What Is Foxtail Grass, and How Can It Affect Your Dog?

July 9, 2020 11:12 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Throughout the western portion of the United States, foxtail grass grows in yards, parks, gardens and other places you might take your dog on a walk. To those unfamiliar with this weed, it can seem pretty harmless. However, foxtail grass and dogs in Henderson, NV are a dangerous combination.

What is foxtail grass?

Before you can be on the lookout for foxtail grass, you have to know how to identify it. Foxtail grass actually isn’t a specific type of grass. In fact, it is the cluster of grasses that develop at the end of a plant to disperse its seeds. Many kinds of plants grow these foxtails (also known as spear grass).

These units of spikelets serve as the plant’s method for reproducing. To survive, these foxtails are razor sharp so they can stick in the ground after the wind blows them away from the original plant. These torpedo-shaped needles can easily burrow into anyone’s skin, whether it’s human, dog, cat or otherwise. That is the reason foxtail grass and dogs in Henderson, NV are an equation for disaster.

How do foxtail grasses hurt my dog?

Any animals that spend time outdoors, whether it’s your domesticated pet or the wild critters in your area, are susceptible to foxtail awns. Canines with longer hair or fur are especially at risk because it’s so much easier for these barbed units to hide after becoming lodged in your dog.

Vets and groomers most commonly see foxtail needles attached to the nose, ears, paws, rear end and underbelly, but they can lodge themselves anywhere on the body. The risk with foxtails is that, if they are not removed quickly, they can lead to infections and worse.

As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to check your dog every time they come back inside. Regular grooming sessions also help you spot any foxtails that might have found their way onto or into your pet. Here are some of the symptoms of an infection caused by foxtails:

  • Paws: The tender spot between a dog’s toes are the perfect hiding place for foxtail barbs. If your dog is limping, if the paw is swelling or your pet is licking the area compulsively, take a closer look for any foxtail needles.
  • Eyes: Another sensitive spot on an animal’s body, when a dog is sniffing around, a foxtail can easily find its way into their eye. If this happens, the eye will experience squinting, redness, swelling and discharge. You also might notice that your dog is trying to rub the eye with their paw or against another object.
  • Ears: The biggest issue with foxtails and dogs’ ears is that these spikelets find their way deep into the canal. That means you won’t be able to see the foxtail. Your dog will continually shake or tilt their head, like they are trying to dislodge something. They may also continue to scratch their ear for what appears to be no reason.

When it comes to foxtail grass and dogs in Henderson, NV, you have to remain vigilant with your pets. Staying on top of their grooming needs, with help from The Soggy Dog, allows you to keep an eye out for symptoms. Contact us today to schedule a grooming appointment or to learn more about our self-serve grooming stations.

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