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Foxtail and Dogs

Melissa Dunlap is a writer, editor and blogger specializing in lifestyle communications. Fueled by curiosity, and a tad too much coffee, Melissa enjoys dissecting current trends for the modern woman. When she's not having dance parties w...

Foxtail in your yard can be harmful for dogs.

Foxtail is a grassy weed that usually goes unnoticed until it begins to produce seed heads in the summer. Although the weed on its own can cause damage to your beautiful lawn, the greater concern is how dangerous foxtail can be for dogs.


Foxtail is a grassy weed that usually goes unnoticed until it begins to produce seed heads in the summer. Although the weed on its own can cause damage to your beautiful lawn, the greater concern is how dangerous foxtail can be for dogs.

Foxtail begins as a broad-bladed, light green grass that grows in clumps among lawn grasses, mostly in the West and Southwest. When the seedheads appear, foxtail becomes easy to identify. The seedhead is a cylindrical shape with an appearance similar to wheat or a fox's tail. The heads are generally a yellow color and fuzzy, and as they dry out the barbed seeds will stick to anything that passes.

The seeds are highly dangerous to dogs, especially long-haired dogs, because of their tendency to hitch a ride on anything that passes. Barbed foxtail seeds can get stuck between dog's toes, in their ears, eyes, skin---anywhere---causing infections or abscesses that could be deadly. Once in the skin, the seed can migrate and become lodged in internal organs.

If your dog is whimpering or scratching with no apparent injury, foxtail could be the cause. If you see a foxtail seed stuck in the skin, carefully pull it straight out. If you think a seed is embedded in the skin, bring your dog to the vet. Minimize the risk by using crabgrass killer to remove foxtails from the yard and discouraging your dog from grassy areas.

 

 

 
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