In a article published in the 2010 summer issue of The Bark, veterinarian Nancy Kay warned dog owners about the dangers of foxtails, especially in summer and late summer/fall months. In North America, this is the season for foxtail troubles. Foxtails are the top of grass stalks that distribute the seeds of the plant. Late in the summer, they grow dry and brittle, and their little sharp “paper airplane” shaped seed pods are primed to burrow wherever they can. Foxtails are irritating to people, as they burrow into clothing and hair and are very itchy. But they are even more of a nuisance and health hazard for dogs. Foxtails are easily caught in dog fur, and can burrow into the skin if left undetected. They can also easily make their way into a dog’s body through the nose, mouth and other exposed vulnerable areas. To make matters worse, once the are burrowed internally, they do not break down.
So, what can you do to prevent such problems? Obviously avoid fields of foxtails, and when clearing dry foxtail-covered grass from your backyard, don’t just mow the grass down — rake trimmings up too and dispose of them. Keep areas around your dog’s paw pads nicely trimmed so that you can see if anything is stuck in them. For more tips and information, check out the following articles:
Emma Kesler, CDBC, CPDT-KA is an award winning certified Dog Behavior Consultant and Dog Trainer who has worked exclusively virtually with clients from across the world for the past decade. Emma shares her life with her Welsh Terrier copilot Miles.
This is for all of the wild dogs out there, for the people who love them, and for those who want get to know them. You've come to the right place. 🐶
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