How to Get Skunk & Dead Fish Smell Off Your Dog

tips for tackling dog smells

Some dogs have a knack for getting themselves good and stinky. Here are tips for cleaning up three particularly offensive (to humans, at least) smells: skunk, dead fish, and "I don't even want to know what you rolled in."

Be very careful not to get any of these cleansers in your dog's eyes or ears -— if you do, flush thoroughly with water and call your vet.

Skunk: If your dog tangles with a skunk, here's a formula that works for many dog parents:

  • 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon liquid soap

Use the mixture immediately (it cannot be stored in a container), while it's bubbly, and rinse thoroughly. It may discolor fabric as well as dark colored fur.

Don't leave the mixture on your dog more than a few minutes. Bathe and condition afterward, if you like.

Dead fish: If you spend time with your dog by a pond, lake, or beach, he may anoint himself from time to time with eau de dead fish.

Wash the worst of it off with dog shampoo and water, and rinse well. Then saturate the fishy area with lemon juice - freshly squeezed works best. Let it soak for five to ten minutes -- a nice time to chat with your dog. (Don't scold him -- he's just doing dog things that you could prevent with a leash.)

Then rinse, shampoo, and rinse again, and apply conditioner according to directions to counteract the drying effect of the lemon juice.

Icky, greasy, who-knows-what gunk: If your dog rolls in foul-smelling things he finds in the yard or on a walk, a bath with Dawn dishwashing liquid will probably remove it. Dawn is often used to clean up wildlife that has been exposed to oil and other toxic substances.