Skunk Spray FAQ

Skunk

Ugh. Is there anything stinkier than the smell of a skunk?

If you think about it, maybe you can come up with one. The thing is, that smell probably won’t go walking through your yard, spray your dog or move under your porch.

You definitely know what that skunk spray smells like. How much more do you know about skunk spray?

Because we are asked a lot of questions about it, in this post, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about skunk spray that we hear.

Skunk Spray Frequently Asked Questions

What is skunk spray?

Skunk spray is a weapon employed by skunks to provide defense. It’s an adaptation that helps protect skunks from many would-be predators in nature. The oily spray is produced by two glands. There is one on each side of a skunk’s anus. These glands produce the spray, which is a mixture of sulfur-containing chemicals such as thiols, which produce an offensive odor. Thiols are also present in decaying flesh.

The science of skunk spray

Is skunk spray bad for you? Can skunk spray kill you?

Skunk spray is not poisonous; it will not kill you or your pets. A direct hit to the eyes has been known to cause temporary blindness. The extreme odor can cause nausea and even vomiting, as well as watery eyes, and itching. It also causes people to avoid you, even your family. You can’t blame them though; it stinks!

Is skunk spray poisonous to dogs?

Skunk spray is not poisonous to dogs or humans. It can make your dog nauseous and cause them to hack and vomit, but it will not kill them.

How far can skunks spray?

You don’t want to find out! Seriously though, skunks can easily spray 10 feet and have been known to spray up to 20 feet. Not only can they spray you from up to 20 feet away, they can do it with great accuracy. One good thing though; a skunk won’t spray you without warning, so you won’t get sprayed unknowingly by a skunk sneaking up on you.

How far away can you smell a skunk?

If a skunk is not threatened and hasn’t sprayed, it’s possible you might not even notice the odor until it gets very close. You’ll often smell a skunk if it’s within 20 feet of you, the same distance at which you’re in danger of getting sprayed. The skunk spray is so powerful though that it’s possible to smell a skunk spray up to a mile to a mile and a half away, and even farther on a windy day.

How long does it take for a skunk smell to go away?

The length that a skunk spray will linger can vary and depend on other factors. If you or your dog gets sprayed, the sooner you can wash it off the better. If left untreated, it’s possible the skunk smell can remain 2-4 months. Don’t wait to clean and don’t let your dog (or you) run around the house getting the smell on things.

If the spray is in a very concentrated or contained area, it can last longer. People who have had a skunk spray the wood on their house have said it can linger for years. Skunk smell can be eliminated very quickly under the right circumstances if you act quickly. That’s why if you have a dog, it’s a good idea to keep skunk spray removal items in your house at the ready for when you need them.

How do you get rid of skunk spray on a dog?

For many years, people have repeated the myth that tomato paste can get rid of skunk smell on a dog. It doesn’t really work though.

The best way to get rid of skunk smell on your dog is to wash immediately with a mixture of 3%  hydrogen peroxide, a ¼ cup of baking soda, and a teaspoon of Dawn liquid dish soap.

Home remedy to remove skunk smell from dogs

Keep those ingredients on hand for when you need them. Time is important if you want to get rid of that skunk smell and not have it linger for months. Don’t mix it together ahead of time though, because the chemical nature of the mixture will not last and it will be ineffective.

Related: What to do when your dog gets skunked


For professional skunk removal services in the Chicago suburban area, contact Attic Solutions for humane removal of skunks and other pests.

Contact us online or call 847-464-1861