How To Get Burrs Out of Dog Fur

Burrs are a real pain in the fur. Not only are these sticky suckers painful and irritating, but they can cause mats and skin irritation. In this article, we’ll explain what burrs are and how to get them off your fur-baby’s locks. 

What are burrs?

Burrs are an evolutionary tool developed by plants to move their seeds and promote species continuation. It’s this manner of transportation that makes many burr-producing species invasive. Think of burrs as tiny cactuses; both are considered diaspores due to those painful protrusions. These protrusions act like velcro, allowing them to hitch a ride on passersby. 

These prickly balls house seeds and allow them to move further than they would on their own, with animals as the transport vessel. Dogs aren’t the only animals affected by burrs. They’ll stick to anything resembling fur, even your favorite cardigan or footwear. 

How big are burrs?

Depending on the species of the mother plant, burrs can be the size of a pinhead (like beggar’s lice) or substantial enough to deflate a bike tire, like the puncture vine

Can you prevent burrs in dog fur?

Since burrs stem from plants, technically a commercial weed killer will work, but these aren’t advised for several reasons. First, weed killers are often poisonous to pets, pollinators, and beneficial insects. These chemicals can also make their way into water and food sources, so we don’t recommend using these as the first line of defense. 

Hunters often use vegetable oil-based cooking sprays to prevent burrs and make removal easier. Vegetable oil is better than body oils or baby oil since it’s safe for your dog to ingest. 

How to remove burrs from dog fur

Removing burrs from dog fur isn’t difficult, but it can be time-consuming. Burrs typically attach to long-haired dogs, causing the fur to knot. Untangling the coat is the most challenging part of burr removal, and it will require some cooperation from your dog. Unfortunately, sometimes the tangles are so nasty your only choice is to cut them out.

Removing burrs from dog fur: a step-by-step tutorial


  • protective gloves

  • cooking spray

  • dog detangler

  • metal comb

  • wide-tooth comb

  • slicker brush 

  • regular hairbrush

Step 1: Put on protective gloves, then spray cooking spray or a dog-safe detangler on the affected fur.

Step 2: Separate the tangles using your fingers.

Step 3: Use a wide-tooth comb or hairbrush to loosen the burr.

Step 4: Once the hair is relatively detangled, use a metal comb to get the burrs out one by one.

Step 5: Spray on cooking spray or detangler as needed while you work.

Step 6: Continue this process using gentle motions until all the burrs are out.

Step 7: Finally, give your dog a once-over with a slicker brush, and you’re done! 


Burrs are a pain in the side, not only for pets but also for the people who care for them. Hopefully removing those aggravating buggers will be a little bit easier using this tried-and-tested guide. Want to learn how to rid your dog of other annoying hitchhikers? Check out our guide for removing ticks on dogs

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