This Summer, with the great rains we had this previous Winter, is blooming more than ever with dense amounts of weeds and foxtails. You can see foxtails on the pavement even when walking your dog in our neighborhood.
A foxtail is a generic term used to describe certain grasses that are found in California, especially our area here in Northern California. Their spiky barbs catch on the fur of our pets, attaching themselves not only to the outer skin but can easily burrow themselves into the skin and body which can cause much damage, even death.
If you have a grassy area in your yard or gardens, you may decide to block them off from your pets in order to inspect and mow the area down. If you do not have a dog gate, your neighbor may have one that you can borrow!
According to a 2015 article from "http://www.dogscatspets.org/", the symptoms to look for when looking for foxtail issues include: excessively in case of foxtails in nose, shaking head vigorously in case of foxtail in ear, lumps on the skin that are painful to touch, pawing at the eyes, visable abscesses, discharge from the point of entry on the skin and any bacterial infection.
Removing foxtails that you can see - the article states to pay attention to the paws and throat area of your pets. Here are the tips they state: "Where you find any foxtails, remove it immediately before it penetrates deep into the skin. You can use a pair of tweezers."
We highly recommend you take your pet to your Vet immediately if any symptoms arise after discovering a foxtail or taking your pet on a walk or hike and noticing any symptoms. It is important not to wait long for an appointment and you may choose to go to a 24 hour pet clinic instead.
We also highly recommend to educate your children, dog walkers and pet sitters on this important issue. We add the responsibility of checking dogs thoroughly after walks in our contracts to ensure that this important issue is handled in your absence.
Also, I did read on a site recently about a creative way to protect pets from foxtails by way of a new product. It’s called the "OutFox Field Guard", a “high-tech mesh” hood that fits around your dog’s head. Here is a link to their site. https://www.outfoxfordogs.com/
We hope this article helps you keep your pets safe this Summer without worry! Please let us know any other tips that has helped you with this issue!