Grass seeds (or grass awns) are a summer menace so protecting your pet from grass seeds is essential. Every year from June until late Autumn we treat a lot of dogs with problems related to grass seeds. These grass seeds are shaped like a barb with a sharp pointed end and can work their way through skin or into body openings. Between the toes is the most common site but they can enter the ear canal, be sniffed up the nose, get trapped in the eyes or be swallowed or inhaled. Unfortunately they often move and break up within the body making them very hard to find.
Wherever they end up they cause pain and inflammation. You might see your pet licking at its feet, suddenly starting to cough or sneeze, have a sore, mucky eye or have a painful swelling between the toes or under the skin. Generally the problems do not go away unless the grass seed is removed. This usually involves sedating or anaesthetising your pet and investigating surgically. Very often the grass seed is not found on the first attempt and further investigations may be required. Occasionally grass seeds work their way internally and cause serious life-threatening illnesses. Thankfully this is rare.
What you can do to protect your pet from grass seeds
You can help protect your pet from grass seeds by:
- avoiding running your dog through long grass
- discouraging your dog from chewing grass
- checking your dog’s feet after each walk – especially between the toes
- checking the fur around the opening of the ears
- consider clipping around feet, ears and belly on long-haired breeds
Download our grass seed leaflet for more information on protecting your pet from grass seeds