What are foxtails? Foxtails are a common breed of meadow grass that has soft, brushlike flowering spikes. Foxtails can be found worldwide, but are very common in the Western United States – California in particular.
How can foxtails affect my dog? They might seem harmless, but foxtails can pose risk for your dog, as they can easily become lodged in an ear, eye, mouth, paw, or nose. Foxtails can travel quickly through the body and cause damage far beyond simple irritation if not removed early enough. For example, they can be inhaled into a lung, causing perforation.
How can I tell if my dog’s health issue might be caused by foxtails? Foxtails will usually start to bother your pet by causing redness and irritation. A foxtail lodged in your dogs ear might look similar to an ear infection at first. Swelling, frequent licking, or limping could be a sign that your dog has a foxtail in his paw. Frequent licking and swelling in any other area may be a sign that a foxtail is lodged under the skin. In an eye, a foxtail could cause squinting, redness, itching, swelling, and discharge.
How can I prevent harm/ protect my dog from foxtails? Keep your dog out of overgrown, grassy areas. Examine your pet’s coat, paws, and ears during foxtail season. For dogs with long or curly coats, use a fine-toothed comb to look through for any foxtails before they begin to cause irritation. Remove any foxtails that you can easily access with tweezers. A foxtail in the nose or ear may require a visit to the veterinarian.
There’s more! If you want much more information on foxtails, visit the websites below or talk to your vet.