The Unknown Summer Danger That All Dogs Should Be Checked For


Foxtail is a commonplant found primarily in the western states of the USA as well as many areas in the UK. It becomes particularly prevalent during the warm summer months.While this common plant may not seem dangerous, it poses an unexpected threat to dogs. The heads of the seed are barbed and dart shaped, to allow for easy dispersal and replanting.


Source: The Doginton Post

However, this makes the seeds prone to latch onto the fur coats of animals brushing past. The true danger lies in the fact that they can then embed themselves progressively deeper into the canine's fur, skin, and even internal organs.


Source: Trupanion

Therefore, it is vital to notice foxtails on your dog as soon as possible, before they have the chance to migrate. The five most common areas that foxtails will attach themselves to dogs are:

  • eyes
  • nose
  • ears
  • feet
  • genitals

It is most likely that your dog will pick up a fox tail in grassy areas during the summer months, so it is extra important to be vigilant during this time.


Source: PETA/John Tann

Gudrun Ravetz, from theBritish Veterinary Association, explains the extent of the danger:

The risk of a dog dying could develop if they inhale or swallow a grass seed and it gets lodged somewhere that is extremely difficult to treat, such as the lungs or abdomen, meaning an abscess may potentially develop.

Source: Seattle Dog Spot

The most common signs that your dog may have come into contact with foxtails are:

  • a squint or discharge from the eye
  • pawing at the nose and sneezing
  • pawing at the ears and shaking their head
  • limping or having difficulty walking on their paws
  • repeated gagging and coughing

Source: Seattle Dog Spot

It is possible to remove foxtails from a dog's fur at home with a pair of tweezers. However, if the area around the seed seems red of inflamed, it is always best to seek medical advice from a veterinary professional.Stay vigilant so that your dog can stay safe and enjoy the summer months.

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