Dogs get into some sticky situations, and there are few things stickier than tree sap. Your dog 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 get sap out of your dog's fur. Avoid using petroleum products as they may be harmful to your dog. Petroleum-based products can cause illness or death if they are ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through your dog's skin.
Head for the pantry
Alcohol-based products are effective for removing tree sap from your dog's fur. Simply rub some alcohol-based hand sanitizer onto the sap-covered portions of your dog's fur. Follow it up with a bath. According to Gardening Know How, grease-cutting dish soap and Crisco are also effective for removing tree sap.
Other effective sap-removing ingredients are oily ones, such as olive oil, peanut butter, and mayonnaise. Saturate the affected area 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.
Use a hair dryer set to the lowest setting to soften the sap and make it easier for you to comb out. Once the sap is soft, rinse the area with warm water, and use a comb to gently remove the sap.
Commercial sap-removing products
If you prefer purchasing a product formulated specifically for removing tree sap from your dog's fur, 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 know it's been tested.
Because oil is an effective sap remover, commercial products for getting sap out of your dog's hair will be oil-based. Some are similar to cold cream and some are spray-on preparations, but both are designed to 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. They might be effective, but they would also be harsh on delicate skin.
Additionally, 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 dangerous. According to the Merck Manual, petroleum, kerosene, diesel fuel, crude oil, and other hydrocarbon mixtures are poisonous to dogs whether they are ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin.
Give your dog a bath
Once you've succeeded in removing the sap, bathe your dog to ensure you've extracted every last trace of the sap as well as whatever you used to remove it. A professional grooming might be in order, especially if the sap was stuck in a sensitive area, such as around the eyes, in the ears, or between the 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 a professional groomer handle the situation.