Pets love to explore, and poke their noses into our business. Usually, this is perfectly fine, unless the business they are digging into happens to be a fresh canister of paint stored in the garage, or left out after you’ve just touched up the living room. While this is not a common occurrence, the frustration associated with trying to remove bright paint from the delicate hair follicles of your cat or dog’s fur, is surely something worth avoiding.  Here are a few helpful tips on how to remove paint, tar, and other tacky solutions from a pet’s fur.

Paint, Tar, Glue and Waxy Removal

The best way to avoid paint-to-fur contact, is to keep your dog or cat in a separate room, or safely in their crate or carrier while the paint buckets are out and being used.  If you are hiring out with an independent company, make sure they are aware that that you have pets, and should they step out for a break or lunch in the middle of the job, all tools need to be stowed away, painted surfaces need to be blocked off, and brushes, trays and buckets need to be sealed, rinsed out or stored where they are inaccessible to pets.  If possible, try to supervise your pet to ensure as best you can that they are not exposed to any of the material.

However, accidents happen and sometimes dogs or cats might walk on or lean against a painted area, or get a few splashes of color on their coat, face or paws. The first word of advice when it comes to removing paint is DO NOT use turpentine to loosen it from your pet’s fur. The strong substances can be irritating to their skin, causing an allergic reaction, rash, itchiness, and peeling.  Here are some safe steps you can take to removing sticky paint, tar or other gummy materials from an animal’s coat.

  • If the paint is wet, try washing it out with dish soap, since many substances can be lifted from dense hair surfaces while they are wet. Products like Dawn ® dish soap are a fantastic choice, since it is designed to be “tough on grease.”
  • If there is no such soap available, try using other household products to work through the gunk. Some pet parents have found peanut butter, vegetable oil, or olive oil to help remove tar or grease. Once the tar is worked through, you will want to follow the “oil bath” with a clean soapy bath so that the oil-saturated fur doesn’t begin to collect dust and grime.  Be thorough to remove all traces of the oily substance.
  • Pet care supply stores also carry products that are specifically geared toward working through sticky, wet, hardened, or glue-like matter. Both Goop® and Goo Gone® work well for this purpose, and are mild enough to soak on the skin without agitating your pet.
  • When in doubt, you can always take your pet to the groomers and have them assist you by cutting out the hardened globs, and giving your pet a nice clean shave.