How To Get Sap Out Of Dog Fur: A Step By Step Guide

If you’ve ever had a dog that loves to run through the woods, then you know how difficult it can be to remove sap from your good boy’s fur. I think my pal, Huck, gets sap in his fur at least once a month!

And not only is it sticky and messy, but it can also feel like a daunting task to remove it all.

Fortunately, there are some easy steps to follow for getting sap out of your pup’s coat without causing any harm or discomfort.

Below I’ll discuss techniques on how to get rid of both fresh and dried-in sap from your pup’s fur so he looks and feels as good as new!

Step 1: Soften The Sap

There are a few effective ways to soften sap in your dog’s fur. Some are better than others, what you choose will probably depend on what you have on hand and how dire your dog’s situation is.

After you’ve softened the sap, use your fingers to gently try to remove it. 

Edible Oils

Using edible oils like butter, olive oil or peanut butter are great for softening sap in your dog’s fur.

Massage the oil into the sappy areas and let it sit for a few minutes to give it time to work its magic.

After that, use your fingers to try gently removing the sap from the fur.

This method is simple and effective, and will get you well on your way toward removing yourself from this sticky situation!

***Your dog will try to lick away any oil residue that is left! So, using oils that are okay for your dog to eat a little of is important.  You don’t want to use an oil that isn’t safe for your dog to eat or for his skin.***

Blow Dryer

If you don’t have any edible oils around, you should be able to soften the sap some by heating it.

The important thing to remember is that you don’t want to burn your dog when you heat the sap.

With this in mind, try using a blow dryer on the lowest heat setting.

Remember, even on a low setting you might burn your good boy if you hold the hair dryer in one spot for too long; so keep it moving!

Be sure to test the temperature on your skin first and don’t hold it over your dog’s sappy fur for too long. 


Alcohol can work wonders on tree sap.

In fact, rubbing alcohol is often recommended to remove tree sap from things like cars.

But, your dog shouldn’t be ingesting rubbing alcohol…or really any alcohol! And you can bet that if you put something foreign on your dog’s fur, like alcohol he’ll try to lick it off.

So, if you need to go the alcohol route, use something like vodka rather than rubbing alcohol, and be sure to wash all of it away before your dog gets a chance to ‘clean’ up your mess himself.

Dish Soap

If you’re lucky enough to find your dog’s sappy situation before the sap hardens, dish soap can remove it. 

Once the sap hardens, though, the dish soap won’t do a lot. 

Products That Work On Sap But Aren’t Good For Your Buddy

I mentioned why you don’t want to use rubbing alcohol.  Detergents, harsh cleaners, and solvents also pose the risk of harming your four-legged friend; even if they are great at removing sap.

These products can be too harsh on your dog’s skin and your dog might be in trouble if he licks them off his fur.  

Step 2: Comb It Out

Once the sap has been softened and you’ve done your best removing it with your fingers, it’s time to use a comb to gently remove as much of the remains as possible.

To start, be sure to choose a wide-toothed comb so you don’t hurt your pup while combing out their fur.

With each pass of the comb, wipe it off so as not to reintroduce any sap back into your pet’s coat.

If need be, apply more of whatever product was used to soften the sap initially – this will help further loosen and dissolve any remaining residue.

Step 3: Give Your Dog A Bath

I know it can be difficult to bathe a dog. My dog, Huck, goes crazy (in a fun and excited way) when he knows he’s going to get a bath.

Even if your dog bounces with excitement at the thought of a bath, you’ll need to at least wash the area the sap was in.

You don’t want your dog licking up whatever it was you used to clean the sap out of his fur.

Step 4: Call The Pros

After giving your dog a good bath, you might find that some sap remains stuck in his fur.

When this happens, it’s best to turn to professionals for help.

Groomers have the right tools and techniques to safely remove sap from fur without causing any damage or discomfort to your pup.

Step 5: Get Out The Scissors

If all else fails, scissors or clippers may be the only option.

Be sure to take extra care if you need to cut around sensitive areas or close to your dog’s skin.

Work slowly and call in support to help keep your dog calm and still while you work.

Is Tree Sap Toxic To Dogs?

For the most part, tree sap isn’t toxic to dogs. Of course, like most things, there are exceptions.

The sap from some trees can have negative health effects on dogs.  If you know what type of tree the sap came from, take the time to look up if it can harm your dog and take the appropriate steps.

If you don’t know what type of tree the sap came from, keep an eye on your dog and if he starts showing signs of discomfort, consult your vet.

Final Thoughts: How Do You Remove Tree Sap From Dog Fur?

The process of getting sap out of dog fur might look like a hassle, but it’s important to make sure your pup is safe and comfortable. It may take some effort on our part, but following these steps will help get the job done.

First, soften the sap with safe oils, a quickly moving blow dryer (on the lowest setting), or even vodka. Then use your fingers to work out as much of the sap as possible.

Next, use a comb to try to remove the finer bits of sap from your best friend’s coat. 

Then bathe your pup – or at least wash where the sap was – to prevent your dog from licking up whatever solution you used to soften the sap.  Remember to use a pet-friendly shampoo and conditioner.

Don’t be ashamed if you have to call in professionals, sap can vex even the most seasoned dog owners. Some people even opt for scissors or clippers to remove the sap.

Dealing with sticky situations like sappy dog fur isn’t as impossible as it seems!

With careful attention and patience, you can ensure that your furry friend stays happy and healthy despite any mishaps that may occur along the way.

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