Removing an unwanted element that may be hitching a ride on your dog's coat can be stressful, annoying and uncomfortable for both of you. The severity of the problem may also increase depending on the coat type. Oftentimes, we resort to the quickest or easiest solution, which is usually hacking off large chunks of fur and hoping that it grows back promptly and properly. Before you decide to go all Edward Scissorhands, try the following suggestions to save yourself some aggravation and your dog some embarrassment.
If the gum is just stuck on the outside hairs or topcoat, you can apply ice cubes to the area in order to freeze the gum. Once the gum is frozen, you can break it into pieces and pull it out gently. If the gum has been pressed in further, things get a little more complicated. A solvent will remove it very well; make sure that it does not contain any chemicals that may be harmful, and, to be safe, wash the area after the gum has been removed. Peanut butter also works well on deep-seated gum. If the gum has become stuck between the toes, it is best to just cut it out carefully and to keep the hairs trimmed to avoid potential problems.
A lot of times burrs sit along the outside of the coat, holding on loosely; these can be easily brushed out. At times, the culprits work their way deeper and become a problem. If you take a seam ripper from a standard sewing kit, you can use it to pick the hairs around the burr until it can be pulled out. As a preventative measure to keep burrs from being a future problem, lightly spray the coat with dog mink oil to keep it slick and slippery, allowing burrs to be easily brushed out. Mink oil conditioners can be purchased directly from Dog.com.
Water soluble paints, such as latex, should be washed out immediately using warm, soapy water. Never use chemicals such as turpentine or other paint thinners; also, do not let your dog attempt to chew it out. Oil-based paints or motor oil can be removed by using vegetable or mineral oil; this will take a considerable amount of time, but is safe and effective. Once the paint has been removed, apply flour to the area, allowing it to clump up, and then use a wide-toothed comb to remove the accumulated oil/powder mixture. Wash the coat when finished.
Although skunk spray is different in the sense that it is not a solid physical object, it is still something unpleasant that should be removed. Tomato juice is a home remedy favorite and the most common defense for a skunked dog. Another easy-to-make concoction that will work is a combination of one quart 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda, and one teaspoon liquid dish soap or laundry detergent (these ingredients have acidic properties and may cause eye irritation, so work carefully around the face). Let the neutralizing solution soak into the coat, then bathe normally.