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How to protect your dog from dangerous foxtail

Pet owners, watch out for foxtail, which can cause infection when the plant's seeds burrow in eyes, ears, or paws.

If you’re taking your dog out to a park for summer walk, watch out for foxtail plants, which can be dangerous for pets.

Foxtail is a spiky grass that looks like wheat, but the seeds can burrow in crevices and cause infection. The seeds take hold in places like your pet’s eyes and ears and between their paws, according to staff at South Seattle Veterinary Hospital.

Owners should pay attention to if their pet is licking a particular area, such as their paws. The seeds can be difficult to detect, because they look like pinpricks under the skin.

If they aren’t treated, the seeds can cause abscesses and may require surgery to remove the seed.

Infections are very common this time of year, according to the veterinary hospital. In the past month, South Seattle Veterinary Hospital has seen about five cases that required surgery.

Foxtails tend to grow in heavily wooded, dry areas. To prevent the seeds from burrowing, veterinary staff recommended putting booties on your pet’s feet and keeping them away from tall grass and ungroomed fields.