Removing tree sap from your pet
by Ontario SPCA and Humane Society | General Pet Care | April 11, 2022
Discovering tree sap on your cat or dog is no fun for anyone. For your animal, the sap can cause debris like rocks or pine needles to stick to their fur or paws, which can be quite painful. As their caregiver, it can be intimidating for you to try to figure out how to remove the highly adhesive sap from your furry friend.
Fortunately, removing tree sap from your animal is a fairly easy process and can be done using common household items. If your dog or cat has gotten into a sticky situation, here are some ways to safely remove the sap from your animal’s paws and fur:
Removing sap from fur
- If the sap has hardened, you’ll need to soften it using a hair dryer set to the lowest setting. Test the dryer on your hand first to find a safe distance where the air feels warm but not hot.
- You can loosen the sap by using olive oil, mineral oil, or smooth peanut butter (xylitol free). Massage the product onto the affected fur and let it sit for a few minutes. It’s important to only use products that are safe if ingested, since your furry friend may try to lick the oily substance off their fur.
- Use your fingers and a wide-toothed comb to carefully and slowly work the sap out of your animal’s fur. As you go, you can wipe some of the oily product and residue with a washcloth or paper towel.
- If there are stubborn patches near the tips of the hair, you can carefully trim them with scissors, making sure to avoid cutting too close to the skin.
- Do a final cleanse with a pet-friendly shampoo and warm water. You may need to shampoo the area more than once to get all of the oily product out.
Removing sap from paws
- 1. You can loosen sap from paws by massaging the area with olive oil, mineral oil or peanut butter (xylitol free). Remove the sap and oily product using a pet-friendly shampoo and water.
- 2. If there are stubborn areas on the fur around the paw pads, you can use a surgical clipping blade to carefully trim the fur or make an appointment with a groomer if you don’t feel comfortable with this step.
If you’re removing sap from your animal, it’s important to work quickly. The longer sap stays on their fur, the harder it is to remove. Some types of sap can be toxic if ingested or cause irritation if it comes into contact with your animal’s skin. Try to identify the sap-producing tree, and consult your veterinarian if your furry friend experiences symptoms like nausea, vomiting, weakness or skin irritation.
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Hats off to you
To all kind-hearted and hard-working people at SPCA: hats off to you. I love animals and admire the work you do.