Ask Vetco: How to Get Sap our of Fur

sap on furDear Vet-co,

My dog went down to the lake to play with my kids. When they came back his fur was covered in some strange sticky stuff. I think it may be sap. He is a shorthair Mastiff. How can I get the sticky out of his fur without shaving him?


Sticky and Concerned


Dear Sticky,

Looks like he had a little too much fun down at the lake. Don’t worry you don’t have to shave your poor pup bald. The easiest way to get the stick out is to use either peanut butter or cooking oil.

Get to the sap as soon as you can. Once it is hardened it will be more uncomfortable for your dog, and it may even adhere to their skin which can be quite painful.

  1. Use your hair dryer on the sap. The heat from the hair dryer will soften up the sap and allow for a much easier and less painful removal. Be careful not to burn your dog with the air from the dryer. You can use your fingers to check the temperature of the hair dryer air and to check how soft the sap is.
  2. Rub peanut butter or oil all over the sap. Apply liberally. This is not the time to be stingy.  The oils will help the sap to keep from sticking to the fur and skin. They will also cause the sap to start breaking down, which will make it easier to remove. Make sure to let the oil or peanut butter sit for about 15 minutes to give it a good amount of time to soak in and do its work. The longer you let it set to do its work, the less work you have to do.
  3. Run a comb through your dogs fur. Start at the tips and work the sap out. If you start as the base of their fur, you will be more likely to rip out their fur rather than comb out the sap. Starting as the tip of their hair will work the sap our more easily. ..and even if your dog has short fur, you can still work it through with a comb.
  4. Add more oil or peanut butter as needed until you can comb out all the sap.
  5. Once all the sap is removed, give your dog a bath! He is likely covered in oil or peanut butter and if you leave it on him he may just lick it all off and make himself sick.

The good thing about applying a lot of oil or peanut butter to your dogs coat is that it is very good for the fur. His coat will likely be nicely conditioned after everything is said and done.



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Yes, Even Your Dog Gets Zits: Understanding Dog Skin Problems

dog skin problemsIs your dog starting to look like Shrek? Are you worried that he has been kissing too many frogs? Is he covered in strange bumps and warts? Let us shed some light on these skin bumps.

Warts are easily treated. In puppies they can be because of a virus and will grow around their mouth. In older dogs they can get them on their heads and body, just as a symptom of getting older. Call you vet to get them removed.

Zits are not just on your teenage daughters face, you dog can also get pimples and blackheads. Just like with your teenager, cleaning your dogs face with a benzoyl peroxide cleaner can help clear up his skin. If he has backne, or acne elsewhere on his body, it may be a sign of a skin infection and you should call your vet.

Have you ever gotten a zit like a boil? These are called sebaceous cysts and are from a gland becoming blocked. They contain an oily, paste-like ooze that will come out when the zit is popped or drained. Now you and your dog can share in your dislike for these yucky cysts because he can get them just like you. Often times these cysts will go away on their own, but if there is one that is frequently recurring, your vet may want to surgically remove it.

Fatty tumors or Lipomas are simply lumpy accumulations of fat. They are not malignant and can usually be left alone. When you take your dog for his checkup, the vet will make note of them and measure them. If one is growing aggressively he may do a fine needle aspiration (FNA) and test the lipoma to make sure that it is in fact a fatty tumor and not a cancerous tumor. If a fatty tumor is making your dog uncomfortable, they can be removed. But otherwise can be left alone.

If you dog has an allergic reaction to something, or is sensitive to spider bites or bee stings, she may get hives. If this happens you can give her some Benadryl to alleviate the symptoms. Make sure to consult your vet about the size of the dose to vie. Remember that what you give yourself is not likely the same does you should give your dog.

Just like us, when your dog spends a lot of time in the sun, they become susceptible to skin cancer. There are a variety they can get and can range from being itchy or sore, or not bothersome at all. If you notice a skin cancer that takes more than 10 days to heal, which can look like a lump, a sore or a skin discoloration, make sure to point it out to your vet.

If your dog has any skin issues you are concerned about, make sure to ask your vet. Most issues will go away on their own or can be easily treated. Like us, our pups are subject to their blemishes but it doesn’t make them any less cute!

Dog Toys that (Might) Kill

phthalate dog toyWe all want our dogs to have as much fun as possible. We love to watch them run and play and chase after everything we throw. We love to have the tug-o-wars and let them gnaw on something that is not our shoe. But not all toys are safe.

You may have heard of BPA (Bisphenoal A) and phthalates that is present in some baby bottles and kids toys, but did you know that they may be in your dog toy? BPA disrupts the endocrine system and contributes to ADHD, autism, and certain cancers. BPA’s have been deemed as carcinogens for people by the EPA. But if they are not safe for you, are they still safe for your dog? The jury is still out.

Studies are being done in dog toys that contain BPA and phthalates, the most common being plastic bumpers, which are used to train dogs to retrieve. They have found significantly high levels of breakdown products of phthalates in dogs after playing with BPA and phthalate bumpers. Though there is not enough known about the effects of hormone mimicking chemicals in dogs, you may want to keep your pup clear of these plastic toys.

Better to play safe.