During hot summery conditions grasses and plants start to dry out and their barbed seeds begin to scatter. These can cause major problems for our dogs, who often get these seeds caught in their paws, nostrils, ears, eyes and skin. The problem is that these seeds have ‘one-way’ barbs that allow the seed to work its way through the fur, in one direction only. If they are not found and removed quickly, these seeds have been known to work their way through the skin and end up causing serious problems as they migrate further into the body.
Once a grass seed has penetrated the skin the process of removing it becomes much more difficult. Because they are vegetable matter, grass seeds and awns will not show up on an X-ray and can be very difficult for the vet to locate.
Be Grass Seed Aware
- Be particularly vigilant at checking your dog’s coat for grass seeds, plant seeds and burs that may become entangled in the hair.
- Daily grooming will help remove any attached seeds and help you check for any suspicious looking areas or wounds.
- Keep hair around the feet, foot pads and ears trimmed short if possible, as this will help prevent grass seeds attaching.
- Avoid walking in areas with long grasses during this time of year.
- Don’t allow your dog to chew grasses that have seed heads on them.
- If your dog is showing any signs of discomfort, such as licking, lameness, head shaking, excessive sneezing, coughing etc. or if you find a wound that you suspect could be from a seed take them to the vet as soon as possible. The quicker the seed can be removed, the less damage it will do.