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Removing Skunk Smells From Your Dog With Apple Cider Vinegar

I've been an online writer for over nine years. My articles focus on everything from pet care to healthy eating.

Read on to learn how apple cider vinegar can help remove skunk smell from your dog.

Read on to learn how apple cider vinegar can help remove skunk smell from your dog.

So, Your Dog's Been Skunked

I had not planned on writing more articles about Apple Cider Vinegar. However, on Mother's Day morning, Malachi and Shiloh (my pups) blessed me by getting sprayed by a skunk. My worst nightmare came alive, and of course on a morning when I had 1001 other things to do. I do not keep tomato sauce in my home (as everyone says to use tomato sauce), but even so, from everything I've read, tomato sauce only masks the smell but doesn't eliminate it. Plus, tomato sauce on white fur... I don't know how I feel about that idea! I needed to find another option.

The dogs were sprayed by a skunk.

The dogs were sprayed by a skunk.

How My Mother's Day Began

We have a morning routine that is almost always constant. Malachi and Shiloh generally wake me up between 6 and 6:30 am. At this time, I generally go pee and feed the cat, and by the time I get back to the door, Shiloh is there waiting to come back in and snuggle with me for an hour till it's time to get up while Malachi stays outside and checks the grounds for anything new and exciting.

Well, I went back to the door and Shiloh was not there waiting to come in so, fine, I figured there must be something very exciting outside this morning. I waited on the couch so I would hear her if she came to the door. I fell asleep. I must have been sleeping maybe 10 minutes, but it was one of those moments of sleep where you wake up and you feel like you've been sleeping forever and you're kind of disoriented.

I hear Shiloh knock at the door so I jump up to let her in and I smell this scent that, in my half-asleep state, smelled like something burning. So—in a panic—I go from room to room, sniffing appliances, looking for smoke, this unbearable smell....where in the world was it coming from. Of course, Shiloh is following me, wagging her tail. I open the door to the basement and go down to scope out things in the dungeon, closing the door behind me. Funny, fresh air in the basement? OK. . .so the smell is definitely coming from upstairs. I must find out what is burning. As I open the door to go back upstairs, I have one of those wonderful "a-ha" moments where I realize that this vial smell is coming from dear princess Shiloh. Of course, by now I am more awake, alert, and my brain is functioning. Now know that she has been sprayed by a skunk.

The best part about Shiloh getting sprayed by a skunk? Well, I already knew if she got sprayed, then Malachi must have gotten sprayed as well. I got dressed and went outside to look for my prince charming. Yes, I am a genius—the smell was on him as well.

Shiloh was sprayed on the back part of her body and Malachi got it in the face and chest—I knew as soon as I saw a yellow spot on his face and chest. This makes sense because, though Shiloh is faster than Malachi, the latter gets more power behind him when he runs so Shiloh must have been already turning to run from the skunk while Malachi was just arriving and couldn't stop on a dime like he probably wished that he could.

So now what? I have two dogs sprayed with skunks, it's the morning of Mother's Day, and I have to go to my mom's for a family lunch and take the dogs with me—after all, they are her grandchildren. So, what do I do?

Apple Cider Vinegar Comes to the Rescue

Apple Cider Vinegar is literally my hero now. Of course, I have written endless articles about apple cider vinegar and the great benefits it provides for your hair, teeth, diabetes, and health benefits—but the fact that it can kill skunk smells is premium knowledge.

I took the dogs to the basement by the sump pump because it was too cold to wash them outside and Malachi just doesn't fit in the bathtub. I attached them to their leashes by the sump pump and hooked my indoor hose up to my laundry sink. I took my jug of apple cider vinegar to the basement with a few doggy towels and I was just getting the towel soaked with vinegar and scrubbing away with them. There are some sites online that recommend mixing apple cider vinegar with peroxide and baking soda but I didn't. I just used it straight. So, the smell is coming out, and I'm excited—but what about the remaining oily residue? The doggy shampoo didn't really seem to be working, so I grabbed my Dawn dish soap—they use it to clean wildlife of careless oil spills, so surely I can use it on my dogs. I squirted a little on, scrub scrub scrubbed, and sprayed them off with the hose.

I cannot even say how relieved I was that it worked. My dogs smelled fabulous! Of course, when I was going from room to room looking for the fire earlier this morning, Shiloh jumped on my bed and my blanket-covered couch, so I threw my blankets in the washing machine with a bit of apple cider vinegar. It killed the smell on those too.

When it's skunk season, I advise anyone with a dog to keep apple cider vinegar on hand in case your dog gets sprayed with a skunk!



This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

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Grateful in Michigan on February 10, 2019:

Thanks for your story. This was the third time my dog was sprayed and everything I tried before just didn't quite cut it. Because of you I can actually say " The third time is a charm" ! Thanks for sharing!!

relieved in rhode island on July 14, 2017:

last year i tried the tomato juice and hydrogen peroxide cures as well as a commercial preparation from nature's miracle. nothing worked. Tonight we had another episode and something told me use ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar). I mixed it with a bit of water on the first round and dumped it on my dog and started googling. I found this article and left it on her a bit then grabbed the good old DDL (Dawn dishwashing liquid). My feeling is that I will have to do it again tomorrow because i wasn't thorough enough (she still hadn't done her 'business' so we had to run out again) but it really worked sooooo much better than the other options. THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!

Ruth on October 20, 2016:

Many thanks for this valuable info . it truly worked.

TheVacationLady from Everywhere on August 05, 2010:

Oh this is priceless information! I may need this in the future!

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on August 01, 2010:

a rattlesnake?! Yikes! We have seen a couple tiny snakes out on the trails but they are tiny and fast. I do not want to run into a rattlesnake! lol

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on July 26, 2010:

Came back to read this just in case! We've had a goofy summer so far - but so far so daughter ran into a rattlesnake hiking and glad we did not have the Griffin up there! Skunks I can deal with but not the snakes.

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on July 24, 2010:

oh you and me both! I use it for absolutely everything! If I am ever stranded on a deserted island....I must have apple cider vinegar! lol

TheListLady from New York City on July 23, 2010:

You know, theherbivorhippi, I'm thinking vinegar will be excellent for all the smelly animals I have known and loved. Such a great hub - great information. I can no longer live without ACV - it does everything. It's like liquid gold to me now.

Thanks for you great collection of vinegar hubs. I keep bookmarking. And thanks for those super-great puppy photos. Adorable!

Rated up and more!

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on July 22, 2010:

It definitely is good for everything. I am one of those annoying Apple Cider Vinegar people that uses it for everything and tells every one that they need to

Karen Ellis from Central Oregon on July 11, 2010:

Raw, organic apple cider vinegar is almost like a natural "fix-all" drug. Well, maybe not quite everything. My husband takes a teaspoon in 8 oz. of water each day and it keeps his gout problems away. I burned myself cooking the other day and I put my hand under cold water, but it still hurt. I poured apple cider vinegar on it and the pain instantly went away and didn't come back - no redness either. I think it's also great for kidneys and urinary tract problems. Who knows what else - I bet a lot.

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on July 08, 2010:

Oh my gosh! I'm glad I am not the only one! No offense....but better you than me! lol Isn't it such a vial smell? ugh!!

Katie McMurray from Ohio on July 07, 2010:

Oh we are infested with skunks this year, a young skunk wondered into our fenced in back yard last night about 2am and my chow decided he needed to take it on... WHEW needless to say I had to revisit this hub for the straight dope on using apple cider vinegar to remove the stunk smell. Thanks your a life saver...

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on June 20, 2010:

lol...this is GOLD information! For anyone that smells that rancid smell can appreciate this remedy.

Gift Experts on June 18, 2010:

Keeping this info in the old vault now, thanks! YOu cannot image the number of skunks around here, wow. Poor dogs!

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on June 10, 2010:

You don't have skunks in England? lol Why do I just assume that everyone in the world has these fragrant little creatures? Well....I certainly don't wish this experience on anyone...I have a feeling it may happen again before summer is done for some reason.

Hummingbird5356 on June 10, 2010:

After reading this hub I am very happy that we don't have skunks here in England. It seems that apple cider vinegar has many uses. That is one use I never want to experience.

I sympathize with you.

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on May 29, 2010:

Thanks! I'm glad someone else has been in this situation besides me! lol

GreenThumbLady from The Beautiful Earth on May 28, 2010:

Oh....I have been here! Apple cider vinegar definitely does wonders! Your dogs are gorgeous!

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on May 27, 2010:

Oh 50....of course I know you're joking. lol Soy bean burgers huh? so funny! Oh my careful about your dogs eating the corn can cause intestinal blockage. My dogs love corn on the cob though so i have to hold the cob and let them eat the corn..of course they try to take the cob so I have to keep a firm grip. lol thanks for coming back and commenting again're so sweet. I could never be mad at're one of my favorites!

50 Caliber from Arizona on May 27, 2010:

THH, I hope you know I'm kidding you about being a vegomatic? I believe in free choice, not to mention "less donkeys more corn". It really keeps demand down for those who pay for their meat. I get personal with mine and as humanely as possible I handle the dirty work myself and after seeing the animals and mass production torture of them, I think meat eaters should have to do the work up them selves. It would create more Tofu eaters and maybe a few Tofu fast food joints. I had something called "Slug burgers" in Tennessee on a funeral run. They were 5 for $2, so I was with locals and they said mmm mmm good, I said what the hell are these things? Soy bean burgers, oh no! If tofu tastes like that I'm down for clogged arteries!LOL but, the reason I catch my fish, raise my chickens, and a lamb once a year and take Deer,Elk,rabbits and snakes is to cut out my monetary support of the cruelty and lean low cholesterol eats. The herd management of animals that have suffered great loss to habitats by man is vital to breeds such as deer who have a fawn and the next year have two and the next up to three soon over take the food supply and starve to death in winter wonderlands. That part is sad, when one thinks about starving to death in the snow. My Rotty's will steal a potato and a tomato, given the chance, they are eternally hungry, and food is not safe around them what ever it is, I've seen them eat corn, cob and all. Peace, 50

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on May 25, 2010:

50 - lol my dogs LOVE tofu and vegetables. They eat everything I eat. When they want meat they can go out and kill one of the squirrels or birds in the yard. lol oh...they do not eat chips or cake because I DON'T eat chips or cake! lol I eat vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, etc. I have no reason to support killing or the abuse of an animal to eat, clothe myself or anything else. I don't believe that my dogs would choose meat over vegetables because they love these foods and even have their favorites.

50 Caliber from Arizona on May 25, 2010:

HerbHippi, don't deprive natural carnivores from their one true joy of eating things that bleed! Torture your self all you like with weird shit like tofu! but the creator of those dogs made them natural predators. Let me know if you see them stalking a potato or tomato, and I'll consider it. My dogs like brownies with weed mixed in them but then they start eying me licking their chops, I'm probably looking like a ham or what ever they saw in old cartoons out in the desert. If I let them out I loose chickens. So dogs get the munchies too and they want meat! not tater chips and cake! Elk, deer, fish and chicken! that makes a meal around here with occasional rattle snake that messes up and lets me near I snatch them up and in a bag in the freezer they go. Froze to death hide rattle and head, bring 50 bucks at the folks who supply gift shops, but the meat we eat and it makes a, well ok I'll leave that part out but it's good and it don't taste like chicken and those that say it do, probably either never had chicken or are straight up full of tofu! Peace 50

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on May 20, 2010:

lol...Malachi and Shiloh are about 90% vegetarian. lol I actually had them completely vegetarian for awhile but Malachi's mood really changed severely, he was very snappy and his mouth was watering when he looked at the cat. Plus, they kill so many squirrels and birds it is impossible to keep them from eating meat. So, they eat vegetarian kibble and tofu, vegetables and fruit and my mom buys them meat kibble to mix in and bones.

Micky Dee on May 20, 2010:

Great hub and informational! I'm sure Malachi and Shiloh herbivores too! They've never seen a vegetarian they didn't like!? Great hub again theherbivorehippi!

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on May 19, 2010:

lol...thanks...just an average fun filled day with these two! It is never boring...that is for sure! Thanks for reading!! :)

TattoGuy on May 19, 2010:

Big awesome from me because 1. your dogs are just stunning looking and 2. I just loved reading that, I just love getting an insight into someones life and I enjoyed that, nice one ; )

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on May 18, 2010:

lol...luckily Malamutes don't really have much of a "wet dog" smell. They are virtually odor free dogs....well aside from skunkiness.

Christine Mulberry on May 18, 2010:

Wow, that sounds like a heck of a way to start a day. Now I know the skunk smell is far worse, but wet dogs aren't exactly perfume to my nose either ;) They are gorgeous dogs though!

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on May 17, 2010:

Darlene - did you survive?? That needs to be a movie or something!! I can just imagine. I should not laugh...I could be jinxing myself right now. Too funny!!

Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on May 16, 2010:

Great hub, I had my two chows while living in Taos, we moved into a home that had been empty to long, and the skunk decided it was his home. Every day he would spay my dogs and some time when the windows were open he spay one of us in the house, what a nightmare, where were you then? LOL Great hub, loved it...

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on May 16, 2010:

Ooooh cocoa butter...I didn't think of that! lol yeah you know farmers are allowed to shoot dogs chasing life stock. Dang! I am so sure I am going to get sprayed by a skunk now when I go out to drag them in some nights. It is inevitable. That will be another hub! I was waiting for a comment from you....I was sure that you had to have had a skunk experience too!!

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on May 15, 2010:

I have a remedy too - thanks to Kodi (years past now) and Denaya being sprayed - after they were missing for 14-16 hours and we are in the heart of 'shoot em before they kill the livestock' area. OMG - Kodi had chewed off ONE board in the fence and out they went into the wetlands. We had everyone out in town and all the locals looking for them. Kodi finally appeared at 4:00 a.m. on my back porch and he had taken 'the hit' but they were both sprayed. Since there was a hole in the fence and a new car in the garage, I had no choice but to let them in the house....oy vey. The natural remedy really works - except that Kodi got it full on in the face so we added a cocoa butter with fragrance so we could tolerate him! Oy vey again - we burned fragrance candles for TWO weeks - all their collars, their dog tags - trashed. Can't say that that was the best experience ever but then mals are notorious for going where they'd be better off NOT going! Like the gal at the humane society said to me - it could have been porcupines - I was rather grateful! That remedy though does work - it is just about as much fun though as when your kid comes home and has lice....except lice don't smell!

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on May 15, 2010:

ethel smith - Wow...five stars for the "pongy" word!! That is one of those great words that you just forget about sometimes! lol I'm going to make a point to use it in conversation tomorrow!

chasingcars - Thanks....I love my dogs too!! Thanks for reading!

chasingcars on May 15, 2010:

Love your dogs; good advice about the apple vinegar.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on May 15, 2010:

Great dogs. We don't have skunks here but my dogs get pongy at times. I will have to try this

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on May 15, 2010:

soumailaadamou - Oh my gosh! do you pets that got sprayed? It really is the season right now!! Totally let me know how you do!!

habee - This is the first time any pets I've ever had have gotten sprayed and of course I get a double dose. lol

Holle Abee from Georgia on May 15, 2010:

Yep - been there! The vinegar definitely helps!

soumailaadamou from new york city on May 15, 2010:

thank you for hub I will try to see if it works I am keeping you informed

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on May 15, 2010:

Putz - It was a horrific smell! especially first thing in the morning! I just know I'm going to be the one getting sprayed one night when I have to take my flashlight out to the yard to find the dogs to bring them in on nights they want to stay out and play. I'm seriously predicting it. lol

drbj - You have no skunks in your area? How don't know why I just had it set in my mind that everyone had skunks. I've learned something new!!

earnesthub - Oh yes...I love my dogs more than anything in the world. As for the skunk....the dog's mouths did not smell so I am assuming they did not eat the skunk. I'm sure they were trying to eat it but hopefully they have learned the difference between squirrels and skunks. It would be nice if they wouldn't kill anything but as much as I try, I can't stop them.

earnestshub from Melbourne Australia on May 14, 2010:

You are very clever! I would not have known what to do. A great hub that says a lot about your love of animals as well as cider vinegar. I assume no skunks got hurt?

drbj and sherry from south Florida on May 14, 2010:

I knew that apple cider vinegar was effective in hundreds of ways but this is a new one to me. I live in an urban area so don';t expect to encounter many skunks - of the 4-legged kind - but I'll remember this antidote if I do.

Thanks for a very informative hub.

Putz Ballard on May 14, 2010:

Bet that was a smelly situation and I didn't know the apple cider vinegar would help to rid the smell. Somebody ran over a big old skunk on the road near my home and just glad it wasn't me. Great hub and will keep this just in case I have a run in with Odie O Cologne.

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on May 14, 2010:

Oh yes!! I hope to have my farm soon too and yes you know there will be plenty of skunks scurrying around I'm sure! I'm glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the rating!! you notice the flowers are all flattened out from the dogs laying in the beds? lol

BkCreative from Brooklyn, New York City on May 14, 2010:

Well ACV it will be. What a marvelous natural product. It does absolutely everything - and I use it for everything and thanks for all these links - you are showing me that there is even more I can do with ACV.

I shall be moving to my farm soon and no doubt there will be skunks and spraying and everything - and I will be prepared. Oooh rated up of course, and I can even rate this useful. For sure I will share it.

Big thanks! (Such great photos!)

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on May 14, 2010:

lol....I went and picked up a big jug to be "safe". I anticipate another spraying I'm sure!! Thanks for reading!!

Katie McMurray from Ohio on May 14, 2010:

herbivorhippi, I'm so glad to know this, we had two incidents last summer where one of our dogs was sprayed, ew.... what a stinky mess and tomatoe juice didn't work. I always have apple cider vinegar. I'll get a special gallon just for the dogs... Peace :) BTW love the dogs good souls!

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