Free Day!
Free Night!

Pet Resources - Grooming

Back to Article Index

Oh, No…My Pet’s Been “Skunked”

skunkSummertime means lots of outdoor fun for us and our pets involving encounters with the local inhabitants. Unfortunately, that may include an occasional encounter with that stinky denizen of summer — a skunk.

Unfortunately, there is no magic elixir that will totally and instantly remove skunk odor. It takes hard work – and time – to completely rid your pet of skunk odor. The professional groomers at Best Friends offer the following advice for "deskunking" your pet.

Respond quickly
When your pet is skunked, quick action is the key, so it’s important to plan ahead.

Before you need it, purchase a large bottle of a skunk spray product, like Nature’s Miracle, and keep it on the porch or in the garage so you can deploy it immediately if there is a skunk encounter. Read the label carefully to be sure that the product you choose is safe when applied directly on the animal.

Contrary to the old wives’ tale, tomato juice isn’t a solution to the skunking problem. In fact, professional groomers employ at least three different products in a multi-step process to get the stink under control.

  • Skunk spray is an oily substance, so it is important to begin with a good degreasing shampoo. Be sure to lather thoroughly.
  • Because the skunking is often mainly on the head, pay special attention to that area. Use a toothbrush or flea comb for applying the products, to get good coverage. Be very careful not to get the product into your pet’s eyes.
  • Once as much of the oil has been removed as possible, lather your pet with specially-formulated "skunk" deodorant shampoo. Again, it’s important to take your time and lather thoroughly.
  • Using a fine comb, work out dead hair and undercoat, especially in contact areas. Reducing the volume of hair affected can also help reduce the odor, so you may want to schedule a haircut for your pet.
  • Follow the bathing with a generous application of the skunk spray. Frequent re-applications over the following days will help get rid of lingering smell.

Take your time working on your pet, being as thorough with each step as possible (even if you have to hold your breath to stand near him!)

Be patient
It’s impossible to remove every trace of odor. While the most effective products can significantly reduce the smell, they may not remove it entirely. When the weather turns humid or your pet gets wet, the smell will seem stronger. Again, the skunk spray can help.

If your stinky pet has found his way into the house and onto furniture, you will need to wash and air fabrics and bedding. Nature’s Miracle® also offers an odor remover that can help take the stink out of rugs and upholstery.

Your pet’s collar and leash will have absorbed the smell, so do not put them back on the dog until they have been thoroughly washed and aired. If cleaning and airing doesn’t help, discard them.

Get professional help
Dealing with a skunked animal is a tedious, unpleasant task and you may want the help of a professional dog groomer. The pet salon has professional products that will enable the groomer to do a thorough job and those efforts will significantly reduce the smell.

For more information about this and other pet grooming problems, call your local Best Friends. To find the Best Friends Pet Salon nearest you, go to Our Centers section of this website.