There are numerous formulas or “recipes” to try to de-skunk your pet when he/she has been sprayed by a skunk.  Most people refer to this as being “skunked”. 

While we at Foothill Pet Hospital (FPH) are not convinced that any of the formulas are totally effective, we do feel that they can help in decreasing the strong odor emanating from your pet’s unwise skunk interaction.

According to the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network’s information from Jackie Darbyshire, skunk spray is an oily based substance composed of seven chemical components.  And, that three of those components have a “renewed” reaction to water.  Due to these factors, the skunk odor can be “refreshed” with subsequent wettings if you don’t use some sort of detergent formula to remove it.

The main formulas or “recipes” we have suggested are ones that people have given us good feedback about.  Also, it is not unusual to have to bathe your pet more than one time.  Here are some examples that have worked for our clients:

Manufacturer’s products:

  1. Skunk-off shampoo
  2. Eliminator

Do-It-Yourself formulations:

  1. Kansas State Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital’s recipe:

    Bathe your pet with a mixture of 1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (from the drug store), plus ¼ cup Baking Soda, plus 1 teaspoon liquid soap (i.e. Dawn dishwashing soap).  Lather and/or mix in thoroughly to your pet’s hair/coat for 15 minutes.  Then, rinse off.  Mix fresh each time.  (Do not store the mixture; gas pressure may explode the storage container.)  Repeat as necessary.

  2. Per Jackie from Wildlife Care Network:

    Wash your pet thoroughly with a tearless shampoo around the face area (so it does not irritate the eyes further) and use Dawn dish soap on the rest of your pet. Rinse the soap off thoroughly, and follow it with a rinse composed of 2-3 tablespoons of IMITATION vanilla in 1 quart of warm water.  Do not rinse this off. Just towel dry.

NOTE:  For bad eye irritations, seek veterinary care.  If mild, you can try to rinse with clean, fresh water.