How to Remove Tree Sap From Dog Hair

By Elle Di Jensen

Dogs get into some sticky situations, but there are few things stickier than tree sap. Even without mischief in mind, Trixie could step in a fresh, gooey blob of sap or get it matted into her fur just by brushing against a tree's trunk or rolling on the ground under its limbs. Thankfully, a number of home remedies and commercial preparations can rid her fur of the mess. Avoid using petroleum products, though, as they could be harmful.

Head for the Pantry

If Trixie turns up with wads of tree sap gumming up her hair, you'll find useful remedies right in your pantry. The best ingredients for removing tree sap from dog hair are oily ones, such as olive oil, peanut butter and mayonnaise. Just saturate the sappy section of Trixie's hair with the home remedy of your choice. You may need to rub it in to encourage the gums in the sap to dissolve, depending on whether it's fresh or has dried.

Of course, you'll need to keep Trixie from licking at the sap remover, too. According to Gardening Know How website, a blow-dryer set to the lowest warm setting will help with the softening process. Once the sap is softened, rinse the area with warm water and use a comb to gently pull the sap from Trixie's hair.

Commercial Options

If you prefer purchasing a product formulated specifically for de-gunking your dog, you'll find several of them at your local pet supply store. The benefit of opting for a commercial pet sap remover is that you'll know it is safe to use on Trixie. Because oil is an effective sap remover, commercial products for getting sap out of your dog's hair will be oil-based. Some come in a jar like the cold cream women use, and some are spray-on preparations, but they typically leave your dog's hair soft and shiny.

What NOT to Use

When faced with the sticky mess of tree sap in your dog's hair, don't reach for detergents and household cleaners, advises. They might be effective, but they would also be harsh on Trixie's delicate skin. Also, even though petroleum products that work as solvents and degreasers would make quick work of matted tree sap in a dog's hair, they're also dangerous. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, petroleum and petroleum-based products are poisonous to animals, whether ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

Last Step: Grooming

Once you've succeeded in getting the sap out of Trixie's hair, give her a bath. That will ensure you've extracted every last trace of the tree gunk, as well as whatever you used to remove it. Bathe her yourself or take her to the groomer. A professional grooming might be in order anyway, if Trixie managed to get sap stuck in a sensitive area such as around her eyes, in her ears or between her toes. If the homemade or store-bought remedies don't work, or the sap is in a difficult spot, don't attempt to cut the mess out on your own. Let the groomer take care of the problem.