Tips to Protect Your Dog From Getting Sprayed by a Skunk

Dogs have a penchant for getting themselves into danger thanks to their fearless nature and innate curiosity. When your dog steps out of the house, there are a few other animals to look out for that could potentially harm your dog. In this particular article, Latchkey Pets gives tips to protect your dog from getting sprayed by a skunk
Of course, no one is to blame here. Both the skunk and the dog were merely reacting to their nature. Dogs look for interesting things and are a bit too friendly and curious. The skunk was acting defensively from all the attention.

So, what can you do to protect your dog from such an unfortunate encounter? Is skunk spray poisonous to dogs? Here are some important things you should keep in mind to keep your dog safe from the skunk attack.  

What to Know About Skunks and Their Skunking

During the spring, skunks are especially active and it is time to be on full alert. It is mating season and this means skunk society is in an uproar. There are males on high alert and fighting with other males. Some will get skunked in the process. The females are also defending themselves from males they don’t like — more spraying is happening there as well.  

It will be up to you to keep your dog from the crossfire during the spring along with all other times of the year. Let’s begin with a little information so you’re prepared for a possible dog sprayed by skunk situation. 

The skunk is equipped with a potent chemical deterrent created in their anal glands. There is only a limited amount of spray the skunk can use so they typically prefer to avoid problems rather than engage their assailant. It actually takes up to ten days for a skunk to recuperate their supply and they are pretty vulnerable without it.  
This is why they will use their threatening posture and behavior as much as they can before unleashing an attack. 

tips for protecting your dog from getting sprayed by a skunk
what if dog gets sprayed by skunk

Watch the signs

A skunk will hardly ever use their attack without warning. They will begin by raising their tell-tale tail and shake it furiously. They may also stamp their little feet and approach their attacker rear end first, in a “U” shape. Unless they are surprised or cornered, they will give plenty of warning before they resort to the tactical “nuke” response. For the most part, they would rather give their attacker plenty of time to change their mind.  

Of course, many dogs, like humans, are unaware of the above warning signs before getting sprayed by a skunk. To your pet, the skunk’s raised tail may seem like a friendly invitation to sniff the newcomer and get to know each other better. As mentioned before, dogs are curious and oftentimes find themselves directly in the trouble spot when it comes to skunks. The skunk, not seeing anything friendly about being up close and personal, will instinctively rely on their defense mechanism to send your dog skipping. 

warning signs to notice before getting sprayed by a skunk
tips for protecting dog from skunk

Tips for Protecting Your Dog From Getting Sprayed by a Skunk

Keep skunks away 

You cannot control how your dog will react to a skunk. But, you can control how attracted your skunk will be to your home and property. Skunks can be discouraged from even entering your garden by some of the following techniques:

Eliminating food sources 

Skunks will come around your home if they believe there is a potential source of food in the area. This could be just about anything, including leaves, worms, fish, garbage and, you guessed it, dog food. Keeping food sources cleaned up quickly is rule no. 1.

Eliminate Shelter Options to Avoid Being Sprayed by a Skunk

Another good way to attract a skunk is to make the accommodations perfect. Skunks will love to make a home under your porch, deck, or patio. Keep all entry points sealed up and get chicken wire for any others. By making your home inhospitable to skunks, they will move on to another place.  

Yard Fencing

What better way to keep your dog safe and skunks out than having an impassable barrier between them? Fencing can be a costly solution and it will have to be at least three-feet high to keep out a skunk. Nevertheless, this is one of the best ways to avoid getting sprayed by a skunk

protect your dog from skunk spray
protect dog from skunk spray

Keep your dog indoors… at least at night. 

Skunks don’t like wandering about in the middle of the day. They are crepuscular creatures and will begin moving about when the sun goes down. Keep your dog safe by giving skunks plenty of space when they are most active. You will greatly reduce the chances of a skunk counter-attack by keeping your dog inside at night. If they are outside, make sure you have built up the fence. This will keep them from getting too close to trouble. 

What To Do If Your Dog Gets Sprayed by a Skunk 

But, what do you do if the worst should happen? If your dog does get sprayed by a skunk, here are some steps to take.  

Keep your dog outside 

The first thing to do, will be to take the dog back outside. If you allow the dog to stay in, he will soon rub the noxious smell all over everything. Then you will have a really big problem on your hands. Leave them outside where they can rub up on the grass, sand, bushes and trees that will not absorb unpleasant smells.  

Prepare a homemade cleaning remedy 

You can neutralize the awful smell of the skunk attack with this simple recipe.  


1 quart – 3% hydrogen peroxide 

1 teaspoon – liquid dishwashing soap 

1/4 cup – baking soda


Use gloves to apply the solution profusely to the dog’s coat. You will also want to avoid getting any of the solution or skunk spray into your dog’s eyes. The faster you apply this solution the better the results will be. Apply to all affected areas and rinse thoroughly. Repeat the process until you have removed as much of the smell as you believe you can. 

Next, use your average dog shampoo to clean off the remaining skunk smell. If done right, this should reduce the problem to a fairly acceptable level, although you will probably detect nuances of eau-de-skunk for a couple days.  

Finally, remember that prevention is always the best solution. If you suspect there are skunks in your area, you can bet your bottom dollar, your dog will seek them out eventually. Take every preventative measure to avoid contact between the species and to avoid your furry best friend getting sprayed by a skunk. But, when the worst does happen, make sure you are prepared to act fast. Contact Latchkey Pets for any other concerns, questions, and advice! 

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Jeanna Ruehter