Skunk bath for dogs seems unimportant until your ranch dog is sprayed by a skunk. It is important not to let the spray set on the dog over a long period thinking it will wear off. It won’t wear off, the skunk spray is harder to get out the longer it sets. The trick is to get the ranch dog to the tub without the dog touching anything. If it is summer time and hot, an outdoor washtub would be great. Most of the time, ranch dogs get sprayed in late fall and early winter when the skunks are out the most. To read more on skunks, see our skunks page.
To give your ranch dog a skunk bath, you will need: a box of baking soda (this will do nicely for a medium sized dog), a bottle of dishwashing soap (not dishwasher detergent), a gallon jug of vinegar (apple cider or white), a tub, a large bowl or bucket and some towels (use old towels). Put a plastic mat or an old towel in the bottom of the tub. Make sure that your dish soap doesn’t have anything harsh in it such as bleach, nothing to harm your dog. Dump the baking soda into the bowl or bucket – the whole box. Then, pour in enough dish soap to make a spreadable paste.
Start your skunk bath with a dry dog (only wet from skunk spray). Do not wet the hair down with water first. Place your dog in the tub. Using your soap paste, work the paste into the dogs hair all over the dog (do not get into the eyes or ears), make sure that you get the tail, belly and legs. The soap paste will make the tub very slick, so you will need to support your dog so it doesn’t hurt itself by falling down. Once the paste is worked in, let it set for about 5 minutes. Then rinse the soap paste out with the gallon jug of vinegar. After the vinegar rinse, rinse well with water. Do not get the rinse in the eyes or ears.
The dog will want to lick the skunk bath mixture of soap paste and/or the vinegar. A little taste shouldn’t hurt it, but don’t let it get too much.
After rinsing, towel dry and then either blow dry or let the ranch dogs’ hair air dry. Most of the smell should be gone and what’s left should be tolerable. The bath can be repeated if necessary.
Skunk Bath Cleanup
Wash the towels right away and anything else the spray came in contact with. Also, dry them right away. Most of the smell should be washed and dried out of them, but it can be repeated if needed.
- To remove skunk odor from an indoor area, place small bowls with inexpensive unused coffee grounds around. You can also alternate with bowls with vinegar.
- To repel the skunks from out buildings or under buildings, you can use moth balls and then sprinkle cayenne pepper around the perimeter of the building. This should keep them from returning. You may have to repeat the pepper after a rain or snow.