How To Remove Tar From Dog Fur

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Have you ever wondered how to remove tar from dog fur?  Not long ago while at the dog beach my Aussie mix, Linus stepped in tar and immediately the black sludge clung to his paw pad and fur seemingly impossible to remove.

I love taking Linus to the dog beach. He gets to interact with some of the other dogs, sprint along the sand, and play in the water. Unfortunately, Stetson my guide dog in training is not allowed to visit dog beach (guide dogs rules — he’s not allowed to visit any dog parks). If you’ve never been the Huntington Dog Beach is located between 21st Street and Seapoint Street in beautiful Huntington Beach, CA. They also have a dedicated website at http://www.dogbeach.org. I usually go to the dog beach after work around 6 o’clock and find that it’s usually not too crowded at that time.

Dog Beach
Pups Playing at a Dog Beach

Photo By Mike Baird

How To Remove Tar From Dog Fur

I grew up in nearby Fountain Valley and often went to the Huntington City and State Beach. During my youth I remember stepping on tar in the sand and having a heck of a time removing it from the bottom of my foot. I tried water, soap, rubbing alcohol, and none successfully removed the tar from my foot in a quick or easy manner.

So, imagine my dismay when a few days ago after returning from dog beach I found a big chunk of tar stuck right in the middle of Linus’s paw and clumped together all over his fur on the bottom of his foot. Well, I grabbed rubbing alcohol and tried furiously to remove the tar from his fur and pad. I’m pretty sure I got more tar stuck to my hand then I did on the towel I was using (the tar I moved from Linus’s paw to my hand was also a pain to get off). I figured there has got to be a better way of removing tar from dog fur, hand, and paw pad. I did a little online research and found two possible solutions.

Goo Gone To Remove Tar From Dog Fur

[UPDATE – some of our readers have noticed skin irritation from Goo Gone even after thoroughly washing their dog.  Please proceed with caution when handling any chemicals including Goo Gone around your dog or pet.]

First, people said to try using vegetable oil…hmmm…I’ll try anything once. The second solution was a product called Goo Gone. I made a run to the local grocery store and found the vegetable oil and the Goo Gone. I decided to just purchase the Goo Gone and if that didn’t work head back over to the store for the vegetable oil.

I put some of the Goo Gone on Linus’s paw and magically the tar began to melt away. It was amazing! The clumped up tar basically began to liquify with the Goo Gone. After adding a little Goo Gone I’d wipe Linus’s paw with an old rag then repeat the process. After about 5 minutes I had all the tar out of Linus’s fur and pad. My only concern was that the Goo Gone was irritating or hurting Linus’s skin. He did not complain, but I still immediately rinsed his paw with soap and water several times to make sure the Goo Gone was completely off his skin.

I never tried the vegetable oil and I’m not sure if it works better or worse then the Goo Gone, but I highly recommend Goo Gone if you ever have a tar situation with your dog or even if you get some tar stuck on yourself.

I’m sure we are all prepared to wash our dogs after a fun day at dog beach.  However, have you run into any special situations where something gross like tar gets stuck in your dogs fur coat?  What have you done to remove tar or any other nasty substance from your dogs fur?  I hate to use chemicals like Goo Gone so I’d love to know how you remove tar from dog fur.  Tell us about it in the comment section below.

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71 Comments

  1. Thank goodness for this post – dog was splattered in dried tar and coconut oil worked wonders!!! He enjoyed the oil massage, lol, followed by a regular bath… went back later to massage oil deeper into the paws and got out a lot more ick. Hopefully the residual stain will wear off. Thanks again!

  2. My dog sat in a big blob of tar at the beach today, ugh! I soaked paper towels in clumps of coconut oil and rubbed it pretty hard. I used a lot of paper towels but it did the trick. And as an added plus my dog loves coconut oil and I’ve read it is good for them.

  3. Peanut butter! I see this is an old thread but since it popped up when I did this search I will add my two cents. A stray kitten was dropped off at our vet hospital covered head to tail in tar, miraculously not its mouth or eyes. I did not try goo gone but I tried oils, dawn with little effect. We were desperate to save this kitten and I ran through my mineral oil and dish soap but I had peanut butter and it mostly melted off. Non toxic and worked well, I have feet and tails wrapped in PB now to finish cleaning.

  4. Thank you for your great suggestions. I cut all the loose gobs of tar that were hanging from her paw. I put a big gob of coconut oil in a small plastic bag and slid her paw in. Then I kept massaging the oil in the bag over her paw and thru her toes. The oil quickly turned dark as it removed all of the tar. Remarkable! The bag contained the mess and protected my fingers and nails. Then washed off the residue and she was good as new.

    1. Very clever! My little terrier has tar on his hind paw, and I was able to snip off the bits between his toes, but now I’ll try your smart solution. Coconut oil is perfect as my Humphrey loves to lick it off when I use it on my hands. Thank you!

    2. Thank you for the coconut oil recommendation! That is a very safe and natural way to get this stuff off – it worked so well! He is still attempting to lick the residue oil that didn’t wash off 🙂

    3. My puppy got melted rubber tire residue all over him while l was cutting a tire off the rim I’m kind of concerned on what to use to get it out of his fur

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