Skunk Spray Toxicosis

By Charlotte Means, DVM, MLIS, DABVT, DABT

Although pet owners seldom witness their pets being sprayed by a skunk, the odor is immediate and unmistakable when spraying occurs.  Ocular edema, conjunctivitis, drooling, and squinting are commonly noted in animals that have been sprayed.  Many dogs will rub their faces, roll, sneeze, and vomit.  Temporary blindness may occur.  Exposure to skunk spray can be oral, dermal, ocular, and respiratory.  Dermal absorption of the spray is minimal.  The severity of signs may depend on a pet’s proximity to a skunk when being sprayed and the area of exposure (face vs. legs or side).  If an animal is sprayed directly in the face, inhalation can occur.

Krebaum skunk odor removal formula*

1 quart fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide

1/4 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

1-2 tsp of liquid dishwashing detergent

For large dogs, add one quart of tepid water to ensure complete coverage.

Mix the above ingredients together.

Bathe the animal outdoors.  Apply the formula to the pet, working deeply into the fur, and allow it to set for five minutes.

Rinse with copious amount of water after five minutes.

Repeat if necessary.


The mixture must be used promptly and will not work if stored for any length of time.

Do not store in a closed container.  The container could break as the peroxide releases oxygen.

The pet’s fur as well as clothing, towels, and carpeting may be bleached by the formula.

*Source:  Krebaum P. Skunk odor removal.  Chem Engineer News  1993, Oct

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