When you own a dog, it’s important to be aware of the dangers surrounding you and your pet to help keep them safe. Your dog isn’t aware of what can harm them so it’s up to you to keep an eye out and steer them clear of these areas. Foxtails are one of those problems you may not even be aware exists.

What Are Foxtails?

Foxtails are a grass like plant that may look similar to a stalk of wheat. Even if you aren’t aware you’ve seen this plant, odds are they are in your area. The plants typically grow in open areas and are characterized by their spiny appearance. These spiny protrusions are designed to burrow in to help spread the seeds of the foxtail. These plants can be found along hiking trails, in parks and along roadsides. As you walk, it’s important to keep an eye out for them so you can keep your dog far away from them to prevent serious injuries.

How Do They Harm Your Dog?

It may seem like these plants are relatively harmless. After all, if you touch them, nothing much happens. However, they can be a serious danger to your dog if they end up eating it or even inhale it when they’re sniffing around. When a foxtail is embedded into your dog, it can move to the brain if inhaled or to the lungs if it enters your dog’s skin. Before it reaches this serious point, however, there are signs you should look out for to help you take care of the problem before it gets more serious:

  • Any unusual discharge
  • Swelling or abscesses can be a sign your pet has come into contact with foxtails.

Pay attention to any unusual behaviors from your dog, such as excessive head shaking, whimpering when touched, limping, excessive licking and swelling. Any of these signs warrant a trip to the vet as soon as possible!