Monday, May 21, 2012

Foxtails are Dangerous to Dogs

Foxtails, and similar plants have no place in a community where dogs are present!

Having grown up on the east coast, I had never heard of the plants commonly referred to as foxtails.  When I first saw these beautiful plants in our new townhouse community, I thought they looked nice, although they do tend to get overgrown fairly quickly.

Nice Colored Plants, but Dangerous for Pets!

My Dog's Experience with Foxtails

Maybe these are not technically considered foxtail weeds that grow in the wild, but when my dog got one of the spikelets caught in her nose, she started sneezing uncontrollably for hours.  We didn't realize what it was at first, and thought it would clear up on it's own, but when she kept sneezing, we thought it best to take her to the vet.  It's a good thing we did, because we later found out how dangerous these barbs can be.  She had to have anesthesia in order to have it removed.  We were fortunate that it did not get any further into her body, but it was still a surgical procedure that cost over $100.  Sadly, it happened again, since the plants were right outside our front gate, and the pieces would blow onto our porch where she would sniff them.  Again we were fortunate that our vet was able to remove them before they could do any more serious damage.

We asked the HOA to remove the plants near our entrance.  They responded quickly, and it solved her problem, but there are still other plants in the area, so I am concerned for other dogs.  I also have to be careful walking near these plants wherever they are, not to mention the barbs that have blown from them.  Builders, land owners and landscapers really should be aware of the dangers of these plants, and stop using them.


Foxtail type plants getting dry and overgrown
Here are some articles with some excerpts that I found by doing a quick google search: "foxtails dogs"

Protecting Your Dog Against Foxtails

Foxtails can wind up virtually anywhere in the body, and associated symptoms vary based on location. For example, a foxtail within the ear canal causes head shaking, under the skin a draining tract, or within the lung, labored breathing and coughing. Not only is the dog’s body incapable of degrading or decomposing foxtails, these plant awns are barbed in such a way that they can only move in a "forward" direction.

Foxtail (diaspore) - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

They can become a health hazard for dogs and other domestic animals, and a nuisance for people.

Worst weeds for dogs? Foxtails are just a start

"They’re horrible! They’re a nightmare!" said Kay, who estimates that in summer, the emergency room of the animal hospital where she works in Northern California might see 60 to 90 cases a month involving foxtails.

Home Remedies for Dogs With Porcupine Quills and Foxtails

The best remedy for foxtails is to avoid them completely. If you notice them in your yard, remove them or use a weed killer. Be sure to inspect your dog's coat thoroughly after hiking, including between his toes. If you find even the smallest sliver, remove it as soon as possible to prevent it from moving deeper into his coat.

Foxtail Grass Dangerous to Dogs

If you have dogs, keep the foxtail out of your lawn!

The seeds found in the ears, eyes and nose are very serious and can become life threatening.

Foxtails - A Deadly Summertime Danger

They can easily become lodged between a dogs toes, in its ears, and in its eyes. Since the seeds are barbed like a fish hook, they can be very difficult to remove. Once embedded, foxtail seeds cause severe infections and abcesses.


It seems that all these articles share the same opinion of how horrible these plants are.  I have to agree.  I was once a fan of their beauty for landscaping, but not anymore.  It's just not worth the pain.

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