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Ways To Clean a Pet That Has Been Skunked


If you have a pet, there’s a good chance that it will get skunked at some point. Skunks are common in North America, and they can spray a potent odor that will stick to your pet for days. Cleaning your pet after a skunk has sprayed it can be difficult, but you can get the job done quickly and easily with the right tips and techniques. This article will discuss the best ways to clean a pet that has been skunked. It will provide instructions on each method, so you can choose the one that works best for you and your pet.

Pet Shampoo

One method is to use a pet shampoo to clean your skunked dog. However, make sure the shampoo does not contain any added dyes or perfumes as these chemicals may cause problems for the animal’s health and well-being. This method will work best in most cases if you bathe your pet within an hour of the skunk spraying them. Gradually work the shampoo into your dog’s fur, ensuring that all parts of their body are thoroughly covered. This will allow you to remove as much of the skunk smell from your dog’s fur as possible, so it doesn’t remain there for long periods. 

Baking Soda

Baking soda may be one of the best ways to clean a skunked pet. Mix three tablespoons of baking soda with every cup of warm water that you use to bathe your pet. You can use your pet’s regular shampoo or dish soap, but make sure it’s completely free of any dyes or perfumes.

Then, lather up your pet and allow the shampoo to remain on the hair and skin for about five minutes. After that, rinse thoroughly. Doing this will help neutralize the smell of skunk spray from your pet’s fur. While a baking soda-based cleanser may not eliminate odors, it can certainly reduce them significantly, making the smell much more tolerable for both you and your pet.


Vinegar may be effective when it comes to skunk odor removal as well. Different types of vinegar, including white and apple cider vinegar, have been known to give a great shampoo-like cleaning action on a pet that a skunk has sprayed. Mix one cup of vinegar with every three cups of warm water you use for your pet’s bath. Bathe your pet as you normally would, using the mixture to remove the skunk smell from their fur rather than shampoo or dish soap.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Another popular choice is hydrogen peroxide, which you can use to remove skunk smells from your pet’s fur without harming any part of their body or health. Mix three parts of water with one part hydrogen peroxide and use a sponge to apply the mixture to your pet’s fur. After applying it, allow it to sit for up to five minutes before rinsing with water. Afterward, brush or comb as you usually would and allow your pet’s fur to dry on its own. The hydrogen peroxide should eliminate the smell of skunk.

Acidic Foods

One final way to clean a skunked pet is to use acidic foods. These may include lemon juice, tomato juice, and orange juice. Buy these at your local grocery store to use them on your pet. While this method is relatively effective when removing the skunk smell from fur, allowing any of these acidic solutions to stay on your pet’s skin for too long can cause irritation or burning sensations. Therefore, you should only apply it to a pet’s fur, never directly to their skin, when cleaning them up. After you’ve used a food solution to clean your skunked pet, make sure you rinse it all off thoroughly with water.

Prevention Is the Best Medicine

As always, prevention is key. Skunks are more likely to spray dogs that are chasing or taunting them, so keeping your pets away from skunks whenever possible is a good idea for avoiding this hot mess altogether. However, if you’re still worried about a skunk spraying your pet, it’s a good idea to invest in a skunk collar.

Skunk collars contain a mixture of essential oils that give off a smell not dissimilar to lemon juice, which naturally deters skunks and prevents them from spraying your pet with their noxious smelling spray. This method is also effective at deterring other pests as well, such as opossums and raccoons, so it can be the perfect choice for pet owners worried about pests invading their yards.


Keeping your pet away from areas where skunks may frequent is the best way to ensure they will not get sprayed by them. However, if you’re still worried about this happening, there are several products that you can use to clean up a skunk-sprayed pet. Skunk sprays can be difficult to remove entirely with water and shampoo, so trying other products or methods may be your best bet. You can try all these methods and see which works best for you. That way, you can ensure that a nasty smell isn’t lingering on your pet!