For Immediate Release:
May 31, 2016
David Perle 202-483-7382
As temperatures climb and families head outdoors with their canine companions, PETA warns guardians about a little-known deadly danger to dogs: foxtail grass.
Foxtails (Hordeum jubatum) are the barbed seed heads of a grass that grows primarily in the Western U.S. but has spread to most of the states. These innocuous-looking seeds can become embedded in dogs’ eyes, ears, mouths, noses, toes, genitals, and skin. They burrow relentlessly into the body and can even reach the spine and internal organs, including the brain and lungs. Once embedded, they can wreak havoc, causing anything from infections and seizures to blindness and death, depending on which part of the body is affected. Foxtail season is normally from about June to December, but with the dry weather, it’s getting longer and longer.
PETA has posted details about foxtail grasses on our blog, along with tips for avoiding this danger:
- Remove any foxtail grass growing in your yard.
- Keep dogs away from grassy meadows during hikes, especially dogs with long fur and long, floppy ears, and short stocky dogs whose heads are right at foxtail level.
- After walks, check dogs thoroughly for foxtails and remove any visible ones with tweezers.
- If your dog has a sneezing fit, press gently on one side of the nose. If another sneezing fit occurs, a foxtail could be lodged inside the nasal cavity.
- Get to the veterinarian immediately if your dog shows signs of having an embedded foxtail, such as sneezing, head-shaking, red or weepy eyes, inflamed skin, limping, or licking the affected area. This is an emergency.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.