Your Dog and Foxtail Grasses

Did you know that foxtail grasses are extremely dangerous to dogs? These innocent-looking plants can actually cause serious injuries to your canine pal. A local Bee Cave TX vet discusses foxtail grasses below.


The issue with foxtails isn’t toxicity: the plants aren’t poisonous. However, they do have sharp seed awns, which are sharp enough to pierce pets’ skin. Dogs often pick them up when they come into contact with the plant. The awns have barbs, which are angled in such a way that they don’t work themselves out. Instead, they keep working their way in. That’s as painful and dangerous as it sounds. This can cause serious internal damage, as the awns can penetrate and even puncture internal organs.

Doggy Dangers

We all know that dogs love sniffing grass and brush. Fido’s sense of adventure can be adorable, but it can also work against him. Pups sometimes inhale the awns by nosing around in the brush. They can also pick up awns on their paws, or even their genitals.

Red Flags

Signs vary widely, depending on where the awn is. A dog with an awn in his ears may shake his head or paw at his ears, while a pooch who has inhaled one may sniff, sneeze, cough, or have respiratory issues. If a pup has an awn in their genitalia, they may lick or nibble that area consistently. You may also notice other, more general symptoms, such as swelling, uncharacteristic behavior, a lack of appetite, whining, or restlessness.


What if you spot an awn, or suspect that Fido has picked one up? In some cases, you may be able to remove it with tweezers. Of course, this depends on where it is and how deep it is. You can probably take one out of your pup’s paw yourself, especially if he just picked it up. However, if you know or suspect that there’s an awn in a sensitive area and/or under the skin, contact your vet immediately.


When you walk Fido, pay attention to the terrain, and don’t let him nose around in long grasses. We also recommend checking your pooch daily. Last but not least, inspect your own property. If you find foxtails, pull them out by the root and burn them.

As your local Bee Cave TX vet clinic, we are dedicated to offering great care. Contact us anytime!

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