Taking our dogs for walks is a wonderful thing. We both get valuable exercise, fresh air, and time to explore our neighborhoods. For many of us, springtime brings both pretty blossoming flowers and the dreaded foxtail plant. This dangerous barbed weed sprouts up along curbs, under trees on sidewalks and in parks.
These dangerous weeds can get into your dog’s ear canals, inhaled into their nose or wedge between toes easily. Now is the time to keep a close eye on your dog while you are out together, and giving them a once over after you get home.
“The most common thing we see is when the barbed portion of the plant works its way between toes or into ears and noses,” says San Francisco SPCA Veterinarian Dr. Nicolette Zarday.
From the San Francisco SPCA:
What You Can Do To Protect Your Pet
- Keep your dog’s coat short during the spring and summer, especially around the feet. There are groomers who will do a “foxtail cut” if requested.
- After each walk, check your pet thoroughly and remove any plant material from their bodies. If you see barbs from foxtails, use tweezers to remove them.
- If your pet suddenly starts sneezing uncontrollably, squinting, or shaking its head during or immediately after a walk, there is an excellent chance a foxtail is involved. Call your veterinarian’s office.
- Do not allow your pet to run through fields of tall grass that contain foxtails.
Click here to learn more from the San Francisco SPCA
Be sure to check all over your dog after being outdoors. Foxtails can blow through the air on windy days so even if you are just out walking with your pet, they can find land and attach on their coat or paws. Foxtails can cause infections, call your veterinarian if you have any concerns!
Social Distance. Stay safe. Stay alert. Stay well.