Grass Seeds: the cause of many dogs summertime blues
As pesky as biting bugs, even as life threatening as overheating, the insidious grass seed often gets underestimated for inflicting the summertime blues.
Despite looking harmless enough, on close inspection grass seeds are shaped like a dart, about one to two centimetres long, with one end that can penetrate your dog’s outer skin.
Potentially turning a summer’s walk into a veterinary emergency, these arrow-like seeds attach to hairy coats, paws and ears as your pooch brushes past.
Eager to bury themselves, grass seeds aim to burrow into the skin for a firm grip, and if not removed in time, they can migrate in the bloodstream, causing a very serious situation, even death.
Many popular breeds like Cockerpoos, Spaniels, Labradors, and Golden Retrievers with their natural hunting instincts coupled with their thick double coats make them easy targets.
Smooth coated dogs are equally as susceptible, but offer more visibility with less ‘coat’ when checking ears, eyes, and paws for these grassy arrows.
Breeds like Terriers, German Shepherds, Whippets with upright ears are a beacon with seeds precision landing, aiming to navigate down the ear canal.
Some dogs love chewing on moist fresh grass, but the risks outweigh any benefits. Not least in case of any lurking slugs, but if grass seeds are ingested or in-haled they can work their way into the chest and lungs.
As a very serious emergency surgery known as a ‘PyoThorax’, which is at least very invasive, at most life threatening.
Prevention is always better than cure! Close inspection and full body check post walk, regular grooming, trimming hairy paws and avoiding long grasses.
Watch out for any behaviours like over licking, limping, head shaking, sneezing, coughing, or rubbing the eyes.
It’s always worth a precautionary visit to the vet. Most seeds can be removed in time.