Vets warn dog owners about dangers of popular grass found on hikes


morgue file mensaticAs a dog owner, it is common knowledge that it is crucial to walk your dog frequently, not only for the health benefits of the animal but the owner. There is nothing more exhilarating than to go for a brisk walk, hike or jog while taking in all that nature has to offer. However, recent studies and reports by veterinarians now exhibit cause for concern. Something as simple and beautiful as the grass classifies as a possible danger for your four-legged furry family member, especially Foxtail grass.

How wild grasses like Foxtail present dangers to dogs

Although you may keep your own lawn lush and manicured, it is a mystery what you may encounter when romping through tall blades of grass in nature while walking or hiking with your dog. Most common areas with wild grasses are roadsides, vacant lots, landfills, mountainsides and open fields, just to name a few. Before allowing your dog to venture on its own, it is important that you are aware of certain wild grasses with inherent dangers such as Foxtail. The seed awns or grass seed of the Foxtail have needles that are designed to implant into the ground as a reseeding process. If a dog encounters these razor sharp, barbed seed awns, they can burrow into your pet’s skin, causing some severe injuries.

Protecting your dog from Foxtail hazards

The Foxtail seed awns, with their torpedo-like structure, can enter any part of your dog’s body, especially targeting the ears, nose, paws, rear end and underbelly. Dogs with longer fur are more susceptible to seed awns because they can go immediately undetected. There are signs and symptoms that you as a pet owner can be aware of to ensure your dog’s safety after a fun day in nature, such as:

  • Lumps on the skin
  • Continual sneezing that comes with a seed awn in the nose
  • Notable head shaking
  • Pawing at the eyes
  • Visible signs of puss discharge and abscesses resulting from infections
  • Evident injuries or wounds

To prevent such injuries to your dog, know the areas where you allow your dog to play, to ensure it is safe. Try to avoid ranges with Foxtail. When sitting and bonding at the end of a full day, check your dog thoroughly for any of the possible signs or symptoms associated with awn seeds. Pay close attention to the eyes, ears, paws, and underbelly. A visit with your vet may be necessary if your dog gets injured but the best you can do is avoid play areas and hikes where Foxtails are present. For the safety and well-being of other dogs, share this vital information with all animal lovers in your life.

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