Foxtails! Watch Out! They can KILL!

Today we will be talking about Foxtails, and how dangerous they are to your dogs! Don’t let them get you down, just be sure to take the proper steps to avoid them!


Me being down about foxtails

So what exactly is a foxtail? A foxtail is a type of grass like weed that can either be called “foxtail” or “spear grass”, that disperses its seeds as a unit. Foxtail seeds are barbed, razor-sharp needles, designed to burrow into the ground with the seed.



Foxtails can work their way into any part of your dog (or cat), including the most popular areas, between the toes, inside the ears, eyes, and mouth. They can even dig themselves directly into the skin. Because the seeds don’t break down in the body, and only move forward because of the shape of the seed, they can cause horrible damage. If your pet is showing any of these symptoms call your vet TODAY! Symptoms may include discharge, abscesses, swelling, pain, and death.


Foxtail head

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, check them!!

  • Paws. Foxtails most commonly are in the feet and can easily become lodged between toes. Check for foxtails if you notice swelling or limping or if your dog is constantly licking the area.
  • Ears. If your pup is shaking his head, tilting it to the side, or scratching incessantly at an ear, this could be the sign of a foxtail — one that may be so deep inside the ear canal you can’t see it. Your veterinarian needs to take a look using a special scope.
  • Eyes. Redness, discharge, swelling, squinting, and pawing all may be signs your dog has a foxtail lodged in its eye. If you think this may be the case, seek veterinary care immediately!!
  • Nose. If you see discharge from the nose, or if your dog is sneezing frequently and intensely, there may be a foxtail lodged in a nasal passage.
  • Genitals. Foxtails can find their way into these areas, too. So if you notice your dog persistently licking at its genitals, foxtails could be the cause.


Dogs with long hair or curly hair typically are more at risk for Foxtails. Below are some tips to help prevent Foxtails from becoming a problem for your dog!

  • During Foxtail season (May through December) make sure you examine your pet’s coat after being outside, going on walks, and especially after wondering through open fields. Proper grooming like brushing your dog daily is a good way to search for the foxtails, look for the pointy end of it sticking out in the fur.
  • Examine your dog’s ears, paw pads (especially between the toes!) and mouth as well, as these are sites we overlook.
  • If you find a foxtail in your dogs fur you can easily get to, use tweezers to remove them. If the foxtail is buried deep in the skin, or if the area around the foxtail is red or swollen, call you vet right away!!
  • If you have foxtails in your yard, pull the weed out from the root. If your on walks and run into some, don’t let your dog walk in them!


Remember foxtails WILL NOT come out on their own, and will just continue to burrow into the skin!! The best way to keep your pet Foxtail free is to keep them out of the foxtail brush and to pull any that grows in your yard, and if you do find one embedded in your furry friend, call your vet immediately!!


So there you have it! Foxtail info to help prevent your pup from getting them!

Straight from The Dog’s Mouth,

Love, Sequoia

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