Dogs and cats are both curious creatures by design, and sometimes, that need to explore can come back to haunt them, and their guardians, for days. If your pet has been sprayed by a skunk, you don't need to panic but you will need to treat the issue as that smell will not go away on its own. Finding the right skunk odor remover will depend on your pet, their tolerance for bathing, and the severity of the skunk's attack on your olfactory senses.
Sprays and shampoos are generally the go-to solutions for such an occasion and can be found in a variety of formula strengths intended to treat the issue without irritating your pet's skin. If your pet has been sprayed by a skunk, don't fret—skunk spray is harmless, but if your pet has been sprayed in the face and his eyes are irritated, you should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Video of the Day
What to Consider When Purchasing Skunk Odor Remover for Your Pet
Odor Intensity: Are we talking "my dog walked through an area that a skunk recently sprayed," or "my cat got sprayed directly in the face?" The severity of your pet's skunk odor attack should influence the type of product you get for her. Mild cases may get by with a spray or leave-in option, while more severe sprayings will likely require at least a couple of shampoos.
Bathing Tolerance: When using a skunk odor remover, you'll likely need to allow the product to rest on your dog's skin and hair for several minutes before washing it off, and you'll probably need to do this at least a couple of times. If your dog finds baths traumatic, look to a leave-in option like a spray, which may work to neutralize skunk odors in mild cases.
Skin Sensitivity: There's not much worse than the smell of a skunk on pet fur, but as badly as we might wish to scrub our pets clean and get them smelling back to normal, we have to consider whether our pet's skin can handle repeated washings. Dogs with sensitive skin, allergies to skincare ingredients, and pets whose skin tends to overgrow yeast or other fungi will likely have bad reactions to multiple washings, so if that's your pet's case, take him to a groomer to get the job done right, ASAP.
Manage Expectations: It's important to remember that whatever product you use on your dog or cat to get rid of a skunk odor will likely not eliminate the smell with the first wash. It may not even get the job done with the second wash—these things are sometimes a process. That said, finding the right odor remover for your dog, washing him regularly, and doing your best to avoid more skunking while you attempt to get back to normal will get your canine back on track as quickly as possible.
The Best Overall Skunk Odor Remover
Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover, 32-oz. Bottle
Nature's Miracle products have been eliminating unpleasant smells associated with pets for years, namely, urine and feces. Their skunk odor removal treatment uses the same bio-enzymatic formula that makes their other products so effective at neutralizing odors to get skunk spray smells off of your pet. Additionally, this product breaks down the oils sprayed by skunks, which carries the odor and makes it hard to remove. Once you're done treating your pet, you can also use this to wash clothing, fabric, and even floors that have been affected by a skunk's spray. This is to be used as a pre-shampoo treatment—just allow it to sit on your pet's coat for five minutes before washing with their regular shampoo.
The Best Shampoo Skunk Odor Remover
SynergyLabs De-Skunk Odor Destroying Shampoo, 32-oz. Bottle
If you have severe spraying on your hands, you'll want to find a shampoo to wash that lingering odor away. This shampoo contains degreasing ingredients that dissolve oils that contain unwanted smells at an affordable price. Fabric items like collars, leashes, and other materials that may have been contaminated by skunk odor can also be scrubbed clean with this product. To use, just lather your pet, allow it to sit for three to five minutes before rinsing, and repeat as needed. This item claims to be gentle enough to not irritate the skin, however, it does contain isopropyl alcohol and strong surfactants, so let your dog rest in between washes if she has sensitive skin.
The Best Spray Skunk Odor Remover
Skunk Off Skunk Odor Eliminator Pet Spray, 32-oz. Bottle
If you have a pet who absolutely will not tolerate a bath, have a mild case of skunking on your hands, or are just looking for something to tackle skunk smells in tandem with other treatments, this spray can help. This is a professional-grade cleansing product that's the most used throughout the veterinary industry in North America and requires no rinsing, shampooing, or removal on dogs after it's applied (if you're using this on a cat, however, you should rinse it off.) This spray also works well to remove lingering odors around the home, and is safe for use on carpeting and most upholstery. If you want to sample the product before investing in a 32-ounce bottle, it also comes in an 8-ounce size.
The Best Skunk Odor Remover for Cats
Skunk Away Skunk Odor Remover, 16-oz. Bottle
While dogs are usually the ones getting doused in skunk spray, curious cats may also find themselves on the wrong end of a skunk's behind. This spray doesn't require rinsing, which is ideal for water-averse felines and is biodegradable and safe for use on pets and fabric. Unlike most commercial sprays, this is sold in a spray bottle as a powder—you just add water to activate the ingredients as needed. It is recommended that you protect your pet's eyes when spraying this product, and spray some onto a cloth when treating the face and ears rather than spray directly onto those areas.
The Best Skunk Odor Remover for Dogs
Hyponic De-Skunk Pet Shampoo, 16.9-oz. Bottle
Just about any skunk odor remover product is going to be safe for dogs to use, but most deodorizing dog shampoos contain harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin. This shampoo contains all-natural ingredients, like quinoa seed and rosebud extract, to eliminate odors without the use of sulfates, mineral oil, parabens, or silicone. Hyponic completed a skunk odor test at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Seoul National University and claims its product can remove 90% of odor in one wash. If you are using a flea and tick treatment on your dog, be sure to check the bathing directions on your medication before using dog shampoo.
The Best Multi-Purpose Skunk Odor Remover
Thornell Cat Odor-Off Concentrate, 16-oz. Bottle
Even after you've gotten the skunk smell off of your pet, that odor tends to linger, especially on items around the house like carpeting, furniture upholstery, towels, and pet gear including leashes and collars. This remover, which comes sold as a concentrated powder that you measure out and mix with water to treat odors, is safe for use on your pet's fur and the fabrics around your home, while still effective enough to remove unwanted smells. As with any cleaning product, be sure to spot test this product before using it on colored fabrics, and avoid spraying it directly into your pet's face.