If you have a dog who wanders around outside often, you might not think of grass as a danger. Grass awns go by many nicknames such as foxtails, June grass, and mean seeds. They all refer to the same bristle-like objects that come from grasses such as rye and barley. These bristles are meant to stick to passing animals and spread seed to surrounding areas.
The awns don’t just stay in your dog’s fur until they are eventually rubbed out by the dog. They stick into the skin and can irritate it. Puncture wounds from awns can be severe enough to cause infection. They can also continue traveling through your dog causing damage to internal tissues and organs.
Symptoms of an infection from grass awn include skin inflammation, redness, and pus-filled sores. Other symptoms include excessive licking and scratching of the area, decreased appetite, and depression.
If you see an awn in your dog’s coat, remove it as quickly as possible by either brushing it out or pulling it out by hand. If you see an awn inside your dog’s nose, get your pet to a vet rather than trying to remove it yourself. It’s easy to break off an awn, leading to an incomplete removal. The part that’s left behind can travel through your dog’s body and cause damage.
The best way to prevent awns is to be look over your dogs carefully whenever they come in from being outside. Removing awns before they become stuck is the best way to prevent potential problems.