What Not to Do When Getting Sap Out of Dog Fur
Steer clear of astringent solvents, chemical detergents, petroleum products, and alcohol. They’re harsh on sensitive skin, not good for your dog to lick, can irritate eyes, and won’t always break up the sap the way an oil-based substance will.
A: When it comes to sticky things in fur, there are a lot of different recommended remedies for removal. For instance, creamy peanut butter helps to soften chewing gum. It seems counterintuitive to use sticky stuff to remove sticky stuff, but it’s the oil in the peanut butter that does the trick. Olive oil, butter and mayonnaise can work, too. Whichever you choose, rub it into the area with the sticky substance, let it sit for a few minutes, and then carefully comb it out or work it out with your fingers.
Read more, including about cats who love to go adventuring, in this week’s Pet Connection!
Tree sap can be a stickier wicket, though. The peanut butter or oil trick may work, but sometimes tree sap is a job for alcohol — the drinking kind. Vodka, to be exact. The alcohol dissolves the tree sap. While you shouldn’t allow your dog to lick the treated area, the vodka is less risky for him to ingest than isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. If you don’t have vodka on hand, I’ve heard anecdotally that bourbon works equally well.
Q: Help! My border collie got pine tree sap in her fur. How do I get it out?
The sap may have hardened by the time you discover it. If that’s the case, use a blow-dryer on a low setting to soften it before you begin removal. Make sure you don’t hold it too close to the skin or you could burn your dog.
Don’t Be Afraid to Pull Out the Scissors
Even after following all the above steps, there will still probably be a few pieces that are stubborn and refuse to be removed. In these cases, don’t be afraid to pull out the scissors and cut out the sap pieces as necessary.
Preferably, you don’t want to do this too much, as it can leave bald spots. A few little clips here and there will likely not be noticeable, though.
Avoid cutting too close to the skin, as you don’t want to clip your dog’s skin and cause sores accidentally.
It is vital to keep in mind that some breeds should never have their hair cut, as it can mess with their temperature regulation and cause all sorts of problems. Even if they have stubborn sap spots, you should remove them through a brigade of oil and gentle brushing, not scissors. This includes breeds like the Siberian Husky.
Easy way to remove pine sap | Cottage Q&A with Michelle Kelly
Pitch is also known as tree sap. This sap runs through veins in tree branches and leaves. Pitch often gets stuck to an animals fur when it drips from a broken branch or runs down the bark of the tree trunk and the animal brushes against it. The sap is thick and sticky, making it difficult to remove from fur. The key to removing pitch is to reduce the saps stickiness.
Wash the fur with warm water and dish soap. Let the soapy mixture soak for 10 minutes. With the soapy mixture still on the fur, comb the pitch out of the fur with a steel comb. Rinse the fur once the pitch has been removed.
Coat the pitch with vegetable shortening to dissolve the gummy substance in the sap. Wipe the fur with a clean cloth and wash it with soapy water to remove the vegetable shortening.
Dab the pitch with peanut butter. The natural oils in the peanut butter break down the sap and makes it easier to remove. With the peanut butter still on the fur, comb the pitch out of the fur with a steel comb. Wash the fur with soapy water to remove the peanut butter.
Apply a warm, wet facecloth to the pitch for at least five minutes to soften it. Apply a few drops of vegetable oil to your fingers and rub the oil into the pitch. Continue to work the oil into the pitch until the pitch dissolves.
Apply mayonnaise to the pitch. Mayonnaise also contains natural oils that break down the gummy substance in the fur and make it easier to remove. Wipe the fur with a clean cloth to remove the mayonnaise and any remaining pitch.
Rub olive oil on the pitch. With the olive oil still on the fur, comb the pitch out of the fur with a steel comb. Wash the fur with soapy water to remove the oil.
Apply an ice cub to the pitch for at least five minutes. Pitch hardens and becomes brittle when it is cold. After the pitch has hardened, crumble or break it with your fingers and gently remove it from the fur.
Rub petroleum jelly on the pitch. The oil in the petroleum jelly also dissolves the pitch and makes it easier to remove from fur. Wipe the fur with a clean cloth to remove all of the petroleum jelly and remaining pitch.
Shave your pet. If you cannot remove the pitch with a cleaning agent, shave the fur using electric clippers or a disposable razor. This may create a bald spot where the fur has been shaved but will remove the sap and sticky fur.