How to Get Sap Out of Dog Fur – A Complete Guide

Tree sap can create some of the most stubborn and frustrating stains. Whether you are removing it from your clothes or a curious dog’s fur, tree sap can be a real nuisance. Unfortunately, dogs have a tendency to roll around on the ground, pick up sap-covered sticks, and explore the underbrush whenever they get the opportunity.

dog in forest

If your furry friend is covered in sticky sap and you are unsure what to do, you have come to the right place! This straightforward guide will explain a step-by-step method for quickly and easily removing this stubborn substance from your pup’s fur! As an added bonus, we will also quickly explain how you can remove tree sap from your dog’s paws and nose!

Table of Contents

Step-by-Step Guide for Getting Sap Out of Dog Fur

So, you have noticed a clump of sticky sap in your dog’s fur? Rather than allow yourself to become frustrated, simply work through the following steps and make sure you remain patient.

Step 1 – Soften the Sap

If the sap – whether it’s pine tree sap or another sticky substance – has been in your dog’s fur long enough to harden, you will need to loosen the dog hair up again. One of the easiest ways to soften tree sap is to apply heat. If you have one, use a hair dryer on a warm setting and direct the heat to the sappy part of the dog’s fur.

Make sure you are not using the hottest setting and do not hold the hair dryer too close to the surface of the dog’s coat, as you want to make sure you do not burn your pooch! Mild heat should be enough to soften the sap.

Check the sap periodically with your fingers. Ideally, it will have a soft, sticky, and putty-like texture. Loosening the sap will make it significantly easier to remove, but you have to be careful that you do not allow it to transfer from your fingers to another segment of your dog’s coat.

If you do not have a hair dryer, a cloth that is soaked in hot water should do the trick.

Note: If the sap is not hard, meaning the dog just got it on his or her fur, you will not have to worry about softening it and you can skip this step.

Step 2 – Apply an Oil-Based Product to the Sap

olive oil

Now that the sap is soft, you can apply an oil – like olive oil or baby oil – to the sap and any of the surrounding fur that is sticky.

While you can certainly use a commercial sap-removing product, plain old vegetable oil will also do the trick. If you have your choice, try to use olive oil, as it can help soothe the dog’s skin, which could be irritated from the sap.

As an added bonus, having oil on your fingers will prevent the sap from sticking to your own skin.

Simply apply oil to the sap itself and work it into the surrounding fur. After you have massaged the oil into the affected area as thoroughly as possible, let it sit for several minutes. You should try to distract your dog while the oil works into the fur, as you do not want them licking the oil or the sap.

Remember, when it comes to distracting a dog, smeared peanut butter can be your friend!

Step 3 – Work the Sap Out of the Fur

Now that the oil has been allowed to sit on the surface of the sap-covered fur, you have to move on to the most difficult step – working the sap out of the coat. If you have one handy, use a plastic, wide-toothed comb that you can risk getting ruined.

Use your fingers as much as possible and really work the oil into the fur. Try to scrape the sap out of the fur with your fingernails, but if you must, use the comb. Remember not to pull too hard on the fur, as this can tug at the dog’s skin and be quite painful.

Breaking up the sap will make it easier to remove, so you can attempt to pull the sap-covered fur apart. Add more oil if your cleaning efforts have wiped some of the oil away. Remember, this step can take quite a bit of time, so do not worry if it takes more than one attempt. After all, the more sap you are able to remove with your fingers and the comb, the less fur you will have to cut from your dog’s coat.

Step 4 – Cut Away Fur that You Cannot Clean

If you have a dog with a long, thick coat, you may need to cut away some of the sap-covered fur, especially if you simply cannot remove it using oil and your fingertips.

Obviously, you do not want to leave your dog with a noticeable bald spot, so only cut away fur when it is absolutely necessary. To do so, use a clean pair of grooming scissors, or, if you only have kitchen scissors, these will also do the trick.

Remember, a dog’s fur will grow back, so it is better to clip away a few stubborn hairs than to risk leaving the sap in, as it can lead to painful and irritating matts if it is left to tangle.

Step 5 – Give Your Dog a Good Bath

dog taking bath

Now that you have done everything you can to remove any noticeable sap from your dog’s fur, it is time to give your pooch a good bath. Not only can this help remove any trace amounts of sap that you might have missed, but it will also help remove dead hair and excess oil from the coat.

Use a gentle, dog-friendly shampoo, especially if your dog has sensitive skin. Wash your dog as you would during any typical bath but give a little bit of extra attention to the patch of fur that was covered in sap.

Once the bath is complete, dry your pooch off. Once the coat is completely dry, inspect the fur for any remaining sap. If you find more sap, you can repeat all of the steps outlined above, but you may want to wait a day to give your dog a break from the process.

How to Remove Sap from Your Dog’s Paws

Thankfully, removing sap from your dog’s nose and paws is much easier than removing it from their coat.

Just like you would with the fur, apply olive oil or mineral oil to the portion of the paw pad or nose that came into contact with the sap. After massaging in the oil, rub it gently with your thumb, as this should help the sap clump up and loosen from the surface of the skin.

From here, wet the paw with warm water and gently rub it with a pet-specific soap or shampoo. As is the case with sap on the fur, the sooner you act, the easier it will be to remove.


If you have tried everything in your power to remove the sap and you still are making no progress, you can take your dog to a professional groomer, as they have the experience and skills required to remove even the most stubborn stains from a dog’s coat.

If the sap has caused noticeable irritation to your dog’s skin, it is possible that they could have a mild allergy. In this case, you should take your pooch to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. This is also very important if your dog has ingested tree sap, as many types of sap can be mildly toxic to dogs. If your dog is having a reaction to sap ingestion, they may experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, itchy skin, and lethargy.

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