Fox Tail Grasses

Does your canine buddy love to run and play in fields and meadows? For most of our canine patients, the answer to that would be a definite yes. While this may sound like Fido’s perfect day, there is a hidden danger lurking in some of those fields that many pet owners are unaware of. A Michigan City, IN discusses fox tail grasses in this article.

Why They Are Dangerous

The issue with foxtail grasses isn’t that they are poisonous. The trouble is actually in their seeds, which are sharped and ‘armed’ with curved barbs. The barbs are dangerous for two reasons. One: they are sharp enough to pierce pets’ skin. Two? The awns are curved in such a way that they will not naturally move out of your pet’s body, but will instead keep working their way inward. This means they can pierce or damage internal organs, which is extremely dangerous. Yikes!


Wondering what to look for? It will depend on where the awn is on your pet. Usually awns get into pets’ paws, noses, ears, or mouths, but that’s not always the case. Pets can also sit on them, which can result in seeds getting into their genitals. That said, some things to look for include limping, sneezing, pawing at the ears or nose, red/runny eyes, nasal discharge, and tilting or shaking the head. Fido may have trouble breathing, or he may incessantly lick himself. If an awn has already gone beneath the skin, you may only see redness or swelling. Any of these things should warrant an immediate call to the vet.


Awns are usually removable, but it’s important to catch them early, before they have a chance to do real damage. In many cases, you may be able to remove them yourself with tweezers. However, if the awn is in a delicate area, you’ll need to get to the vet ASAP.

Keeping Fido Safe

We recommend checking pets daily, especially if they have been in fields or wooded areas. Dogs with long or curly coats need some extra attention here. Inspect your yard and property as well. If you do find any foxtails, pull them out by the root. Last but not least, don’t let Fido and Fluffy explore areas that could have foxtails.

As your Michigan City, IN animal clinic, we’re dedicated to offering great veterinary care. Call us today!

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