Wednesday, 8 October 2014

How to Remove Skunk Spray Odor from a Dog, Cat - Body, Eyes, Mouth, Nose

If your dog or cat has the unfortunate experience of being sprayed by a skunk, it is important to neutralize and remove the spray as quickly as possible - the longer the musk is on your dog (cat) the more complications can occur. Once the musk starts to dry it gets more difficult to eliminate the odor and the strong organic chemical properties of the musk can cause skin irritation and internal irritation if inhaled and ingested.

The all-natural skunk spray removal home remedies provided below are effective, simple and fast to make.  I recommend that you purchase (and keep on hand) the ingredients. When disaster strikes you can act quickly to resolve your dog's or cat's discomfort - and the assault on your own sense of smell.

The method used to remove skunk spray odor from a dog or cat depends on where your dog or cat got sprayed - body, eyes, mouth, nose. Home remedies are provided further below. Your dog or cat may experience a range of side effects after getting sprayed, or if more fortunate - you may only have to neutralize the skunk-spray odor.

Skunk spray is a musk that includes seven natural components. Six of the seven are naturally occurring organosulfur compounds called thiols. Thiols are odorants - they emit strong odors. We humans, with our +/- 3 million olfactory senses, can smell skunk-musk in concentrations at, or greater than 10 parts per billion. Contrast our sensitivity with a dog’s 300 million olfactory senses and you can begin to understand just how much of a sensory impact skunk musk can have on your dog’s and cat's olfactory senses! The thiols in skunk musk are so strong that they can cause some pretty severe (but typically temporary) side affects and adverse reactions…

1.0 Side Affects, Adverse Reactions to Getting ‘Skunked’

1.1 Chemical Burns
Chemical burns can result from spray that hits the less furry parts of your dog’s and cat's body such as the eyes, nose and mouth and if not rinsed away, the organic chemicals present in a skunk’s spray can cause:
  1. The formation of ulcers on your dog’s or cats' skin
  2. Temporary blindness
1.2 Emotional
Your dog (cat) may exhibit signs of emotional stress – may appear stunned or panicked in which case your response should be to direct your dog with deliberate grounded calm as an emotionally stressed response from you can serve to send your dog deeper into a state of anxiety.  Just focus on getting your dog (cat) cleaned-up.

1.3 Gastrointestinal Upset 
GI upset may result in one or all of the following:
  1. Nausea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Diarrhea
1.4 Respiratory Issues
  1. Breathing difficulties – particularly for asthmatic dogs and cats
  2. Nasal irritation

2.0 Home Remedies for Removing Skunk Spray, Odor 
         Natural, Simple Safe Effective Treatments

2.1 Treating the Eyes
Gently and thoroughly rinse your dog’s (cat's) eyes with slightly warm water – do not use hot water
If irritation / inflammation continues after rinsing with warm water - follow-up the warm water rinse with an eye-health supporting anti-inflammatory herbal rinse.

You will need:
An eye dropper. 
Organic tea bag – choose one of the following: chamomile tea, eyebright tea, green tea, rooibos tea.
Brew the tea and allow the tea to cool so that the liquid is just slightly warm. 

Use an eye dropper to place 2 to 3 drops in the eye two to three times a day until inflammation or discomfort clears.

Treating the Nose
Carefully rinse your dog’s (cat's) nose with warm water 
Treating the Face
Rinse your dog’s (cat's) face with warm water.
Treating GI Upset
Encourage your dog (cat) to drink clean water.

  1. Diarrhea
    • Natural solutions for diarrhea go here.
  2. Nausea and Vomiting 
    • If your dog (cat) vomits after being sprayed with skunk must don’t be alarmed.
    • Vomiting is your dog’s (cat's) natural response to expel the musk compound that he/she inadvertently inhaled and / or ingested.
    • Make sure that your dog (cat) has fresh water to drink after he / she has finished vomiting.
Dealing with Seizures, Convulsions triggered by Skunk Spray
If you your dog gets sprayed in the mouth – he/she may experience a seizure. If your dog (cat) is having a seizure do NOT introduce any fluids – including water, into his/her mouth. Although it is natural to want to rinse/wash the spray out of his/her mouth by doing so you can cause inhalation of the fluid into his/her lungs – this is cause pulmonary aspiration. Pulmonary aspiration can cause serious issues such as inflammation of the lungs, pneumonia and death. In the case of convulsions ensure your dog is not near any sharp-edged furniture/objects, make sure your dog cannot fall /roll off the surface he/she is on (i.e. due to a change in ground/floor level); keep hands away from your dog’s mouth, keep other dogs, animals and people away until the convulsions have stopped.

Dealing with Toxic Shock
If your dog (cat) ingests a large amount of skunk spray your dog may go into toxic shock – this situation is most likely to occur if your dog has been sprayed in a very confined space such as an underground burrow. When a high concentration of thiols enters your dog’s upper respiratory tract the thiols can cause an explosion of red blood cells – this can cause anemia. 

In addition to acquiring possible anemia, your dog’s renal system may be under attack. The renal system is the body’s major toxin filter – the high concentration of thiols can over-burden the liver and kidneys. 

The powerful skunk thiols can also cause inflammation of your dog’s mucus membranes, and the production of large amount of mucus. 

Organic chamomile tea can help reduce inflammation of the mucus membranes, reduce mucus production, and help dissolve excess mucus build-up.  Organic peppermint can also help to thin-out and break-up excess mucus. A few drops of 100% pure, organic ginger juice can be added to the room temperature chamomile or peppermint tea to further reduce inflammation and sooth the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract. 

To support the liver and kidneys, you can also give your dog or cat organic milk thistle tea that has been cooled to room temperature. 

Organic chlorophyll is a helpful substitute for red blood cells until the body has time to rebuild, and pureed or juiced organic beet root can help the body increase red blood cell count as can other select nutraceuticals and of great importance – a truly appropriate diet.

Removing the Odor from Your Dog’s Body-Fur
In 1993, Illinois chemist Paul Krebaum discovered a simple, effective formula to neutralize the thiols present in skunk spray.

Prior to Pauls’ discovery, tomato juice or vinegar where typically used to combat the odor of skunk spray on dog fur. Tomato juice or vinegar may temporarily mask the thiols, but neither actually eradicate the odor from your dog’s fur and skin.  Paul’s formula creates a chemical reaction that neutralizes the thiols, changing them to odorless acids.

The following is based on Paul's original formula…

Home Made Skunk Rinse Recipe, Skunk Odor Neutralizer
You will require:
  • 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • ¼ cup of baking soda – also known as sodium bicarbonate
  • 2 teaspoons of 1liquid dish soap (not detergent)
  • If you have multiple dogs to treat or a very large dog makes sure you double or triple the recipe
  • 1 bucket/pail
  • Combine the three ingredients in an open bucket
  • Do not put this solution in a closed container as the 3 ingredients do create a chemical reaction that can cause a closed container to explode
  • Do not try to store the solution as it will lose its active chemical properties that break-up and neutralize skunk odor
  • Make the solution when it its needed and use it immediately after mixing the ingredients together
  • Do not use water to pre-dampen or wash your dog’s (cat's) fur
  • Apply the skunk-rinse formula directly to your dog’s (cat's) fur
  • Massage into his/her coat continue for five (5) minutes
    When applying the solution to your dog’s head – avoid getting in eyes and ears – you can use a cloth or sponge to apply
  • After five minutes thoroughly rinse the solution off of your dog’s (cat's) fur and skin, taking care to avoid solution run-off into eyes
  • Repeat the solution application – massage for five minutes – rinse
  • If your dog stills smells from the skunk spray – repeat the application, massage and rinse one more time.
1I recommend using a toxin-free or close to toxin-free dish washing soap such as Eco Max (water, plant-based surfactants, salt, food grade citric acid, (from citrus fruits), aloe vera plant extracts, natural orange essential oil, food grade potassium sorbate).

In a pinch you can use a conventional dish soap such as 2Dawn, but it is not the best choice due to the multiple toxins present in the soap. Your dog’s system may already be struggling under the burden of a heavy toxic load. Toxins from soap can and do enter into your dog’s blood stream via absorption through the skin into the blood stream. So, yes, in a pinch use Dawn or a similar product, and then go purchase some toxin-free soap to keep on hand.

2Ultra Dawn ® Original and Lemon scents
All of the ingredients in this product are known toxins, many are also known carcinogens – with the exception of water (unless they are using water contaminated with heavy metals and other toxic impurities).
Ingredients as listed on Dawn’s website:
  • Water
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Lauramine Oxide
  • Alcohol
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Aqueous PPG-26
  • Aqueous PEG-8
  • Propylheptyl Ether
  • PEI-14 PEG-10/PPG-7 Copolymer
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • *Fragrance
  • Colorants
  • Blue 1
  • Red 33
  • Yellow 5
*You can go to Dawn’s site to see the full list of artificial fragrances they use – all are toxic and carcinogenic.

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Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines:

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic…

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (ie. an herb) you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectation a natural substance remedies a health or behavioral situation.

A natural substance used to treat symptoms. But, if factors causing the underlying issue remain you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach. It is necessary to identify root cause. Remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues. Holistic approach includes design, implementation to treat, remedy and maintain long-term health.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen Rosenfeld
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats