Foxtail Grass is Not Your Friend
With the warm weather coming soon, parks, city flowerbeds, lawns and roadsides are filled with a dangerous enemy of our four-legged friends: the fearsome foxtail grass! Green Dog Dental and Green Dog Pet Products want to make sure you are informed about this potential healthy risk, especially if you are a hiker.
What is Foxtail Grass?
Foxtail grass is a type of grass found all over the USA. Shaped somewhat like an ear of corn, fresh and green foxtail grass is harmless, but become quite dangerous to dogs’ and other animals when they dry up and turn brown. The danger lies in the way they spread their seeds, which is by attaching to an unwitting furry passerby.
How Do Foxtails Hurt Pets?
The little dried bits have hooks with sharp barbs that stick to the dog’s fur, exploiting the dog’s movement to spread their seeds. These little barbs are really difficult to remove, and can easily get stuck in your dog’s ears, nose, throat, paw pads, and even genitals.
There have also been cases of foxtail grass seeds being removed from less common areas of dog’s bodies such as the bronchial tree, the liver, the spine, the intestines, and the ovaries. Because these seeds “travel” across your dogs’ body as they move, they can really end up anywhere.
Foxtail grass is very irritating and can embed itself into your dog’s soft tissue, which can cause itching, irritation, and eventually infection.
Best Defense Against Foxtail Grass
The best defense against foxtail grass is brushing your dog carefully after each walk, especially if you go hiking or frequently take walks in heavily wooded or grassy areas. Inspect areas that you would not normally brush, such as their armpits, the crevices of their legs, in between their paw pads, inside their ears, and near their tail and behind.
If you find a bit of foxtail grass, remove it immediately and carefully. Then, look for more. If you suspect your dog has inhaled or ingested foxtail grass, bring them to the vet immediately to get checked out. The foxtails can become embedded in your dog’s nasal cavity or throat, causing a choking hazard as well as a risk of infection.
Finally, if your area is known for foxtail grass, consider dog booties and other types of protective gear and be extra thorough when checking them after going outside. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to foxtails.
For more health tips for your pet visit the Green Dog Gazette and if you are worried about ticks and fleas, we have some helpful information in our blog.