Dog and skunk meet each other

The Pros and Cons of Using Skunk Shampoo for Dogs


If your dog has ever been in the unlucky position of getting sprayed by a skunk, then you know exactly how serious the situation can be. Aside from the lingering smell, it can take an extraordinary amount of effort to rid your dog's fur of the skunk odor.

Thankfully, pet parents no longer have to rely on regular shampoo or the "tomato juice" trick to eliminate the smell of skunk spray: a number of companies now produce specialized skunk shampoo for dogs. But what are the benefits and potential drawbacks of skunk odor shampoo?

Introducing skunk odor removal shampoo for dogs 

Skunk removal shampoo for your dog is specially formulated to help with the removal of skunk smells from your pup's coat. Unlike store bought dog washes, these de-skunk shampoos will likely have added ingredients designed to absorb and remove skunk smell. Still, it is important that any de-skunk shampoo you use be gentle and effective, and to keep in mind the health of your dog's skin and fur. Some home remedies may seem like a quick fix, but they can damage your dog's coat or skin.

Skunk odor on a dog can be incredibly pungent and hard to remove, so having the right shampoo on hand can make all the difference. 

Dog sniffing and digging outdoors

What does it mean when a dog gets sprayed?

Skunks are known for their ability to emit a chemical spray as an effective defense mechanism. When a skunk feels threatened by a dog or other animals, it will raise its tail, arch its back, and stomp its feet as a warning sign before spraying. Generally, if your dog is being warned, it should be able to back away. However, if your dog views a skunk as a threat, it may continue to bar or try to pursue, at which point it may get sprayed. If the threat persists, the skunk will release a powerful musk containing sulfur-based compounds from glands near the base of the tail, which can travel up to 10 feet and is generally very hard to remove.

The source of "skunk smell"

The smell of a skunk's spray is an unmistakable odor and is incredibly pungent. It has been described as an unpleasant mixture of burnt rubber, garlic, and rotten eggs. This skunk smell is created by a combination of sulfur-based compounds released from the skunk's scent glands. These compounds contain sulfuric acid molecules that easily permeate the dog's fur and skin, leaving behind a long lasting odor that can linger for weeks or even months. This odor is difficult to remove from dog fur, and can even cause skin irritations if not treated properly. This is why a de-skunk-odor shampoo for your dog is such an effective solution to getting rid of the smell quickly and easily. 

Frightened skunk ready to spray

Fortunately, specialized shampoos are now available that help eliminate the smell of skunk spray quickly and effectively. These de-skunk shampoos contain added ingredients designed to absorb and neutralize the odor, while still being gentle on your pet's skin and coat. With these specially formulated products, pet parents can be sure that they will be able to rid their dogs of any lingering evidence that they were ever sprayed by a skunk!

What neutralizes skunk spray odor on a dog?

Skunk odor on a dog can be a challenge to remove, but there are a few methods that may help neutralize the smell. The most popular method is to use a specialized shampoo designed specifically for this purpose. These shampoos contain ingredients that help break down the sulfuric acid molecules in skunk spray and absorb the bad smell from your dog.

Curious skunk on white background

In addition to skunk shampoos, there are a few other methods you can try to remove skunk smell from your dog's coat. Commercial dog odor neutralizers are available that contain natural enzymes designed to break down the sulfuric acid molecules in skunk spray and absorb the bad smell. 

You can also try to make your own odor remover with common household items such as baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap. This may be among the best "homemade remedies," but dish soap and other liquid soap is generally not recommended for heavy applications on a dog's fur.

It is important to note that the "baking soda and hydrogen peroxide" method may not completely remove the smell of spray from your dog's coat. 

The sulfuric acid molecules in the spray are very small and can easily penetrate deep into the fur and skin, making it difficult to eliminate the skunk odor. In this case, a specialized shampoo for dogs can be very effective in getting rid of any lingering odors. 

A skunk preparing to spray

Will dog shampoo get rid of skunk smell?

No, regular dog shampoos will not remove skunk odor. Skunk spray contains sulfuric acid molecules that are small and easily able to penetrate deep into a dog's fur and skin, making it difficult for regular shampoo to fully remove the unpleasant skunk odor. 

While using any kind of shampoo is better than letting the smell persist, you would likely need to do many applications of a regular dog shampoo for any real effect to take place. This could run the risk of drying out or otherwise irritating your dog's skin further, which is especially concerning if your dog has sensitive skin. 

This is why specialized skunk shampoos for dogs are necessary in order to effectively remove skunk odor. These shampoos contain ingredients that help break down and absorb the sulfuric acid molecules, while remaining gentle and safe on your pup's skin and coat. 

A skunk protecting its baby

Pros of using skunk removal shampoo on dogs

There are a number of benefits to using a dog shampoo made for the purpose of removing skunk odor.  These include their specialized ingredients, the ease of use offered for pet parents, and the long-lasting effects versus regular shampoos. 

Read on below to see some of the unique advantages:

Specialized and Safe

The first obvious benefit is that a specialized dog shampoo contain specialized active ingredients, such as activated charcoal and enzymes, which are explicitly included to absorb and eliminate the spray molecules and neutralize the stench. 

Additionally, the formula in these shampoos is made to be safe and effective for regular use on dogs without causing any skin irritation or dryness. 

This is important because the ingredients in regular dog shampoo are not optimal for breaking down sulfur-based molecules, so they can cause further skin irritation if used too often. Specialized shampoo removes skunk smell fast, and ultimately more safely, than alternative methods like the "tomato juice" remedy. 

A curious dog meets a skunk

Ease of use

Third, de-skunk shampoo is a relatively easy-to-use application, which means it's less labor-intensive than other options. Plus, due to the specialized active ingredients, it's all but guaranteed to give you a reliable, long-lasting solution to skunk smell on your furry friend. 

Long-lasting and Restorative

Fourth, an added benefit of the active ingredients neutralizing odors is that they prevent future skunk odors from developing, so you can enjoy the fresh scent of your dog without worrying about the smell creeping back through!  

Finally, de-skunk shampoo is also a great way to restore your pup’s natural coat and fur protection, as it helps to protect the fur from dirt, debris, and other environmental elements that can cause damage over time. Nuesta Pets' Skunk Odor Remover system provides a safe, non-toxic way to "get the skunk off" with natural ingredients while restoring the luster of your dog's coat.

A skunk senses a threat

Cons of using skunk removal shampoo on your dog  

While we believe specialized skunk shampoos are the way to go, there are some factors to consider before making a purchase. 

Harsh chemicals may be present

It is important to always read the ingredient list on the bottle before using, as some shampoos may contain harsh chemicals or fragrances that could be harmful to your dog, especially if it has sensitive skin. At Nuesta, we use activated charcoal in our shampoo to help absorb and neutralize the sulfuric odors. A good shampoo for dogs will never use harsh chemicals, so it's crucial to make sure the product you choose will not further irritate your dog's skin.

A skunk foraging for treats

They need to be used ASAP

Skunk shampoo needs to be used right away to avoid any sort of adverse reactions on your dog, as well as to avoid your whole home being overtaken by the odor. If you allow the stench to marinate on your dog for too long, the shampoo will not be as effective, and your dog may start to develop skin irritation, so be sure to use your de-skunk shampoo promptly.

Keep a bottle at the ready

It is also important to remember that because skunk sprays could occur anytime, you should have a bottle of skunk odor shampoo on hand for a "just-in-case" scenario. Skunks are nocturnal, meaning that if your pup gets sprayed at nighttime, pet stores and other retailers may be closed for business. Don't get caught emptyhanded with a time sensitive issue like a skunk spray!

By taking into account both the pros and cons of skunk shampoo, you can make an informed decision on whether or not this solution is right for your dog. Skunk odor shampoos offer an effective and reliable way to quickly eliminate the smell of skunk spray, so that you can get back to enjoying time with your sweet-smelling dog! 

Small dog frightened by skunk

Tips for applying and removing the shampoo from your pet's fur


Below are some helpful tips for how to properly use a specialized shampoo to help ensure the most effective treatment and results.

  • Consider wearing a pair of rubber gloves to avoid getting any skunk odor on yourself. 
  • When applying shampoo, pet parents should always follow the directions on the bottle for best results. Gently massage deep into your dog's coat. As with any shampoo, avoid your dog's eyes or other sensitive areas and be careful with your dog's head.
  • Before rinsing off your dog after using skunk shampoo, make sure to use a gentle brush or comb to remove excess product from their coat. 
  • Rinse with warm water until all of the product is gone and there are no suds left in their fur. 
  • After rinsing, dry your pet's coat with a soft towel before allowing them out into the yard or playing outside again.
  • It may take several applications of shampoo to completely eliminate odor, so repeat as needed until desired results are achieved.
A happy dog after a skunk odor removal bath

How Nuesta Pets' Skunk Odor Remover System is different than others

Nuesta's powerful skunk odor remover is a three-step system featuring two components: our deodorant spray and pet shampoo. 

The deodorant spray removes skunk smell fast from your pet's coat, and is safe to use on other home surfaces, including upholstery, just in case your fur babies carry the strong smell to other parts of your home. 

While other pet shampoo will either mask the smell or be ineffective against it, Nuesta's skunk odor remover system is designed for pet parents who believe in natural pet care and also need a deep-cleaning solution. 

To use, follow these three steps:

  1. Apply Nuesta Pets Skunk Odor Remover Deodorant Spray directly onto the source of the odor. Leave on for 5 minutes and brush through
  2. In the bath, apply Nuesta Pets Skunk Odor Remover Pet Shampoo to your dog with a heavy lather. Massage in and allow it to work its magic for 5-10 minutes before thoroughly rinsing it out.
  3. Towel dry and follow up with Nuesta Pets Skunk Odor Remover Deodorant Spray for long-term odor control. Reapply and brush out as needed to keep your furry friend fresh and ready for snuggles. 
A curious dog outdoors

Wrap up - summarizing the pros and cons of using skunk odor shampoo for dogs

Skunk odor removal shampoo is a great way to quickly eliminate skunk smells from your dog. Using skunk odor shampoos can be effective and reliable, but it is important to consider the pros and cons before using this product on your dog. Alternative remedies exist, like baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, but these are rarely completely effective.

To maximize effectiveness, it is best to use the shampoo as soon as possible after the spray occurs, and to follow the directions on the bottle for best results. Keeping a bottle of skunk odor shampoo on hand can give you peace of mind knowing you are prepared if your dog ever gets sprayed. 

Nuesta Pets offers a three-step skunk odor remover system that is designed specifically for dog parents who need a long-lasting solution. With the right product and application, de-skunk shampoos can help keep your pet smelling fresh and free of spray in no-time!