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Grass Seeds in Dogs

Grass Seeds in Dogs

As the summer sun brings along warmer weather, longer days, and a plethora of amazing activities with our furry friends, there is one villain in the great outdoors, grass seeds! Grass seeds in dogs can be hugely problematic for our pooches.

For many of us, we are accustomed to the grass seed, but these pesky prickles can damage the paw pads of our furry friends, and bury their way under skin leading to sore and sensitive skin susceptible to infection if not removed.
Located in heavily grassed areas such as meadows and woodland areas, local grass verges, and even in your own garden, keeping your dog protected from grass seeds can help your pooch have a pain-free summer.

What do grass seeds look like?

Grass seeds are long pointy and beige in colour. They can be found on the top of tall blades of grass. When these seeds are shed or brushed up against, they can become stuck and lodged in your dog’s paws, and ears and even inhaled by dogs leading to nasty skin irritations and respiratory issues requiring care from your dog’s local veterinarian.

If you live in rural areas or like to take your pooch for long walks in the countryside, keep your eye out for grass seeds and inspect your dog for possible grass seed issues when returning home. 

What problems can grass seeds cause?

Like anything sharp and pointy, grass seeds cause major problems in our dog’s skin, coat, and paws. Signs of grass seed issues include:

  • Excessively licking paws

  • Swelling between toes

  • Chewing or biting at a specific area of their skin

  • Limping

  • Shaking their head or violently sneezing

Grass seeds are extremely sharp and can bury into your dog’s skin and paws leading to inflammation. If left untreated severe infections and abscesses can develop requiring immediate care and attention.

What problems can grass seeds cause?

Like anything sharp and pointy, grass seeds cause major problems in our dog’s skin, coat, and paws. Signs of grass seed issues include:

  • Excessively licking paws

  • Swelling between toes

  • Chewing or biting at a specific area of their skin

  • Limping

  • Shaking their head or violently sneezing

Grass seeds are extremely sharp and can bury into your dog’s skin and paws leading to inflammation. If left untreated severe infections and abscesses can develop requiring immediate care and attention.

How should I treat grass seeds?

If you believe your dog has a grass seed stuck in any area of their body, seek advice from their vet as soon as you can. If the grass seed is in the ear and has not penetrated the skin, the seed can be removed by your dog’s vet with a pair of long tweezers. Grass seeds that have penetrated the skin require more in-depth treatment and may require sedation and an operation to remove the problem seed. Grass seeds don’t often show up on x-rays. A CT scan might be necessary. Sometimes the damage a grass seed has caused to soft tissue might be the only way to spot where the seed has migrated to.

How can I prevent grass seed injuries?

Like everything, prevention is always better than cure so one of the best ways of preventing grass seed problems in our pets is to try and reduce the likelihood of your dog coming into contact with grass seeds. Keep your dog away from long grass (which is also beneficial for the prevention of contact with adders, see our previous blog post on adder bites.) to avoid any seeds entering your dog’s fur and skin.

Another great prevention tool is checking your dog’s paws and fur after their walks. The top spots for grass seed issues are ears, paws, armpits, and backs so check these areas when home. For long-haired dogs, regular grooming can keep seeds from burying into their coats.

How can I prevent grass seed injuries?

Like everything, prevention is always better than cure so one of the best ways of preventing grass seed problems in our pets is to try and reduce the likelihood of your dog coming into contact with grass seeds. Keep your dog away from long grass (which is also beneficial for the prevention of contact with adders, see our previous blog post on adder bites.) to avoid any seeds entering your dog’s fur and skin.

Another great prevention tool is checking your dog’s paws and fur after their walks. The top spots for grass seed issues are ears, paws, armpits, and backs so check these areas when home. For long-haired dogs, regular grooming can keep seeds from burying into their coats.

FAQ’s

 

How do you know if your dog has a grass seed?

Signs of grass seed issues include:
Excessively licking paws
Swelling between toes
Chewing or biting at a specific area of their skin
Limping
Shaking their head or violently sneezing

Can a grass seed come out on its own?

Short answer is that this is not likely. Grass seeds are shaped like arrows and are unable to move backward. The body movements of your dog will allow for the seed to move along its easier route which is always forwards.

Are grass seeds harmful to dogs?

They can be extremely harmful yes. If a grass seed penetrates the skin and starts to migrate through the body it can cause severe damage to internal parts of the body. Grass seeds can get stuck behind eye lids causing problems such as a corneal ulcer. They can travel inside a dog’s nose and cause respiratory problems. A grass seed that manages to find its way into the lungs could be life-threatening.

Goodbye to grass seeds

With more and more of us choosing walks in the great outdoors, keeping our dogs happy and healthy is key to a safe summer. With grass seeds one of the most problematic issues for pet owners during spring and summer, following our tips for keeping your pooch grass-seed few can ensure their skin and paws are pain-free and pawtected.

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What has been your experience with grass seeds and your dogs? Let us know in the comments.

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