Grass seeds are the tiny enemy we all dread throughout the summer months. 

Most grass seeds seem to find their way between our dogs toes, into their ears, sometimes in their eyes, and into their nose or mouth too. In fact any part of their body is at risk of puncturing. 

Dogs love to run through long grass, so it’s important to check them for grass seeds every time. Once a grass seed finds its way into your dogs body, they are far harder to find. A grass seed won't normally show up on x-rays, and can travel far throughout the dog causing inflammation, infection and abscesses.

They can travel as far as your dogs lungs and depending on the distance travelled , they may require a CT scan to locate.  Due to how quickly it travels, a suspected grass seed problem should be seen by your vet. 

What To Look Out For:

  • Warning signs to watch out for on feet include paw licking, especially after a walk. You may also see a red raised ‘boil’ that the dog has been licking for a day or two. 
  • Warning signs to watch out for with ears includes the sudden onset of head shaking. Due to their ear shape, spaniel breeds and crosses are the most commonly affected breeds, however grass seeds can get into any dog's ears.
  •  Other symptoms to look out for include swelling on an area, sometimes accompanied by puss. You could also possibly see a puncture wound or something as simple as your dog being off its food.  

How Fast Does A Grass Seed Go Into Your Dog And Travel?

Once a grass seed is under the skin, it’s possible for it to start migrating around the body, at which point they often cause problems and prove difficult to find. Watch this video by Banbury Vet Clinic to see how quickly a seed can find its way into your dogs body. 

Seeds To Look Out For

Many seeds can cause problems, but one seed to definitely look out for is the Foxtail. Similar looking to wheat, Meadow foxtail occurs throughout the UK. It is most abundant in low lying areas, river valleys, wetlands or in old meadows on moist soils. 

When dogs encounter the seed-heads, their barbs cause them to become irreversibly lodged and will penetrate just about anywhere.

How To Minimise Grass Seed Concerns

  • Regular brushing is incredibly important, especially with long coated or curly coated dogs. 
  • Keep dogs paws and ear hair trimmed regularly so that the seeds don’t have as much to attach to.
  • Make sure to feel between your dogs paw pads for caught seeds. If you don't feel confident trimming your dog, ask a groomer to do this for you. 
  • A flea comb works quite well for getting the seeds out close to the skin, and any thorns in the winter after working.
  • Make sure to groom their entire body and check in any skin folds,  their belly and limb joints. 

Field First Aid For Working Dogs - Free Mini Course

The LWDG has a free short mini-course for all readers. Head over to our Course to access! 

Want to add to this article? Let us know in the comments below about how grass seeds have affected your dog and any advice you have for readers. 

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