Foxtails are actually quite pretty while growing. You should train yourself to be on the lookout for them so you can mow those suckers to the ground!!!
Why do I hate these spring grasses so? Well… they have adapted themselves to produce sharp barbs to catch in the fur of passing animals to spread their seeds far and wide out into the world. Great idea, but the seeds don’t always fall back out of the fur to the ground to propagate this grass. In fact, some times they stick in tender skin and burrow deep into the flesh to cause all sorts of problems.
There isn’t just one species of grass that produces foxtails either. There are many kinds of grass that produces these feathered barbs.
Some have one spike, and some have many but all can burrow in flesh.
Inspect your pet after being outside or by weeds.
Foxtails hide under eyelids, up noses, in mouths, in-between toes, in arm pits and much more. They cause irritation, abscess, pain, swelling and infection. If your pets attention is on one specific spot in an increasing amount, like this kid rubbing at his eye, you need a vet appointment to find out why.
If you find any of the foxtail barbs in fur or between toes brush them out, pull them out, tweeze them out… whatever, just get them. Do not try removing anything from eyes, noses or mouths. This can be dangerous for you as well as your pet, just get a veterinary appointment. We have the power of sedation on our side.
Also, if you can’t get at the foxtail, it’s already embedded deeply or there is a red, swollen wound on your pet. Set up an exam with your vet. Sedation might be required to get all the foxtails out. Just because you got one, doesn’t mean there isn’t more hiding in that gooey abscess. Antibiotics and pain medications might also be in order. The faster you catch it, the easier it will be to heal and afford.
This 115# Bernese Mountain dog had to take a long nappie so we could clean out the festering wound on his toe, probably made by the very foxtails in his foot. He barely fit in the huge run in back!
I mean really… Check his noggin out! I think it’s bigger than mine!