Grass Seeds & Foxtails

Grass seeds and foxtails are the bane of our dog walks!

That might seem a little excessive, but trust me it isn't, and we know lots of others who think the same. Let me explain.

Because we spend a lot of time off the beaten track, in woodland, in the 'campo' and generally where there is lots of vegetation and not a lot of anything else, we encounter grass, in all its forms, all year round, but this time of year is the worst. The grass has died and the seeds and foxtails have dropped onto the ground, and they are everywhere, billions of them!

For those that don't know what I mean, this is them. The sharp pointed ones are foxtails and the small balls are seeds and they are spiked also, lots of them, like the old 'stickle brick' toys.

Spike doesn't have such a problem as his coat is so short nothing can stick to it, however the foxtails can still get in between his toes and in his pads. As you can see from the photo these things are very pointed and they are sharp. Spike has had to have them removed by the vet before, and of course that is always a risk, especially at his age, the anaesthetic is always a risk.

Luca being long haired has a much bigger problem, he also has a much bigger foot!, In fact his feet are the biggest feet I have ever seen on any dog, (he could be half Shetland Pony)! The only good thing is that his fur is pretty straight and that means they are easier to get out.

Now Cocoa is a whole different matter!

Grass Seeds
I know it might look like they were put there but they weren't, that was what attached itself to Cocoa after a 10 minute run around, and that really isn't bad at all. There has been times where it has taken two of us 2 hours to get all of the foxtails out of Cocoa's coat after a walk, and of course that isn't any fun for Cocoa, and spoils the fun of having a walk. Because her coat consists of small curls, the foxtails work their way in and are very difficult to get out.
So there are a couple of very key things to ensuring none of these foxtails cause any injury. They are;
  • In the case of a SWD like Cocoa, keep the coat short during the Spring, Summer & Autumn when the seeds and foxtails are worst. It is much easier to see and remove anything that has got caught in the coat
  • We check all of the dogs over very thoroughly after every walk and remove everything we find, that includes in the ear canal and between the toes
  • Keep the fur in-between the pads and in the ear canal short

There has been times where a vet was needed to remove them from the ear canal when they were in too deep to attempt getting them out, and if you cannot get to them or if they have already worked their way in to the skin then see your vet, these things are really dangerous, as you can see from the photos, they only travel one way! Infections can occur very easily and quickly, so if you have any doubts, go to the vets.

We also have other methods of preventing injury and we will go into further detail about those in another post, but this gives you an idea.


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