(DOGS/PET CARE) With temperatures on the rise and many families spending more time outdoors with their furry friends, it’s important to know about this deadly danger to dogs: foxtail grass.
Foxtails are a grass-like weed that grows primarily in the Western U.S. but can be found all over the nation. Foxtail season typically takes place between June and December, but it’s getting longer with the drier weather.
The foxtail plant has seed awns that are barbed, razor-sharp needles designed to burrow into the ground. Similarly, the barbed seed heads are able to dig themselves directly into a patch of skin, making them extremely dangerous to dogs and other animals.
They can often become embedded in dogs’ eyes, ears, mouths, noses, toes, genitals, and skin. Over time, they can burrow deeper into the body and can even reach the spine and internal organs, including the brain and lungs. This can cause anything from infections and seizures to blindness and even death, depending on which part of the body is affected.
Take a look at these tips from PETA to avoid this summertime danger:
- Remove any foxtail grass growing in your yard.
- Keep dogs away from grassy meadows during hikes, especially dogs with long fur and long, floppy ears, and short stocky dogs whose heads are right at foxtail level.
- After walks, check dogs thoroughly for foxtails and remove any visible ones with tweezers.
- If your dog has a sneezing fit, press gently on one side of the nose. If another sneezing fit occurs, a foxtail could be lodged inside the nasal cavity.
- Get to the veterinarian immediately if your dog shows signs of having an embedded foxtail, such as sneezing, head-shaking, red or weepy eyes, inflamed skin, limping, or licking the affected area. This is an emergency.