How Long Does Skunk Smell Last?

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skunk smell lasts

Enjoying some fresh air is great. Spending time outdoors with your favorite pet, like a dog that loves camping and hiking with you, is even better. Of course, things can go pretty wrong sometimes when you’re out enjoying the Great Outdoors – especially if your dog (or you!) ends up on the wrong end of a startled skunk.

dog walking in woods

That awful, cloying, eye-watering smell is a skunk’s claim to fame, and it’s always a good reason to give the little critters a wide berth. But if you or your dog come upon one suddenly and it lets loose, it’s too late. Now, you’re stuck asking yourself “how long does skunk smell last?” while you try, without success, to get it out of your dog’s coat or your own clothes. Don’t worry – we’ve got the answers for you right here. And from the smell of things, not a moment too soon!

Why Skunks Spray

Skunks are pretty docile creatures. They just want to be left alone, and for the most part they are – all it takes is a predator to get sprayed once and they’ll learn their lesson. Skunks will spray anything they see as a threat, but unless they’re startled they will give you some warning. If you do come upon a skunk suddenly, well – bad luck for you. Dogs who have never seen a skunk before are even more likely to be sprayed, as they don’t know what this strange black-and-white thing is and what it can do. Let’s face it – we love our dogs, but nobody said they were the smartest!

How Long Does Skunk Smell Last On a Dog?

skunk and dog

Skunk smell is such a great defense because it’s so hard to get rid of. It’s made of some very tough chemical compounds that do not break down very quickly. Everyone might have their own folk remedy for getting rid of skunk smell on a dog’s fur, but most, like that tomato juice bath, don’t do squat – instead, you need to attack the problem at the source. Use a skunk smell remover with an enzymatic formula to eliminate skunk smell, as these products are designed specifically to neutralize the chemical compounds in skunk spray. Otherwise, get used to that skunk smell lasting a long, long time – weeks, in fact!

Only the Nose Knows

Good news first: skunks really don’t want to spray you or your dog. Of course if one thing leads to another, you’re stuck with that acrid stench until you can get rid of it. Better off not getting sprayed ever, so go for walks with your dog on a leash. This is especially true at night, when skunks tend to be the most active. If you’re by yourself, either freeze or back away slowly – do not make any sudden moves. If you still get sprayed, reach for that enzymatic skunk spray remover and leaves the cans of crushed tomatoes in your pantry.

For more education information contact Tom Bissanti: or visit our pet industry education website.

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