How to Clean Motor Oil from a Dog’s Paws

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Sue asked: How do I clean engine oil off a dot’s paws? It happened last night. I have tried dog shampoo and washing up liquid. I submerged the dog’s paws. It’s still coming off all over the carpets.

When dogs get into engine oil, it not only creates a walking mess, it can be a real hazard to their health. It’s important to clean the oil away completely to prevent the dog from licking it off. Here are some pet-safe methods for removing the oil.

You Will Need:

  • Corn starch
  • Grease fighting dish soap (ex: Dawn)
  • Warm water
  • Soft cloths
  • Old, soft bristled toothbrush
  • Patience

Steps to Clean the Paws:

  1. Start by dipping your pet’s paws into some cornstarch. Allow it to set for a few minutes if the dog will tolerate it. The cornstarch will absorb the liquid in the oil and allow it to dry up.
  2. Fill a bowl or shallow dish with warm water.
  3. Rinse away the cornstarch on the paw with water.
  4. Apply a drop or two of grease-fighting dish detergent directly to the oil spots on the paw.
  5. Massage the soap onto the paw gently with your fingers. A soft cloth can also be used to rub the paws gently.
  6. Rinse with warm water.
  7. Repeat if necessary. A soft toothbrush can be used to gently scrub away the oils.
  8. Depending on the amount of oil, it may take several repeated cleanings to completely remove it. Take breaks as needed to keep your pet relaxed and compliant.
  9. Once clean, rinse the paws completely and dry with a soft cloth.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Do NOT use any harsh chemicals or cleaners on your pet’s paws. They could become sore or irritated.
  • Keep in mind that your pet may ingest any of the cleaners if they are left on the paw. Rinse the feet completely and only use items that are not toxic.
  • If the oil is old and will not come loose, try rubbing vegetable oil on it. The vegetable oil will make the old oil fresh again and allow for easier removal.
  • To remove stains that have transferred to the carpet, see our guide How to Clean Engine Oil from Carpet

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