The real Dangers of Grass Seeds
Is Your dog in Danger?
As a responsible pet owner, we need to be vigilant and beware of the dangers of infections caused by grass seeds in our pets during late autumn and summer. As the grass dries out and dogs run or roll in the drying grass the seeds stick into their fur or paws and work their way into their ears or nostrils.
The wind may be enough to blow the seeds into your yard and may not be visible unless you are looking for them. The barb on the seed allows it to work its way deeper into the fur and will embed itself into the skin causing disastrous results if left unattended. I have learned from personal experience and cannot stress enough the dangers of infections that a simple grass seed can cause to your unsuspecting dog.
Seeds cause problems to both dogs and cats although cats continually groom their coat, which lessens the risk of infection to them.
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This will make living with your dog indoors much better reducing the risk of pet hairs on your furniture and clothes.
How to check for grass seeds
During summer keep small dogs fur trimmed or shaved
How to Check your dog for these seeds Everyone needs to check their dogs every week, especially when your dog has access to areas where they grow. Removal of them could prevent expensive and serious problems later.
Start at Lower Back
To do this you need to run your fingers very slowly from the tail and work your fingers up over your dog’s body feeling for any small abnormalities. Pay special attention to their ears, paws, eyes and mouth, virtually everywhere on their body. Also check his tail. Pets with the longer fur can make them even harder to find.
We have a blue Heeler and his fur is not long yet it is still very hard to detect these small grass seeds.
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He has two little Shih-Ztus like in the picture above that I am in the middle of trimming and they are still working although an earlier model.
Have you checked your dog
Grass seeds can be a Death Sentence
In a worse case scenario it could be a death sentence. Failure to find them could mean they work their way deep into their body tissues and get into their abdomen or even their lungs. Do not underestimate how dangerous an undetected seed can be to your dogs’ health.
The barbs on the seed make it harder to pull out when you do find them. It will often be easier if two people do it together, as when and if you do find a seed partially embedded into the dog he may not like the pain caused while extracting the seed. The dog may bite if it is in pain.
Use Tweezers to remove embedded grass seeds
We have found the best way to remove the seed is with tweezers. Once you find a seed, get a firm grip on it making sure you do not have any dog hairs caught in the tweezers then pull using a steady pressure.
Signs of grass seed infections
- Watery eyes
- Swelling or lumps
- Shaking of the head
- Holding head on side
How to help prevent these problems with your pet
- Keep your dog out of long grass
- Keep lawns cut to prevent seeding
- Check your dog daily if possible for signs of seeds
- Keep all long haired dogs clipped short in summer
- Continual licking of paw or other parts of body
Personal experience this week
We checked our dog and were amazed that in one night we found all these grass seeds in the above picture on and embedded in our dogs’ skin and fur. The one next to the match was virtually right inside and was hard to remove. We were just lucky to find it in time. Two more were partially embedded under the skin.
Past personal experience
My dog Titan had a large lump come up on his neck and I took him to the vet. Blood tests revealed that it was not cancerous. They decided to operate and after a long time they removed as much as possible but had to leave a small amount as it was right on his jugular vein. We were very lucky to save him. If we had checked him regularly for grass seeds, we may have saved him from this near death operation.
If you love your pet, please check your dog for these. By the way, it will take more than five minutes to do a thorough search too, which is time well spent if you love your dog.
It is terrific to have your own lovable dog as they make wonderful friends and pets. Although you need to keep in mind that a dog is not a toy. A dog owner needs to be a responsible pet owner and take care of their mate just the same as they would their own child. After all in many cases owners virtually treat their mate as one of the family.
Dogs cannot tell us if they have a pain, or are sick and suffering from something they have eaten or if they have been bitten. We as responsible pet owners need to look for the obvious symptoms. Signs of a dog limping, a wet nose, unusually quiet are all signs to be aware of.
So be responsible, if you don't have the time to look after a dog then rethink - and don't buy a dog on the spur of a whim decision.
Other Important things on caring for your dog
- Clipping the dogs toe nails
- Think before choosing your puppy or dog
- Illnesses that your dog may suffer from
- Pets do not always make good pets for Christmas and Birthday presents
Failure to check your dog daily and thoroughly could prove disastrous for your dog.
(This article and images copyrighted by the author Eileen)