of removing that funk coming from your best buddy.

Most of these concoctions are home remedies using ingredients likely found around your house somewhere: peroxide, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, etc. For these remedies, you may have to rinse and repeat a few times before the smell is totally gone.

Pro tip: remember to ALWAYS de-skunk outside! Otherwise the skunk smell is going to stick around inside your house, and you may start receiving some dirty looks next time you’re in public.

1. Dishwashing Liquid and Peroxide

If you would rather opt for a home remedy to solve this conundrum, dishwashing liquid and peroxide is perhaps the most popular method. Even The Humane Society recommends this treatment for de-skunking your pet. Mix the hydrogen peroxide with a fourth cup of baking soda and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid (Dawn seems to work well). Apply the solution to your dog’s coat, making sure to thoroughly rub it in all over – except for their eyes. You will also want to wear gloves during this so the stench doesn’t attach to your hands.

Let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes or less after you apply it; if you leave peroxide on their fur for too long, it will bleach it. After letting it soak, use your dog’s regular shampoo to rinse the mixture off. You may need to repeat the process a few times to completely remove the odor.

2. Shampoo and Tomato Juice

If you feel at all uneasy about the last method, you can also de-skunk your dog with shampoo and tomato juice. A LOT of tomato juice.

For this treatment, lather your dog in their pet shampoo and dry with a towel. Don’t rinse the soap off just yet! Next, start applying the tomato juice until your dog’s coat is completely saturated. Let it sit for up to 20 minutes – try to prevent them from licking it all off – then rinse with water. Repeat this process a handful of times until the smell is gone.

If you’re going this route, be sure to revisit your dog the next day to see if you still pick up on any odors. While this method is often toted as a great way to eliminate the stench of skunk, it might actually do a better job of tricking you to think the smell is gone. Try this if you’re in a pinch, but you’ll likely start smelling that putrid odor again in a couple of days as this is basically equivalent to slapping a band-aid on a failing dam.

3. ACV and Water

Have you noticed the explosion of apple cider vinegar being used in everything lately? I’ve even seen ACV potato chips on sale at the grocery store recently. Really?!

If you like to start your day with a shot of ACV, chances are you already have some in your fridge at home, and the good news is it can also be used to remove skunk smell from your dog! Start by soaking your dog with water first. You’re going to need to use twice the amount of water as you do apple cider vinegar so start with one bottle of vinegar, then add twice the amount of water. Again, work the ACV into your dog’s coat focusing on places where the skunk sprayed and avoiding contact with their eyes. Let it sit for about five minutes and then rinse and repeat as necessary.

4. Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover

This Nature’s Miracle skunk odor remover completely eliminates skunk odors in just minutes. The fast acting formula breaks down the oils sprayed by the skunk to permanently remove all traces of odor upon application. For best results, bathe your dog with a skunk shampoo, then apply and let coat air dry. I highly recommend keeping some of this in your truck when you’re out hunting!

5. De-Skunk Odor Removal Treatment

When all else fails, call in the big guns.

You might reach a point where you start wondering how many rinse and repeat cycles are too many, or you may go “nose-blind” after a few hours of scrubbing and won’t able to judge if the smell is completely gone or not. In this case, your best bet is a professional skunk odor removal treatment. Call around to your local groomers or vet and see if they offer such a service. Most places will offer a De-Skunking Odor Removal Treatment for around $20. Which, if you’ve ever had to deal with this problem, is the easiest $20 you’ll ever spend.

Read More