Pet Safety Awareness – Foxtail Grass the Weed that can Kill Dogs!

 In Pets & Health, Tips & Advice

The foxtail plant is a common weed-like long tall grass often found in large fields and countryside in the UK. The changeable British weather offers the perfect conditions for foxtail grass to flourish and set within rolling countryside conditions, this sounds like the ideal walking environment for our four-legged friends. WRONG! Foxtails in fact are one of the most dangerous plants that our animals can face during a walk, made even more harmful due to the fact that most people wouldn’t think twice about letting their dogs run around a field of long grass.

So what is so dangerous about this long-style grass with the fluffy-tail top? 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! The danger of the foxtail goes beyond simple skin irritations, it can cause serious infections for your dog. In addition, the seeds can move around whilst inside your dog, making the foxtail difficult to locate and remove. So what are the other dangers that fox tails can cause and what do you do if you suspect your dog may be at risk?

Foxtails
Foxtail Safety Tips – Credit Red and Howling

Foxtail Risks and Symptoms

  • Feet – Foxtails love to become stuck in the tender skin in between your dog’s toes. If your dog begins limping, appears to have a swollen foot or begins licking excessively in this area, check in between their toes for foxtails.
  • Ears – Foxtails can become deeply embedded into the ear canal and if your dog is displaying the following symptoms then you will need to visit your veterinary practice. If your dog begins vigorously shaking their head or scratching their ear incessantly, then they could have a foxtail in there.
  • Eyes – If your dog has a red eye, appears to have swelling of the eye or is itching around the eye area, they could have a foxtail stuck in there. In this instance you will need to visit a professional vet so that they can examine your dog’s eye thoroughly and remove it.
  • Nose – Foxtails can become lodged up inside the nasal passage and the seeds can then disperse inside the nose. If your dog is sneezing a lot or if you see discharge coming from the nose, they may have a Foxtail stuck in there.
  • Genitals – Foxtails can become lodged in this area too, so if your dog seems to be in great discomfort in this area contact your veterinary practice for an appointment.

Dogs with long coats and long ears are particularly prone to getting foxtails lodged within them. So what can you do to prevent this from happening to your dog? May to December is foxtail season, so perhaps consider cutting your dog’s fur short during the warmer months, so that any foreign objects can be spotted quickly.  Examine your dog’s body on a regular basis to check for anything that shouldn’t be there. Check your dog’s paw pads and in between the toes and also your dog’s nostrils. If you notice a foxtail up your dog’s nose you can use a pair of tweezers and gently attempt to remove it, if it doesn’t come lose DO NOT LEAVE IT!

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. 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.

Scamps and Champs are one of the country’s leading Pet Care Service companies, we offer caring and reliable animal care for when you can’t be there. Check out our services and availability in your area. If we can assist you in anyway please do contact us.

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