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  • Writer's pictureNeesa Loughmiller

Keep your Goldendoodle safe from Foxtails

It's important to keep your Goldendoodle active and healthy. One great way to do this is to go on walks together. Not only do you both benefit from the activity, but it can also be a great bonding experience.

A man holds the leashes of three dogs, while a small poodle stands in front of them.
Mama dogs at Doodles4love getting ready for their daily walk

There are things you need to be mindful of every time you take your dog for a walk. Is it a safe temperature for their paws? Do you have their leash, doggie baggies for bathroom breaks, and water ( if it is a long walk)?

One danger that even careful owners can easily overlook is the tiny foxtail.

A hand holding three foxtail grass seeds
Three foxtails (so small!!)

Foxtail? What?

What's so dangerous about this grass seed? Don't be fooled. These rascals can be life-threatening to any dog. And here in Idaho, they are everywhere. Let's talk about why and then get into some preventative measures!

See that pointy end? And the other end of the seed where it flares out really wide? It's this design that makes them so menacing. When your dogs get one of these in their fur, that wedge design means that the only way that foxtail is moving is forward. And the foxtail doesn't stop when it gets to your dog's skin. The head of the foxtail can be quite sharp, and if left to its own devices, will dig into your dog's skin and become embedded!

Now, unlike a splinter, foxtails don't come out of your dog's skin on their own. Worst case scenario, they burrow into your dog's body, and if they meet up with a vein, can eventually make their way into the heart!

a man has a dog in his lap and is inspecting it's feet
Freckes the mini-goldendoodle enjoying the attention

Luckily, you can catch these nasty foxtails before they get that far. It's not comfortable for your dog to have something poking their skin and digging deeper, so you'll probably see that and catch the problem before it goes further. And, even luckier, it's simple to prevent this issue from ever occurring.

How to prevent foxtails from hurting your doodle

There are two things you can do to prevent foxtails from hurting your doodle.

  1. Yard Maintenance - keep all grass trimmed short enough it doesn't go to seed. Problem areas are around fence lines and areas that aren't used often.

  2. Inspection - check your dog for foxtails every time they come inside from a walk. Remove and throw away all foxtails found.

Common Problem Areas

  1. Paws - check in between toes and around nails.

  2. Ears - The outside and the ear canal! It's expensive and difficult to remove foxtails if they get deep enough in a dog's ear canal.

  3. Seat region - what touches the ground when a dog sits. This includes genital areas.

  4. Nose - remove from nostrils if noticed; foxtails can be inhaled!

As a dog owner, you are already aware that it is important to inspect your dog for things that shouldn't belong. And, you are already on the lookout for signs that your dog is uncomfortable or has an issue that needs to be addressed. For as dangerous as they can be, Foxtails can be easily prevented. With proper maintenance and removal, you and your dog will likely never have an issue with this destructive seed. When you see one of these seeds on your dog, you know to remove it quickly!

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