Running around paddocks can be great fun for your dog (or dogs), but during the summer months it can cause stress, pain and misery for your dog.
Grass seeds can lodge in the dog’s skin on all parts of the body, which causes painful problems such as abscesses and infections.
There are a number of common weeds that produce seeds that cause problems for dogs, including ‘barley grass’ and ‘corkscrew’, amongst others. Corkscrew grass is so named for its curly shapes, whilst barley grass seed is shaped like an arrow head. The shape of the grass seed allows them to penetrate the skin, then move underneath the skin. This means that the grass seeds can end up anywhere in the dog’s body.
Most commonly, the grass seeds will become infected and form an abscess under the skin, which may appear as a lump. Grass seeds commonly lodge in areas such as the feet, under the tail, between the toes, in the ears, eyes and genital areas. With dogs that have shaggy coats, grass seeds can lodge anywhere on the body.
When a grass seed is lodged beneath the dog’s skin it will most likely lick or bite the area where the grass seed entered and is lodged, and most often they break the skin leading to further infection.
Once your dog has a grass seed lodged under the skin it is important that you take it to your vet as it is crucial that the seed be removed.
Over the summer months, to prevent grass seeds becoming lodged in your dog’s skin, groom your dog at least every few days in order to remove any seeds that may be stuck in its coat. This is particularly important for long-coated breeds.
Check between your dog’s toes for grass seeds. A quick check at feeding time may prevent a painful abscess and subsequent vet visit and bill.
If your dog suffers frequently from grass seed problems it may be worth clipping all the fur off their feet during the summer months.
Another alternative is to buy seed-proof ‘booties’ for your dog to wear when out in the paddocks.
One way of combating the occurrence of grass seeds lodging in your dog’s skin is by reducing the number of grass seeds on your property. They can be mowed, slashed, grazed out or even poisoned prior to the grass going to seed. It is also worthwhile to keep your dog away from grassy areas during the seeding times.
Dealing with and preventing grass seeds from lodging in your dog’s coat and skin will reduce pain for your animal and the inconvenience (and cost) of frequent visits to the vet.