Foxtail Danger to Dogs
The danger of the foxtail lies within its barbed seed. If the barbed seeds penetrate the skin, they can cause severe allergic reactions. They can also migrate through the skin into other areas of the body.
What is Foxtail?
The foxtail is an annual grass that can grow between one and three feet tall. It is named the ‘foxtail’ due to its fluffy foxtail like appearance on the tip of each blade of grass. The grasses grow near water ways, ponds, and even in damp yards. Once the grass matures and finishes its spiky flowering stage, the entire grass turns a brown color and the seeds mature.
How Foxtail Can Affect Your Dog
Foxtail seeds have evolved in such a way that they grab easily onto any passing object. Pets often get the seeds sprinkled in their coat if they walk through the grasses. They can also get the seeds in their paws, ears, eyes, and mouth. If the seeds are inhaled they can cause violent sneezing and even bloody discharge from the nose and mouth. If the seeds get into the eyes they cause severe irritation and the eye may appear to be glued shut.
When foxtail seeds get into the mouth they cause such severe irritation that the animal will often have problems swallowing and may repeatedly begin to gag. Animals will often begin to paw continuously at their mouth as well if they get a foxtail seed stuck between their teeth or caught on their tongue. Foxtails on the skin can cause sudden swelling and the appearance of a mysterious lump.
If you think that your pet may have been exposed to a foxtail, take your pet to a veterinarian immediately. If the seeds are not removed properly, they can migrate through the skin and hurt internal organs. Try to reduce your pet’s exposure to foxtails by becoming familiar with the plant’s appearance.