Right, we’re going to get all Alan Titchmarsh on you: the foxtail plant is a grass-like weed. Seeds from foxtail plants are barbed, like fish hooks, and they are very dangerous for your pooch.
Foxtail grass is abundant in fields during the spring, and it begins to dry up when summer arrives.
As it dries, the seeds detach easily from the stem and can get matted in our dog’s fur or even stick to their skin, undetected by us.
Where should I look for foxtail seeds on my dog?
The most common areas to look for foxtail seeds are in between their toes, in their ears, their eyes and in any skin folds.
The barbed seed will hook into your dog’s skin and start to grow inwards.
Because these tough seeds don’t break down inside the body, an embedded foxtail can lead to a serious infection.
It’s true that most dogs clever little bodies will detect this foreign object and either get rid of the spike through the entry wound, or it will create a protective capsule around it.
If the latter happens, and you can’t remove the seed yourself you should seek help from your local vet.
How to avoid foxtail seed becoming an issue for your dog
You could avoid walking through areas of dry or semi-dry vegetation, though we realise this might not always be possible!
What you can do though, is carefully brush your dog each time you have been for a walk in a grassy area. While doing this, thoroughly check the folds of your dog’s skin, their ears and their paws for any nasties.
Symptoms of a stuck foxtail seed
If your dog displays the following symptoms, they may have a little foxtail seed stuck somewhere:
- excessive licking and biting of paws
- compulsive head shaking, or tipping their head from side to side regularly
- swelling, redness, discharge, squinting or pawing at their eyes
- nasal discharge, or frequent sneezing
How to treat a lodged foxtail seed
- If the seed in lodged in their ear or eye, it’s advised to take you dog to the vet for treatment. You could push the seed further into their ear canal, or permanently impair their vision by poking around yourself.
- If the seed is lodged in one of their paws, you can try to get it out by placing it in warm salt water. This will slow the seed entering any further, and should make it easier to get out. If it’s a real toughie, you can try using tweezers, but if in doubt consult your vet.
We hope you found that helpful!