Foxtail Grass Dangers

fox tail seeds, x ray image of dog leg bone with imbedded foxtail.

So far this season, we’ve been hearing increasing reports of people having to take their dogs to the veterinarian because of foxtail grass being embedded in their paws, ears, or even their nostrils or groin. 

The grass seed awn of foxtail grass won’t dissolve, and it causes pain and infection. It’s barbed, so it will keep traveling through tissue one direction, and it can actually be fatal depending on where it ends up. It needs to be removed surgically. 

Remember to give your dogs a thorough once-over when venturing into outdoor areas with foxtail grass, and avoid it whenever possible by keeping pets on a leash. 

We hope these images help you identify this menace before it becomes a problem for your pup! 

These seed awns on foxtails can be dangerous for outdoor cats as well, but it’s more commonly a threat for dogs.

As horrible and frightening as GDV can be, there are several things that dog owners can do to reduce the risk of this happening to their dog:

  • If you get a high-risk breed as a puppy, have your veterinarian perform a gastropexy at the time of spay/neuter.
  • Use a slow-feeder bowl to slow down your dogs’ eating so that they swallow less air (especially if your dog tends to inhale their food).
  • While some recommend using a raised food bowl to give the dog better access to food, it is best to feed on the floor in order to reduce swallowed air. 
  • Do not allow exercise for 30 minutes before or after a meal.
  • If you suspect your dog has bloat take them into your veterinarian right away!