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What are the dangers of grass seeds for dogs?

Did you know that from June onwards is Grass Seed Season? Grass seed may seem harmless to look at, but it can be particularly troublesome for your pet. Grass seeds can latch onto your dog’s fur and cause infections if they are left untreated. That’s why it’s always important to thoroughly check your pup after they have been running in grassy areas.

In this article, we discuss what grass seeds are, where they can harm your dog, and how to prevent it to save trips to the vet.

grass seeds
Grass Seed via Pixabay

What are grass seeds?

Firstly, you may be wondering what grass seeds are and what they look like if you haven’t come across them before. While Grass seeds are tiny (1-2cm in length) they can do more damage than you’d think.

These seeds can be found in wild grasses and are often dart shaped with long spikes. The pointy ends can very easily penetrate your dog’s skin and push in further over time. This is when grass seeds become harder to detect and can cause further irritation for your beloved pooch.

What are the signs that my dog has been affected by grass seeds?

Grass seeds tend to get stuck where your dog has the most fur, such as their paws, ears, tail, or armpits. This is why long-haired dog breeds such as Cockapoos, Cocker Spaniels, and Springer Spaniels are more likely to be affected. If your dog has been affected by grass seed, it will be very painful for them. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Limping around

  • Licking and chewing on their paw constantly

  • Shaking their head

  • Painful looking swelling between their toes

  • Rubbing their ears against surfaces

  • Excessive sneezing

  • Redness, swelling, or discharge in their eyes

  • Chewing on the sore affected area on their skin

As you can see, there are a variety of symptoms, with some being more obvious than others. If you cannot see any grass seed on your dog, but are unsure if your dog has been affected, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Book an appointment with your vet and they will be able to check your furry friend more thoroughly.

grass seeds
Ryan Stone via Unsplash

What treatment does my dog need for grass seed infection?

If you see grass seeds on your dog and they haven't penetrated the skin, you can safely remove them at home. This can be achieved with a long pair of tweezers called crocodile forceps. However, it is usually best to leave it to the experts.

If you have noticed that the grass seeds have burrowed into your dog’s skin or it has gotten into their eyes or ears, contact your vet for an appointment to have the grass seeds safely removed. The treatment your furry pal needs will depend on where the grass seeds are on your dog and how difficult the removal will be.

  • Ears: the grass seeds will generally be relatively easy to remove using the crocodile forceps.

  • Eyes: the grass seeds sometimes can be removed gently with forceps while your dog is under local anaesthetic or sedation. However, if the grass seed injury is more serious, the removal may involve general anaesthetic, or more extensive surgery for corneal ulcers.

  • Nose: the grass seeds scan be removed with crocodile forceps if they are easily reachable. If they are deep into the nostril, a special camera (rhinoscopy) or flexible camera (bronchoscopy) might be needed to locate them.

  • Mouth and Neck: surgery will be needed to remove the grass seeds.

  • Lungs: the grass seeds will be more complicated to extract and will need specialist treatment involving a CT scan and removal using a flexible bronchoscope.

  • Feet: the grass seeds will need to be removed through lancing of the abscess and looking at the cavity between your dog’s toes. It can be tricky to see, and several holes may need to be made to find the grass seeds.

grass seeds
Nick Mundackal via Unsplash

How much does treating grass seed infection cost?

How much grass seed treatment costs will depend on where it has settled on your dog’s body. It is usually not expensive to treat grass seeds that have got stuck in the skin, under the eyelid, or within the ear. However, if a CT scan or surgery is needed for the extraction then the cost will be higher.

It’s important to discuss with your vet about finances, the cost of treatment, and what is best for your dog. There can be more than one treatment option so your vet will be able to find the best suited for you. We recommend getting insurance for your dog early on before any illnesses arise. This will provide you with the necessary support to take care of them effectively.

How can I prevent my dog from being affected by the dangers of grass seed?

There are a few ways you can reduce the risk of your four-legged friend being affected by grass seed this summer.

When out on walks, avoid areas with long grass and opt for the small grassy areas instead, as this reduces thechances of grass seeds being present. Always remember to give your furry friend a thorough fur and body check for grass seeds after you have taken them outside too.

Regularly grooming your dog helps prevent harm from grass seeds by catching them early. Furthermore, if your dog has short fur in the summer, it reduces the likelihood of grass seeds attaching to them. 

Check out the grooming products we have available at WOOOF below.

Grass seeds advice from WOOOF

Catching grass seeds earlier causes less damage to your beloved pet. If you think your dog is affected by grass seeds, contact your vet promptly to seek the best extraction method to ensure your fur baby's safety.

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