A New Season Is Here

Are you ready for a new season? No, not the one that’s due to arrive in 59 days, but who’s counting? I’m talking about another season. Besides more sunlight, ahem…’warm’ days, bugs and barbecues, there’s a season within summer I liken to pure evil hell, otherwise known as the grass-weed season.

You may recall a previous rant post about Foxtails (found here). Mostly found in the western part of the US, these innocent enough looking weeds can be very risky for dogs.

GrassesThe barbs are uniquely designed to move in one direction–only forward. They burrow deeper and deeper into the fur. Noses, ears, between the toes, under the collar or armpits are the most frequently found spots. Removal from fur as soon as possible is important since they can be quite difficult to remove once they penetrate the skin. Once burrowed into the skin and if not treated, they can travel throughout the body. A dog sniffing the ground can easily inhale them into their noses, under an armpit, or get them caught in their ears and if not treated immediately, can result in serious problems resulting in an expensive visit to a vet.

The danger of foxtails goes beyond simple irritation. Because these tough seed barbs don’t break down inside the body, an embedded foxtail can lead to a serious infection. It can even lead to death if left untreated and these seeds can be hard to find in dog fur.

Foxtails move relentlessly forward and can migrate from inside your dog’s nose deep into their brain or be inhaled into and perforate a lung. Embedded foxtails can cause discharge, abscesses, swelling, pain, even death. If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, check for foxtails or talk to your vet. Make sure you check your good dog’s feet, ears, face, nose, genitals. Limping, excessive licking, head shaking, incessant scratching, redness, discharge, swelling, squinting or pawing are all symptoms your sweet dog may have picked up a foxtail. Foxtail season runs from May to December. Once foxtails dry out, they are like little sharp knives waiting to stick to someone or something.To remove, use a pair of tweezers if you can easily get to it. But if it’s deeply embedded, or if the area around it is red or swollen, call your vet right away. Remember, foxtails won’t come out on their own, and they can burrow deep within your dog.Prevention is your best weapon against this grass. Avoid overgrown grassy areas and remove these plants from your yard. Regular grooming/brushing can help.

Though not nearly as dangerous, are another seasonal weed-what I call Velcro grass. Not sure what the scientific name of this grass weed is, mostly I refer to it as evil bastard.


Notice all those nasty little seed heads? They stick like Gorilla® glue-to fur, socks, pant legs, whatever it can attach its little evil self to, and often spring up along sidewalks near the neighborhood ‘pee-mail bulletin board.’ When we came back from this morning’s constitution, I found one attached to Sam’s bandana. Elsa had a very small piece of one stuck to her check a couple of days ago. It was a real bugger getting rid of, you pretty much have to pull them out seed by seed since they tend to disintegrate when you try to remove them. Dogs aren’t  typically keen on having lots of pulling out of their fur. It took several attempts to fully remove it.


Paws crossed this ‘season within the season’ doesn’t affect you or your good dog.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

53 thoughts on “A New Season Is Here

  1. We try to keep a keen eye out for these evil things and keep the pugs away from them
    Mabel & Hilda

  2. OMGoodness! Those really ARE evil bastards! Yikes. We hope we never ever see one, let alone have contact with it. Be careful out there, friends!

    Love and licks,

    1. They really are, Cupcake. You don’t wanna mess with the likes of them. 😬

  3. We have two nasty weeds here in South Australia; Southern Threecornered Jack (Emex Australis) and Caltrop. The Jack is a South African plant that got here and is now found in South Australia and several other States. The other is a native plant – Caltrop – oddly enough similar to the Threecornered Jack and just as painful. Both plants, although different, have a similar seed, the jack has three spikes the caltrop has four spikes. These can cause pain and injury to dogs and humans walking barefoot through a field. The jack has spikes large enough to puncture bicycle types, so you can imagine what it can do to paws.

  4. Totally loathe those two troublemakers but there’s also that tiny green burr that attaches to fur by the dozens and can only be removed one by one by one. Oh well, better than jumping cholla!

    1. They definitely put a damper on walkies. We have goat-head stickers. Boy they hurt when you step on them!

    1. It’s probably too moist for them in Finland. You’re lucky. We’re always on the lookout.

    1. They end to be very prominent in hot, dry areas but there has been some eastern migration across the country.

    1. I’d walk through the neighborhood with a flamethrower if I could. I hate both these weeds so much.

        1. It’s a part of summer, and the danger never goes away. Even manicured landscapes will invariably have one or two of both these noxious weeds.

    1. In our neck of the woods, I hear about a case that required surgical intervention at least once every summer. Very scary!

    1. They are typically found in the Western US, though I’ve found some articles that suggest they are moving eastward.

  5. Don’t forget the pain in the rear sticky balls. They first appeared hear about 5 years ago, and are now everywhere. They have very weak, thin stems. And can climb a 6′ fence in 2-3 days, the whole plant is sticky, and produces hundreds of balls. My dogs would come in each time with 20-30 of them in their coats. Getting them out of the coat of a grumpy yorkie was a bear.

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