How to Clean Up an Oil Spill on Dog's Hair

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Dogs can get into many substances they shouldn't.
Dogs can get into many substances they shouldn't. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Dogs delight in getting into all sorts of things you would rather they didn't. Rolling in oil or grease that smells good to them creates a problem for you when Fido comes inside and jumps on the couch or tries to lick a substance that might be toxic. Whether it's motor oil, grease, paint or tar, the worst thing you can do is to try to remove it with soap and water. There are items in your kitchen cabinet that will do the job painlessly without much mess.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Leash
  • Vegetable or mineral oil
  • Paper towels
  • Flour or cornstarch
  • Wide-tooth comb
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Petroleum jelly or shortening

Put the dog in a place where you can work on its coat safely, such as a porch, mud room or kitchen. Spread some newspaper underneath the animal. Put it on a leash to keep it in place while you work on the spot.

Rub a generous amount of vegetable oil or mineral oil into the dog's fur if the stain is motor oil or oil-based paint. Dab off the excess with paper towels. Repeat until the spot is removed.

Sprinkle flour or cooking starch into the fur to absorb the oil you've applied. Comb it through the fur with a wide-tooth comb.

Bathe the dog with warm water and diluted liquid dish soap for grease to remove any residue of oil and flour.

Remove tar from a dog's fur with petroleum jelly or shortening. Apply it to the spot and let it sit until the substance softens. Wipe the residue away with paper towels and wash the dog with dish soap and water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never scrub at a dog's fur or skin. Take your time and use repeated applications of the remover. Put the dog in a crate and let the substance sit on the coat if necessary.
  • If the substance is toxic or could hurt the dog if it licks it, keep the animal on a leash until you have completely removed the oil.
  • If the dog has oil on its face, put very small amounts of remover on a cloth and rub gently. Don't get soap in a dog's eyes or nose.

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