The problem with Grass Seeds……
With the summer comes fields of grass that are seeding. Many grasses produce an ‘arrow’ type seed, which can be a real danger to your dog. The main types of problem grass are foxtail, burdock, spear grass and feather grass. The seeds from these can at best get tangled in your dog’s coat, and at worst penetrate the skin and migrate around the body. This, as you can imagine, is excruciatingly painful for your dog.
Grass seeds can cause real problems for your dog. They can get in the nose, in the eyes; burrow their way deep into the fur then skin, in the feet and legs. They can also get into the ears causing severe inflammation and pain. The seeds are an ‘arrow’ or ‘dart’ shape. They have a very sharp point and a long tail, making it very easy for them to penetrate the skin. Once in the dog’s body, they are extremely difficult to locate, as they do not show up on any x-ray. If the vet suspects that this is what has happened to your dog, then they will need an operation, so that the vet can try and find them and remove them. Even then, location of the grass seed is not always possible, which can cause further problems for your dog.
The best way to prevent this type of problem is to avoid fields and woodland that have these types of grass growing. If this is not possible then there are a few steps you can take to help prevent any issues: If you have a long haired dog with fluffy feet and ears, keep the fur neatly trimmed so that it is more obvious to you if one of the seeds becomes attached. Check your dog for any visible signs of grass seeds in the coat after they have walked, and even better, if you have a long haired or fluffy dog, give them a good comb through after the walk to try and remove any seeds that may be stuck. Always check their ears, armpits and between their toes thoroughly as these are the most common places you will find them.
If you have been walking your dogs through these types of grass and they start shaking their heads, rubbing their ears, have inflamed eyes, keep pawing at nose and sneeze a lot, suddenly go lame on any limb, coughs, gags or becomes generally unwell; seek veterinary treatment immediately (This list is not exhaustive).