Foxtails (also called grass awns) are the bristly seeds on certain types of grasses. They can become stuck in a pet’s coat, eyes, ears or nose, and can even penetrate the skin and migrate throughout the body. Pets who spend a lot of time making their way through tall grass are at the highest risk for problems associated with foxtails.
Symptoms vary depending where the foxtail has become lodged, but common signs include excessive sneezing, red and runny eyes, and skin wounds that don’t heal as expected. A veterinarian will need to locate and remove the foxtail and deal with the tissue damage and infection that it caused.
Walk pets on a short leash to prevent exposure to foxtails. Vests and head coverings are also available for dogs who work in long grass. Check your pet’s coat, skin, paws, eyes and ears, and remove any foxtails you find before they can do damage.