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Beware of the dangers of Infections caused by Grass Seeds in our Pets

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By Edited Mar 13, 2016 3 12

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.

Titan after his operation to remove lump

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

Grooming your dog

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.

Grass seeds found on and in our dogs skin

 

 Signs of grass seed infections

  • Watery eyes
  • Swelling or lumps
  • Shaking of the head
  • Holding head on side
  • Sneezing
  • Drooling

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

 

 

Embedded grass seed with only small bit showing outside skin

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.

Conclusion

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)

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Comments

Oct 6, 2011 10:46pm
Deborah-Diane
Wow! I had no idea that grass seed could pose a health hazard for dogs. When we "dog sit" for our daughter, her dog loves to roll in the grass. We'll have to check her over the next time we are taking care of her. Thanks for the tip!
Oct 6, 2011 10:54pm
eileen
Gosh Diane you were quick to reply I only just put this one up. Yes grass seeds can cause a lot of dangerous problems
Oct 8, 2011 11:45pm
oxfordian
Wow! I had no idea. Thanks!!
Oct 9, 2011 3:54am
eileen
thanks oxfordian, hope it prepares you for this if you have a dog or cat
Dec 20, 2011 1:09pm
cosmopinkice
Eileen, I had no idea grass seeds were harmful to pet! This is really an eyeopening article that any pet owner should read.
Dec 20, 2011 7:49pm
eileen
Thanks Cosmopinkice, yes thats why I decided to write this to try and make people aware of the dangers. They are life threatening thats for sure. We were lucky to save our dogs life
Dec 20, 2011 7:59pm
EGreen
So glad you were able to save your dog! Are the grasses you are talking about the same thing as foxtails?
Dec 21, 2011 5:14am
eileen
E Green, sorry, but to be honest I am not sure. These seeds have bits on side like little barbs that work their way into the fur and then the flesh. I dont know what a foxtail is like.
Feb 26, 2013 12:24pm
m_spicer
I pet sit a lot and this is good to know, thanks!
Feb 27, 2013 8:38pm
eileen
you are welcome hope it prevent this from happening to them. Plus vet care is not cheap either. And your beloved pet is worth that effort or at least I reckon.
Mar 26, 2013 4:50am
dkyng
Very informative and factual article. Shame you had to learn about this through experience i hope your pooch is fine and healthy nowadays!
Jun 5, 2014 3:14am
eileen
Thanks dkyng, yes our dog is okay, although it is an ongoing thing that everyone should check for, as it can happen even in winter not just a summer fault as seeds lay around on the ground until they re-shoot again.
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Bibliography

  1. Marc the Vet "Preparing your Dog for Summer: the ‘dreaded’ Grass Seed." Preparing your Dog for Summer: the ‘dreaded’ Grass Seed. 17/10/2014 <Web >

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