It’s that time of the year (which we love more than any other) where we can once again enjoy walking our dogs in the fields and meadows. We also all know to use some kind of protection, preferably natural, on our dogs for ticks and fleas as well as other little pests. But what about those sneaky grass seeds?
There’s sadly not much we can do beforehand as they are pretty much everywhere at this time of the year. The problem is that they are tiny and they have the potential to cause your dog serious pain. The seeds have pointy ends and are very sharp allowing them to easily get trapped in your dog’s coat. You might be thinking… well, that’s not so bad, however, they can burrow down through the hair and pierce the skin. The worse scenario is, albeit in rare cases, is that the grass seed can burrow under the skin and travel to other areas of the body.
So, if your question is can grass seeds hurt my dog? The answer is yes!
As I mentioned above, grass seeds can easily penetrate your dog’s (or cat’s) outer skin in many areas and if we leave it untreated this can be incredibly painful.
How do you know if your dog has grass seeds?
Two of the most common places on the dog’s body where grass seeds can cause problems are the feet and ears. Grass seeds can easily get stuck between the dog’s toes, which is called the interdigital space, “hold” onto the soft fur between the toes and then slowly make its way towards the skin where it can penetrate the skin with ease. Here it may slowly burrow itself deeper and deeper which can result in discomfort, extreme pain, infection and acute lameness. Your dog will vigorously lick its paws and toes because he’ll be very uncomfortable and/or even lethargic. This is when it’s time to visit your vet! Because sometimes the grass seed may travel under the skin where you won’t be able to see it.
When it comes to the ear the story is similar to the one above. The grass seeds shape allows it to work its way from the fur on the ears, down along the ear canal and can go so deep that it can damage the delicate eardrum. If the grass seed enters your dog’s ear he will shake his head vigorously and he will look very uncomfortable. If you notice this sign take your dog to see your vet straight away.
How to remove grass seeds.
After walks, I use a slicker brush with longer bristles for removing any grass and twigs from my dog’s coat. Especially the Scotties who are like magnets for them! How do I do this you ask?
If a grass seed is close to the surface of the skin or has just started to penetrate it you can use a tweezer. At this stage the grass seed is easily accessible. Once you’ve pulled the seed out you should disinfect the area. Perhaps give our Soothing Antiseptic Spray a try 😉? On the other hand, if a grass seed is lodged too deeply or there’s pus or blood coming out of the wound, do not hesitate and take your dog to the vet!
Always remember to check your dog’s feet, coat and ears after a walk in the fields, forest and meadows. It’s not just pesky ticks and fleas that you find out there!