Foxtails can't work their way out on their own, but they can burrow under the skin and into the vital organs such as the brain, eardrums, and lungs. Common symptoms of foxtail problems depend upon the location of foxtail, and might include:
- Ear canal: head shaking and tilting, scratching at ear
- Eye: redness, discharge, swelling, squinting, pawing at eye
- Nose: intense and frequent sneezing, discharge from nose
- Under the skin: draining tract
- Lung: labored breathing, coughing
- Toes: swelling, limping, constant licking
- Vagina or penis: persistent licking of genitals
Foxtail safety checklist
During foxtail season (May through December) after walks or other activities in areas that might contain foxtails, do the following:
1. Thoroughly inspect your dog for foxtails hitchhiking in its:
- Fur (brushing is often recommended)
- Mouth and gums
- Paw pads, especially between toes
2. Use tweezers to remove accessible foxtails.
3. Call your veterinarian immediately for assistance with removing a foxtail that is deeply embedded, or if the area around it is red or swollen.
The best remedy is prevention. During foxtail season, consider the following advice:
- Keep your dog out of overgrown grassy areas
- Remove grasses with foxtails from your yard
- Trim your dog's hair if it is prone to collecting foxtail burrs
Keep your pup safer by inspecting frequently and preventing foxtail contact as much as possible. And don't skip any veterinarian appointments! They can find foxtails in areas of your dog's ears you cannot examine. And if you need help making time to get your dog to the vet, contact a pet taxi service.