Now that Spring is finally upon us once again; it’s time for us and our doggies to enjoy some much-needed fun in the sun. We all want to set them free to run through the grass unencumbered. However, veterinarians warn that dangers are lurking that dog owners need to be aware of; specifically, a grass called foxtail grass.
Unfortunately, there have been numerous injuries lately as a result of foxtail grass, which spurred veterinarians to take action to spread the word. Veterinarians are now urging pet parents to keep their dogs away from this killer grass.
I bet you are wondering how a mere blade of grass can be harmful to a dog unless it’s poisonous. I know I sure did.
What makes the grass so dangerous is the part of the seed called the seed awn. The seed awn is designed to help the grass bury the seed in the ground and hold it there.
While this is indeed a miracle of nature, that isn’t the case for our four-legged friends. Seed awns can wreak havoc on your dog’s body. You see, the needle-like awns bury themselves into a dog’s soft tissue which can result in significant injuries to a dog’s eyes, ears, nose, skin, and stomach.
AS DANGEROUS AS A BULLET
You may be thinking that this sounds like a pet parent being overly cautious, it is only grass, after all. But veterinarians say that foxtail grass can be as harmful to a dog as a bullet. It can get embedded in their skin and cause significant infections, among other things.
The seed awns can travel into and through the body of your pet and end up in their brains or even their lungs, which, sadly, could result in death.
Some dogs have had to undergo dangerous and major surgery to have this “killer” grass removed.
HOW TO BEST PROTECT YOUR PET
Don’t fret, however, because there are steps you can take to ensure that your pet stays healthy and happy and free of foxtail awns. First, you have to learn to identify the grass itself.
Foxtail grass looks like any other generic weed, and it can be found growing in distressed locations. What this means is that places like cleared lots, landfills, open fields, and roadsides are all usually well-stocked with foxtail grass.
You should avoid those areas at all costs when you are out and about with your fur babies.
If you can’t avoid areas like those in your travels, there are signs to watch out for if your dog becomes exposed to foxtail grass.
Get your pet to the veterinarian right away if they start to display any of the following symptoms:
- Sneezing consistently – the awns often get stuck in their throats
- Violent shaking of the head
- Painful lumps on the skin
- Excessive pawing at the eyes
- Discharging pus
- Visible abscesses
- Bacterial infections
- Limping (the awns get stuck between their toes)
KEEP AN EYE ON THINGS
The best way to avoid your dog from getting injured by this grass is to remain vigilant. If you know your dog is exposed, treat it like you would a tick. Check their body thoroughly and ensure there isn’t any remaining on the skin.
Make sure to check in their noses and under their feet, as well, as those are some of the most common areas affected by the grass.
If your dog is a very fluffy dog, help protect them against foxtail awns by keeping their coats trimmed and free from tangles.
Think thoroughly about where you go with your dog, and choose a new place if you feel like the area might have some of this grass growing there.
If you find a foxtail awn on your dog and think you can get it out on your own, that’s okay to do using tweezers. If, however, it appears to be embedded in the skin, get them to the vet right away.
Mostly, have a wonderfully happy spring with your fur babies. As always, love them relentlessly and keep them close.
Share this with your friends and family so they can also keep their fur babies safe from this potential killer. Have you had an experience with foxtail grass? Tell us all about it in the comments below.