The danger of foxtails goes beyond simple irritation. In some cases, advanced diagnostic tests and procedures may be required to identify and remove the foxtail. If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, check for foxtails or talk to your vet: Any dog can get foxtails in the ears, nose, eyes, or mouth. ", Adobe Animal Hospital: "Summer Hazard - Foxtails.". But if a foxtail is deeply embedded, or if the area around it is red or swollen, call your veterinarian right away. Foxtails can dive deep into a dog’s nasal cavity or ear canal within seconds. (2019, June 2). So if you notice your dog persistently licking at its genitals, foxtails could be the cause. The torpedo-shaped awns found on foxtails are similar to bullets, as they can penetrate any part of a dog's body. Whenever possible, avoidance of foxtail exposure is the best and only foolproof prevention. Grass awns are grass seeds which are sharp, sometimes barbed, and have the capability to burrow into the skin of our dogs. University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Integrated Pest Management Program: "Foxtails. Foxtails torpedo-shaped awns are like bullets and can penetrate any part of a dog’s body. The danger of the foxtail goes beyond simple skin irritations, it can cause serious infections for your dog. Diane Kostelec first heard of foxtails in 1978, when she moved to California and her then-boyfriend with a Labrador Retriever mentioned them. They can attach to your dog’s coat and burrow into your dog’s ears, nose, and paw pads. The veterinarian will be able to help you both out of this sticky situation – literally! Grass awn migration in dogs and cats: A retrospective study of 182 cases. Well it is the ‘tail’ of the foxtail plant that causes the most hazardous symptoms, as foxtails travel and when they do they can become burrowed into your dog’s soft skin! When he opened the dog up, all his organs had been compromised from an infection caused by a foxtail that had worked its way under the skin and traveled to his organs. You should check him for foxtails every day and … • After walks, check dogs thoroughly for foxtails and remove any visible ones with tweezers. A foxtail can work its way into the bloodstream and into the heart and kill the dog. When the dog suddenly became ill, she took him to the vet. Foxtails can find their way into these areas, too. Commonly, they enter in between your dog’s paws, but they can also travel through the eye, mouth, nose, ears, or genital regions. Marin Humane Society: "Check for Fleas, Ticks, and Foxtails. It can even lead to death if left untreated. Did you know that foxtail can kill your Labrador? Seeds can … The foxtail will continue to cause problems until it is removed. The best way to protect your dog is to keep him/her away from those kinds of areas. This commonly includes:2. Foxtails are small and look seemingly harmless, but they can be a threat for any dog. There is at least one product on the market that helps combat foxtails before they can get lodged in a dog’s body. The barbed seed heads of the foxtail plant can work their way into any part of your dog or cat, from the nose to between the toes and inside the ears, eyes, and mouth. This Dangerous Weed Could Kill Your Dog. How to remove a foxtail from dog's ear: Dogs with long, drooping ears often have a lot of problems with foxtails in this area. Once inside your dog, they can travel almost anywhere in the body — causing abscesses and even, if untreated, death. From what the x-rays showed, the dog was rushed into surgery. Seeds can … Not only can they dig into your German Shepherd’s skin, but they can also get stuck in the nose or throat. The problems that come with foxtails go beyond simple itchiness or irritation. At first glance foxtails, referred to in some regions as cheat grass, seem innocent enough. If you are in any doubt avoid fields with long grass and if you think your dog has a foxtail stuck in them and you cannot remove it, then seek professional veterinary assistance immediately. Removing foxtails will always need surgery. Foxtails generally enter a dog’s body through the nasal passage, ears, eyes, or mouth – they can also enter into his lungs or penetrate the skin anywhere along the dog’s backbone. From there it gets into the skin and keeps being driven further inside. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Flourishing in the summer months, these annoying weeds are designed to burrow, which can lead to pain, infection, and sometimes more serious issues. ", Colorado Division of Wildlife: "K9 First Aid. If you see a foxtail on your dog’s fur or skin, you can attempt to remove it with tweezers. These grasses grow mainly in the Western part of the U.S. Picture a blade of grass with a barbed weapon at its tip. From what the x-rays showed, the dog was rushed into surgery. The seeds can be hard to find in your dog's fur. In the nose and mouth, foxtails can eventually move towards the lungs. It is mostly found in the Western half of the U.S. Brush your dog as necessary, looking especially closely for pointy foxtail awns in your dog's thick or feathery fur. Embedded foxtails can cause discharge, abscesses, swelling, pain, and death. Not only are they extremely painful, foxtails can work their way under the skin and deep into tissue, causing infection, draining abscesses, and swelling. The awns most commonly lodge in a dog’s nose, ears, underbelly, rear end and paws. Check your pup's face and ears carefully for foxtails. They start growing in spring and are in full bloom by summer. Several other grasses can cause problems, too (like foxtail, they are all annuals, and worst in the late spring and summer). There are a few ways you can avoid foxtails and keep your dog safe. ", PETA: "There's Nothing Foxy About Foxtails. Foxtails are fatal when they become dry and brittle, and the grass heads begin to spread. Left untreated, foxtails can cause infection or even work their way into the brains of animals and lead to death, according to Pet WebMD. Foxtail seeds can penetrate a dog's skin or can be inhaled Credit: Alamy S eeds are commonly caught in dog's paws or fur but can also enter the ear canal and puncture the ear drum. Bonham, M. Dog Grooming for Dummies, Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2006. In addition to causing skin damage and a great deal of irritation, foxtails can also lead to serious infection if left inside your dog’s body. Autopsies on dogs have shown foxtails in the glands, hearts, lungs, brains, and other organs. Foxtail plants are a weed-type grass that can cause serious problems for dogs. Long-haired dogs are particularly susceptible, as the barbed foxtail stays attached to the dog’s long fur and are difficult to spot. The worst case scenario with foxtails is they get into your dog’s body cavity and puncture a vital organ. They can even dig themselves directly into the skin. They can even simply dig themselves directly into a patch of skin. You should also pull out any foxtail plants you find in your yard. They have barbed seed heads that can get stuck into ANY part of your German Shepherd. Check for foxtails frequently and after periods of outdoor play, especially if you hike or spend time in foxtail-prone areas. They can attach to your dog’s coat … The one with the nastiest name is ripgut grass (Bromus diandrus, left); it actually perforates the guts of cattle when they eat it, and can easily kill a dog, but it is much larger than foxtail and easier to see in the coat. Signs Your Dog Ingested Foxtail Grass. Foxtails in Your Dog’s Paws. And this is why foxtails are such a hazard to dogs. FIRST AID: If you can see the foxtail, you can try to remove it by hand or by using blunt-tipped tweezers. Get your dog to a vet!! If you find a foxtail in your dogs fur you can easily get to, use tweezers to remove them. and mouth as well, as these are sites we overlook. So how can you tell if your pooch has a foxtail that’s causing problems? Foxtails travel., according to information about the grass. While some first aid may be possible in the event of a foxtail wound, in almost all cases you should get your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Sometimes it can come out with the force of a sneeze, but if not, we will have to go to the vet. Foxtails and Your Dog: Risks and Symptoms Foxtails travel. Foxtail Grass Can Kill Your Dogs. Symptoms will include limping, swelling and the dog licking the area constantly. Because these tough seeds don't break down inside the body, an embedded foxtail can lead to serious infection for your dog. They can dig through skin or be inhaled into -- and then perforate -- a lung. They can easily get in between their toes and once they do, the flexing motion that results as the dog walks pushes the foxtails deeper into the toes. Foxtails can become lodged in between toes, in nostrils or in ear canals. If you suspect a Foxtail seed is stuck on or in your dog, seek veterinary care immediately. In a paw, it can lacerate the pad and move into the limb. This can lead to much more serious conditions because internal organs may be affected. Foxtails can work their way into any part of your dog (or cat), including the most popular areas, between the toes, inside the ears, eyes, and mouth. The torpedo-shaped awns found on foxtails are similar to bullets, as they can penetrate any part of a dog's body. ANSWER: Foxtail Grass Can Kill Your Dogs. Retrieved from. If you live in a foxtail-prone area, ALWAYS check your dog after being outside. A foxtail in a dog’s ear can perforate an ear drum. If your dog does have access to foxtails, carefully comb through his or her haircoat—checking ears and toes, too —a couple of times daily to remove any that are embedded and poised to wreak havoc! The awns most commonly lodge in a dog’s nose, ears, underbelly, rear end and paws. Vomiting or painful coughing can be an indication that they swallowed seeds and are trying to dislodge them. In addition to causing skin damage and a great deal of irritation, foxtails can also lead to serious infection if left inside your dog… Pitcairn, R. Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats, Rodale, 2005. Shaped like the tail of a fox, the tip has seeds arranged in spikey clusters with backward-facing barbs.1 The spikes and barbs allow for one-way burrowing, which is great news for the foxtail but bad news for dogs. Foxtails can enter any orifice in your dog’s body. But it doesn’t end there. Published July 20, 2015 by PETA. How do I know if my dog has a foxtail in his ear? Foxtails travel. Several other grasses can cause problems, too (like foxtail, they are all annuals, and worst in the late spring and summer). Foxtails can also be inhaled through the nose or become lodged in your pet’s throat. Flourishing in the summer months, these annoying weeds are designed to burrow, which can lead to pain, infection, and sometimes more serious issues. Here are some pictures of a foxtail plant: Foxtails can be found anywhere in the United States but are most common in the West. Moving non-stop forward, never back, they can migrate from inside your dog’s nose to its brain. They can dig through skin or be inhaled into -- and then perforate -- a lung. It can cause everything from paw infections with limping, to conditions that could kill your dog. These may include: Early removal of the foxtail is important. Proper grooming like brushing your dog daily is a good way to search for the foxtails, look for the pointy end of it sticking out in the fur. Don't forget to look in and around your pooch's. Foxtails in the Eyes They will then die during the winter. However, they can also get into a dog's skin where they can cause serious injury, infection and even death. Foxtails—also called grass seed awns—are an annual summer grass. Grass Awns: How Grass Seeds Can Kill Your Dog. A foxtail is a “spikelet” that carries a foxtail grass seed. But beyond that innocent exterior lurks a menace that can easily wreak havoc on your dog or cat’s health. Moving relentlessly forward, never back, they can migrate from inside your dog's nose to its brain. If foxtails grow in your yard, make plans to remove them or call a landscaper for assistance. In some cases, foxtails can burrow through the skin, finding their way into the spine or chest and belly cavities. Foxtails and grass seed awns are designed to do one thing: burrow. Pay close attention to your dog whenever it’s out in the backyard, or in any other grassy area. Here’s a breakdown of what the foxtail plant is and why it’s dangerous for your dog. They will continue to cause irritation until they’re removed. Foxtails are among the most dangerous plants for dogs, and they aren’t necessarily eaten. Check for foxtails if you notice swelling or limping or if your dog is constantly licking the area. Because these tough seeds don't break down inside the body, an embedded foxtail can lead to serious infection for your dog. Foxtails love your dog's feet and can easily become embedded between tender toes. This hitchhiking behavior is important for foxtail seed dispersal.1, Foxtails can attach to any part of your dog’s body and start the burrowing process. And when is it time to call a vet? Remember, foxtails won't come out on their own, and they can burrow into the. Signs Your Dog Ingested Foxtail Grass If your dog begins to sneeze constantly and violently, it can be a sign that your pup inhaled some seeds. Once the sharp, barbed seeds of the foxtail stick become imbedded in your pet, they can cause abscesses and infection. This weed is primarily found west of the Mississippi River. Also consider trimming your dog's hair during foxtail season, especially if it tends to persistently get foxtails in one spot. Symptoms Your Dog Has Foxtails in a Paw or Other Body Parts. Same thing with porcupine quills, by the way. Brennan KE, Ihrke PJ. They can dig through the skin or be inhaled into – and after that perforate – a lung. These grasses with silky or bristly flowering spikes may stick in the throat of a pet obstructing the respiration and causing sudden distress. They can get into your dog’s body through other orifices like the anus and vagina as well. Foxtail Plants: How to Find Them on Dogs and Why They're So Dangerous, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxtail_(diaspore), Spaces between the toes (in the paw pads). Feet. There are a few symptoms caused by penetrated foxtails: ", University of California, Davis: "Foxtails Pose Autumn Threat to Dogs.". Not only can these burrow into the skin, but these seeds have the capability to burrow … They can also readily burrow deep down the skin particularly between the toes. • If your dog has a sneezing fit, press gently on one side of the nose. If your dog begins to sneeze constantly and violently, it can be a sign that your pup inhaled some seeds. By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD, Smart Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes, Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs and Cats, Coronavirus in Context: Interviews With Experts, Sign Up to Receive Our Free Coroanvirus Newsletter, Foxtails and Your Dog: Risks and Symptoms. Once inside, the foxtail continues to burrow, bringing bacteria and dirt along with it. Luckily, there are things you can do to try to keep your dog safe from the dangers of foxtails. Foxtails generally enter a dog’s body through the nasal passage, ears, eyes, or mouth – they can also enter into his lungs or penetrate the skin anywhere along the dog’s backbone. Dogs with long coats are more likely to pick up these annoying hitchhikers. He may need surgery. The paws of dogs are quite vulnerable to foxtail injuries. This is how the grass spreads as the seed slowly works its way deeper and deeper into soil and becomes lodged when the barb-like spines set in place. In Wikipedia. Foxtails can enter anywhere in the body, and symptoms differ based on these locations. Prevent issues by: The easiest way to prevent foxtail problems is to keep your dog out of overgrown, grassy areas. All rights reserved. Carefully check your dog's paw pads for foxtails -- especially between the toes. TREATMENT: The vet will anesthetize the dog and remove any foxtails. It can cause everything from paw infections with limping, to conditions that could kill your dog. Delaying treatment allows the foxtail to do further damage; avoiding foxtail treatment altogether could lead to your dog developing a chronic illness or could even lead to death. Long-haired dogs are particularly susceptible, as the barbed foxtail stays attached to the dog’s long fur and are difficult to spot. The foxtail plant is a grass-like weed. But first-time dog owners or newly relocated San Diegans may not be aware of the serious danger they present to their pet’s comfort and safety. Foxtails travel. Vomiting or painful coughing can be an indication that they swallowed seeds and are trying to dislodge them. Consider a trim for the summer to reduce the likelihood of attachment. Foxtail plants are a weed-type grass that can cause serious problems for dogs. Moving relentlessly forward, never back, they can migrate from inside your dog's nose to its brain. Sadly, the dog had to be euthanized before it … SYMPTOMS: Continual licking of the foot or pad, bumpy swelling between the toes, or a small hole. The danger of foxtails goes beyond simple irritation. If you find a foxtail should you extract it? Embedded foxtails can cause discharge, abscesses, swelling, pain, and death. But it wasn’t until she got her own dogs that foxtails really hit her radar screen. Foxtails can become lodged in your dog’s brain, lungs and spine and cause them serious damage and in severe cases it can cause death. The most dangerous time to encounter foxtails are when the plant becomes dry and brittle and the grass heads begin to separate. Foxtails are among the most dangerous plants for dogs, and they aren’t necessarily eaten. The seed awns are designed to burrow into hard ground with the seed, which is why they can burrow right through your dog’s soft skin. From there it gets into the skin and keeps being driven further inside. Foxtails. The veterinarian will be able to help you both out of this sticky situation – literally! Wherever the foxtail is located, once it’s through the skin of a dog it should be examined by a vet in order to make sure the entire awn is removed. Examining your pet's coat during foxtail season -- generally May through December -- especially if you've gone walking in open fields. Foxtail Grass Can Kill Your Dogs. The dog will shake their head constantly and … Dogs that come into contact with foxtails stand a good chance of having one of these insidious plant pieces work its way into the body, especially between toes. Foxtails torpedo-shaped awns are like bullets and can penetrate any part of a dog’s body. Last Updated July 22, 2015. Foxtail (diaspore). Avoid foxtail-prone areas to prevent injury to your dog. The bacteria in the awns can cause infections and abscesses. If you are seeing any of the signs listed above or signs that a foxtail has penetrated the skin or entered an opening on your dog’s body, bring your dog to the vet. Genitals. The vet x-rayed him to try and solve what was going on. Examine your dog’s ears, paw pads (especially between the toes!) If you live in an area where foxtails are abundant, here are some signs you can look for: Other signs can show up one to several days later. Foxtail plants can be risky for your dog. For instance, a foxtail inside the ear canal results in head shaking. Foxtails in Dogs Nose and Lungs They are most often found in these places: When the weather is warm, the foxtail dries out and hitches a ride on anything passing by, including dogs. © 2005 - 2019 WebMD LLC. Just one leaf or a few berries can kill your dog, and it takes about the same amount to kill a person. Foxtails are serious business. Use tweezers to remove any foxtails you can easily get to. Embedded foxtails can cause discharge, abscesses, swelling, pain, and death. The seeds can be hard to find in a dog's fur. However, they can also get into a dog's skin where they can cause serious injury, infection and even death. NOT A MYTH!!! Because the seeds don’t break down in the body, and only move forward because of the shape of the seed, they can cause horrible damage. Foxtails may look harmless, but they can potentially kill dogs. RISKS: Abscesses, infections. When he opened the dog up, all his organs had been compromised from an infection caused by a foxtail that had worked its way under the skin and traveled to his organs. But dogs with long ears and curly hair can be especially prone to foxtail problems. If you suspect a Foxtail seed is stuck on or in your dog, seek veterinary care immediately. foxtails, burrs on dogs Most dog owners are aware of how inconvenient foxtails and/or burrs are for a long-haired dog. They can easily get in between their toes and once they do, the flexing motion that results as the dog walks pushes the foxtails deeper into the toes. Also known as belladonna, the plant prefers shady, moist areas, especially in soils rich in limestone.