top of page

The Importance of Checking your dog for Grass Seeds

Updated: Nov 2, 2023


The Peril of the Pesky Grass Seed for Dogs


As responsible and caring owners we cherish every moment spent out, having fun with our canine companions. Watching them sniff, explore and roll in the grass is a heart warming and enjoyable experience and we wouldn't change it for anything. However, amidst all the fun is a hidden danger that all owners should be aware of - grass seeds. These apparently harmless seeds are not simply an annoying thing to have to pull out of your dog's coat when we see them but can actually become a real danger to our dogs health if left unchecked. In this blog we look at why it’s so important to check all over, but especially paws, eyes and ears for seeds.



dog in long meadow grass


Many types of grass species have grass seeds with a structure that allows them to burrow into your dogs coat easily. They have a pointy barb on one end which allows the seed to move forwards into your dogs coat, but not backwards on its own, similar to a fish hook. Once they've attached themselves to your dogs coat they can keep moving inwards through the skin and start causing health problems.



The Potential Risks


Skin Irritation and Infection - As the grass seed penetrates the skin it can cause irritation and infection, leading to redness and swelling. In more serious cases they can cause small abscesses that require medical attention. This is often seen in their paws where a seed gets in between their toes which we don’t spot.


Ear Infections - All dogs but especially dogs with floppy ears can end up with these seeds becoming stuck inside the ear flap and if undetected can find their way into the ear canal. This can lead to discomfort and ear infections.


Eye Problems - Grass seeds can get lodged in the eyes, causing irritation and possibly serious eye infections.


Internal Damage through ingestion or inhaling - If your dog ingests the grass seed whilst grooming themselves or inhaling it, it can in serious cases pose a risk to internal organs and require surgery to remove it.


Burrowing through the skin - once attached to the coat the seed can end up burrowing through the skin and once there it can start to migrate around the body. At this point they can become very difficult to find as they don't show up on an x-ray.


dog with large floppy ears

Symptoms of Grass Seeds


  • Ears - Excessive scratching or head shaking could suggest a grass seed in their ear.

  • Eyes - A seed stuck behind their eyelid could lead to inflammation, a red coloring of the white of their eyes and weeping. Your dog may be rubbing their eye.

  • Nose - Excessive sneezing may be caused by an inhaled seed.

  • Paws - Excessive licking and nibbling of their paw could mean a grass seed stuck between their toes.

  • An internal grass seed - More difficult to diagnose but some symptoms could be non healing wounds, low energy or a high temperature.



Prevention


Post Walk Checks


After each walk it is essential to perform a thorough inspection of your dogs coat, paying special attention to the ears, eyes and paws.


  • Check Paw Pads - a very common place for embedded grass seeds


  • Run your hands through their coat feeling for any seeds, but also lumps or

matting as these often indicate the presence of a grass seed. Under the arms is a place seeds often become lodged.


  • Check eyes and ears for any seeds


It’s a good idea to turn these checks into a fun grooming or vet check training session. Teach your dog that eye, ear and paw checks are nothing to worry about but are rewarded instead.



Protective Measures


  • Trim your dog's fur regularly, especially those areas likely to get grass seed entanglement - paws and ears!


  • Consider protective gear - If you often walk in areas with abundant grass you could consider using protective boots to minimize the likelihood of a seed becoming embedded.


  • If you notice excessively licking, nibbling or head shaking check carefully for seeds.


dog having ears trimmed

When to contact your vet


If you think your dog has a grass seed stuck somewhere contact your vet. The sooner it is removed the fewer problems it’s likely to cause!


If your dog is calm and cooperative at the vets they may be able to remove the grass seed there and then. If not, it's likely some sedation will be necessary to remove the grass seed. Some further medication may be necessary if an infection has started.


If a grass seed is suspected but no seed found with probing then surgical exploration may be required to locate the seed.



dog rolling in grass

Remember that catching seeds early is important in preventing more serious problems which require vet intervention. So check your dog after every walk. Your dog's health and happiness are worth every effort, and a little post walk inspection can go a long way in ensuring they remain happy, healthy companions on your adventures together.



pup and puzzle logo




11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page