Let’s talk about Foxtails
They're the worst, right?

Blog Post


These terrible, no good, very bad plants can cause a heartache for you AND your dog.

Paisley the Lhasa Apso mix came to us as a stray. She was completely matted, covered in dreadlocks and smelled rotten. We sedated her to start her extreme makeover and found she was also covered in foxtails! They were between her toes, in her ears, and all over her torso. We found a few tracts (areas where a foxtail has started to embed into the skin) including one that had migrated a few inches up her leg…leaving a painful wound. Luckily, we were able to remove the pesky burrower and flush the area clean.

How can you prevent injuries like this?

  • First step is to avoid areas that are prone to foxtails. Overgrown, grassy areas (especially on hikes) during dry months are FULL of these pesky plants. Stick to more landscaped areas during spring and summer months.
  • Does your dog adore hikes? Try protective booties or face screens that can keep foxtails at bay.
  • After a walk or hike, check the areas most prone to collecting foxtails: ears, between toes or on paws, and private parts. It’s also possible for animals to inhale foxtails, so if you notice coughing, sneezing or gagging, you may want to head to the vet to get them checked out!
  • Find a foxtail….or several? You can remove them with tweezers if they have yet to embed themselves too deep in the skin.

Need help with minor medical issues? Visit sspca.org/wellness to schedule an appointment!


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