Skunks are a general nuisance and can pose a number of problems for humans. While skunks are naturally afraid of humans, they will risk human contact to explore garbage cans and other food areas in search of a meal. Confronting a skunk can put humans at a definite risk of getting sprayed with the potent, stinging urine-like spray that is the protective mechanism a skunk will use when it feels threatened.
Even if a skunk never comes into direct contact with a human, many pets such as cats and dogs are often sprayed and will stink for a long time afterwards. The smell of a skunk's protective spray is strong and it will take a lot of effort to rid your pet of it in the even they are sprayed. It can even cause temporary blindness. Skunks are also known for being carries of rabies which can infect pets and cause major health problems and even death. Rather than confining your pet to the indoors, it is probably best to eliminate the skunks in the area as they will also eat garden foods and destroy plant life in the area.
Skunks just like raccoons can be drawn to your garbage bin, make sure you keep yours well secured with a weighted lid.
One potential way to get rid of skunks is to use a skunk repellent that uses the power of scent to deter them from nesting in or visiting a certain area. Certain powders and granules can be purchased that contain an element of the predator most feared by a skunk - the fox. By using components found in the predator's urine, these substances claim to trick the skunk into thinking the area has been inhabited by a fox and is now a dangerous place to be. As long as the smell remains, a skunk will not return.
Be sure to cover all the areas you want to a skunk to stay away from as they may move, but will probably not go far is there is a place nearby they feel safe in. Cover areas such as under decks, barns and garages, sheds and crawl spaces with skunk repellents to make sure they leave the area and keep up with the applications to insure that they don't return.
This may not the be most effective method for repelling skunks, because outright removal is the only guaranteed way to keep them from any specific areas, however, there may be cases in which powers and granules with the predator scent will work.
New devices with LEDs that mimic the eyes of a predator can also be used as a night time skunk deterrent.