I seem to have read quite a lot recently about dogs and grass seeds; a fair amount of people have been mentioning this on social media groups too. For example if someone says their dog keeps shaking their head or limping, others suggest checking for grass seeds.
So what is this all about and what do grass seeds look like?
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really aware of the problems that can escalate when a dog has picked up a grass seed until fairly recently – the power of social media certainly does have it’s advantages – so does Google! After a walk through a field with long grass our dogs had quite a lot of ‘sticky buds’ on their ears which necessitated me checking them all over. Well I am glad that I did, Duke had no less than 30 grass seeds attached to different parts of his body.
The places I found them were in between his toes, behind his ears and underneath his arm pits. The grass seeds are quite sharp and actually quite big so you can feel them fairly easily. A couple had actually pierced his skin and needed careful extraction. I did take him to the vets afterwards to make sure I had managed to remove them all – thankfully I had.
Grass seeds are more of a problem during the summer months and not surprisingly can easily get attached to your dog while having a meander through the countryside. Dogs such as springer spaniels, cocker spaniels and cockerpoos are more prone to getting grass seeds stuck on them because they have feathery feet and floppy ears – and let’s be honest they are the type of dogs who will bound through a field of long grass, or wheat, barley or corn or whatever is growing!
They can cause serious problems when they pierce the skin because in rare cases they can travel through the body. They can also cause intense irritation in their paws, up their noses or in their ears.
Behaviour your dog may display could include:
Paws – limping, licking paws
Ears – violent and sudden shaking of the head or pawing at their ears
Nose – sudden violent sneezing
My advice would be to check your dog after every walk, particularly if you have walked through a field or if your dog has medium to long fur. You will feel the seeds because they are hard and sharp and then hopefully you can pull them out their fur without them causing any further problems.
If your dog does seem irritated and is constantly shaking their head for no obvious reason or their paws are red or sore, or you have any other concerns, please contact your vet.