It's foxtail season! Make sure you protect your pup!

5/3/20242 min read

It's foxtail season and we are definitely seeing it at Besties! Many dogs coming in have foxtails embedded in their coats. Mostly in the paws, but also in the rear, underside and ears. We always remind our dog owners how important it is to pay attention to foxtails around their dogs.

Why, you ask? Because foxtails are very problematic for dogs. The very structure of foxtails encourages them to work their way into a dog's coat and move towards their skin. The backward-facing quills in a foxtail cause it to easily move forward, but not backwards. The tip of a foxtail is quite pointy and can penetrate your pup's skin. Once in a thick coat, a foxtail will naturally work its way towards the skin. And yes, it can penetrate the skin. Especially between the toes. They can also be sniffed into the nose, inhaled into the throat or enter the ear canal.

Once in your dog, foxtails become very problematic. Dogs can't absorb foxtails, so they will cause severe issues once they are inside your pup. Once in, they are extremely difficult to remove. This is, again, because of the backward-pointing quills. If you see a foxtail embedded in the skin between your pup's toes, and pull it, most likely it will simply break and leave part inside the skin. They are also very difficult to remove from the nose, ears, and throat. If one actually gets in your pup, you can be pretty sure you're heading to the vet and an expensive bill!

I promise I'm not trying to scare you, just make you aware. Foxtails aren't a reason to avoid the outdoors with your pup. Just be aware of the surroundings. If there is an area with a lot of foxtails, maybe try to avoid it. I know, they're everywhere in San Diego! If you notice your dog has been exposed to foxtails during an outing, give their coat a good check for foxtails. Feel between their toes, around the belly, and around the ears. Make sure you completely remove any of the foxtails you find on your pup. If your pup is regularly around foxtails, then keep a look out for problematic behaviors. If your pup has a sore paw, then check for swelling between the toes that might indicate a foxtail is embedded. If your pup has excessive and continual sneezing, then there is a chance they sniffed a foxtail up their nose. In general, if your pup is regularly exposed to foxtails, you should consider the possibility a foxtail is involved when any problem occurs with their paws, nose, ears, throat or underside.

At Besties, we groom dogs. We know quite a bit about them, but we definitely aren't vets! If your pup is regularly exposed to foxtails, and you would like to better understand the danger, prevention and treatment of foxtails in relation to dogs, then the links below provide good information from very reputable dog sources.