Foxtail Grass Dangerous to Dogs

May 29


Marilyn Pokorney

Marilyn Pokorney

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If you have dogs, keep the foxtail out of your lawn!


Foxtail is a common annual grass usually considered a weed.It grows one to three feet tall, Foxtail Grass Dangerous to Dogs Articles with branching and somespreading at ground level. Leaf blades are 4 to 15 incheslong. Flower heads are dense spikes with yellow to reddish,green or purplish bristles. As foxtail matures, seeds areformed at the top of the stalk. The bushy seeds are whatgives the plant the name of "foxtail".

When mature, the seeds detach easily from the plant. Thisis natures way of making sure that the plant reproduces.The seeds easily cling to clothing, fur, and hair. Theseeds always move forward thus penetrating the skin.

The seeds found in the ears, eyes and nose are very seriousand can become life threatening. But no body part isimmune. The seeds have been found in the urethra, vagina,anal glands, brain, and spinal cord. In one case aveterinarian found the seed in the lung but the originalsite of entry was the paw. The seeds also gain entrythrough open wounds.

Foxtail seeds are very tiny so veterinarians usually go bysymptoms.

If in the nasal cavity, the dog sneezes repeatedly andviolently often hitting the nose on the floor. If a bloodydischarge is noticed assume it's a foxtail seed.

If in the eye, the dog paws at the eye and the eye waters.If an eye is glued shut it is most likely a foxtail seed.

If the seed is in the ear the dog shakes its head violentlyfrom side to side. Sometimes the dog paws a the eyes orear, shaking the head and squints.

In the mouth foxtail seeds can cause gagging or difficultyswallowing. If the seed gets caught between the teeth, inthe gums, back of throat, or tongue problems can result.

If the seed lodges in the paw or under the coat a lump willform that is painful to the touch. Other symptoms includerubbing the head on the ground and going round in circles,licking or biting at the rectum or other body parts, oryelping or shining for no obvious reason.

Foxtail seeds can cause fatalities when they reach internalorgans.

In any case, do not attempt to treat the animal yourself.Get professional help.

Get rid of all foxtail in your lawn or yard. If foxtailgrows in your yard mow the grass often, especially in latespring when the plant grows most rapidly. This prevents theplant from ever setting seed.

Avoid parks, or other recreational areas where you knowfoxtail grows.

Always brush and inspect your dogs coat after being ingrassy areas. Dogs with long hair are even more likely toattract the seeds than shorthaired breeds.

Examine your dogs eyes and ears.

For more information on how to control foxtail:

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