Dealing with Grass Seeds in Dogs
Spring, for much of Australia means it is grass seed season again. Grass can start producing seed heads. These nasty little awns can cause a lot of discomfort to our dogs.
The very pointed end of a grass seed head is shaped like an arrow, with a very sharp point and feathered sides. Once the pointy end sticks into your pet's skin, the little seed burrows in further, finding a spot to lodge or migrate under the skin.
Most common spots where grass seeds are found in our pets are; paws, ears, under eyelids, armpit or groin region. Basically, they can lodge anywhere.
They cause pain and swelling, and often infection wherever they are found. Your pet could be shaking their head, rubbing their eye/face, or licking/biting at their paws or even limping.
Your at home, daily grass seed strategy:
- Mow your lawn regularly.
- Avoid walks in the long grass – always try and stick to where it’s short.
- Regular grooming - for long haired dogs, try and keep fur short, especially around the face, paws and ears. Brush cats daily and remove any found seeds in the fur.
- Daily checks – after walks, spend 5 minutes checking your pooch thoroughly from nose to tail, and remove any grass seeds. Always be systematic, and check the legs, arm pits, body, around the tail, face, ears and paws especially between each of the toes.
- If in doubt, seek early veterinary intervention. If you spot your pet madly licking their paws or displaying any signs of discomfort you can consult vetchat via their online service. Vetchat can examine your pet via video and conclude quickly if the issue could be grass seed related, and what your next steps need to be.
In worse case scenarios, your pet has a grass seed infection, please visit your local vet ASAP for removal. Left in the eye or ear, grass seeds can cause damage locally, and abscesses can form under the skin causing pain and discomfort. It is much easier (and cheaper!) to treat earlier rather than later. Sometimes, if treated later down the track, an aesthetic or surgery is needed to find/remove a grass seed.
About the Author: Dr. Claire Jenkins, is a seasoned veterinarian, with over 13 years’ experience. It was clear that pet owners were often left guessing what was wrong with their pets and she thought that if we all had a vet on hand to help us at home, maybe we could all do more for our pets than ever before. Enter vetchat, an online service she co-founded that quickly connect vets and pet owners in real time via video and text chat.
Wherever you are, whenever you need it – vetchat is only a click away!