It is getting towards the time of year where the grass starts to seed. This can cause many problems for our canine companions. Dry grass seeds attach themselves to your dog’s coat and then work their way towards the skin, eventually burrowing through the skin and setting up a severe inflammation and infection.
The most common places for dogs to collect grass seeds are in their paws and in their ears, although anywhere is at risk. If your dog gets a grass seed in his ear, the most common sign is sudden onset violent head shaking while out on a walk.
Because of the shape of a grass seed, it is virtually impossible for the dog to dislodge it as it will continue to work its way down the ear canal. A trip to your vet is essential and sedation will probably be needed in order for your vet to retrieve the grass seed/s safely.
Grass seeds in the paws will start to burrow into the skin causing irritation and pain leading to lameness and constant licking of the foot. Again, your dog will struggle to dislodge the seed itself If caught early, you may be able to see the end of the seed poking out of the skin and pull it out. If all you can see is a sore foot, with possibly a small wound, a trip to the vet will be required. Sedation may be necessary to allow your vet to examine the wound. Unfortunately, sometimes it is impossible to locate the seed (they do not show up on x-ray), and sometimes they will have worked their way out the other side of the foot. If left untreated, however, they can migrate through the body leading to chronic irritation and infection.
To reduce the risk of your dog having problems with grass seeds try to avoid walking them in areas with long, dry grasses and always check their coat thoroughly as soon as you are out of the area, or back from any walk. Concentrate on the area between the toes and pads, under the ear flap and along the belly and groin. Remove any grass seeds that you find. If you have a long-haired dog, keeping the fur around your dog’s feet trimmed will allow you to see grass seeds more easily.