Long grass in Tynedale
How To Tackle Grass Seeds?
Hexham, Stocksfield and Bellingham are blessed with beautiful countryside and lovely countryside walks. With these havens of course comes a few dangers and one that is often overlooked is grass seeds. Although they deceivingly look small and harmless; if they get into the wrong place, they can be troublesome. After your dog plays in the grass, it’s a good habit to check them for grass seeds once they return from their walk. This can limit the chance of the grass seeds getting stuck and causing problems.
Grass seeds are small but sharp and can penetrate the skin. The top places you may find them are between their toes, armpits, in their ears, and near their eyes. Once they penetrate the skin they can move around the body and cause infections, abscesses, and great discomfort. Some grass seeds that enter between the toes can migrate right up to the pet’s elbow!
If you find one stuck or a wound/swelling that looks like it could contain one, we would advise you to seek veterinary treatment.
Here Are Our Top Signs To Look Out For If A Grass Seed Is Affecting Your Dog:
Lameness and/or limping – If you spot this, the grass seed may be lodged in your dog’s paw or leg and it may be very painful to place on the ground.
Shaking its head – The seeds can enter the ear and make their way into the ear canal. You may also notice your pet pawing at their ears as it can be very irritating for them.
Licking its paws – If a grass seed is lodged between your pet’s paw pads this can cause an abscess, you may spot your excessively licking or biting their paw.
Sneezing – Sneezing may be caused by a grass seed getting stuck in your pet’s nose. Your pet will be sneezing in an attempt to remove it. You may also notice them pawing at their nose.
Coughing or swelling of the neck and mouth – Some dogs will remove grass seeds from their coat while grooming, these seeds can become lodged in the pet’s mouth or neck and cause irritation.
Sore eyes – In some cases, grass seeds can lodge themselves into the corner of a dog’s eyes making it very uncomfortable for the pet. In this case, the eye may start to water, the pet might hold the eye close and paw at it.
Painful swelling or swelling that appears to have a small hole in the middle – these are normally found in between the toes and are a big indicator that a grass seed may have gone into your pet’s foot.
Lastly, look out for signs of scratching excessively, lethargy, or if your pet is showing signs of discomfort/pain.
Although this can seem very daunting, don’t worry using our early intervention tips can prevent your dog from getting a grass seed causing them trouble!
Checking your dog after walks in grass (particularly in the summer months).
Trimming the hair between your dog’s toes and around their ear makes grass seeds more visible and less likely to be hidden in the fur.
Lastly, avoid areas with long grass (especially if your dog is prone to grass seed complications or long-haired e.g. a springer spaniel).
The removal of the grass seed is essential. Not only can it cause irritation and discomfort to your pet it can also migrate internally. If you notice any of the signs previously mentioned, and cannot remove the grass seed at home yourself, don’t fret – bring your pet to us!
Once at the practice, your veterinarian can remove the grass seed by entering the area the seed penetrated and flushing this out. In the case where the grass seed has entered the ear canal, your veterinarian can retrieve the grass using forceps and an otoscope to see down the ear. Sedation is occasionally needed for this procedure and your dog may require painkillers or antibiotics after. This would be decided by the vet depending on the individual circumstance.
We hope this blog helps through the remainder of the summer. If you’re still unsure whether your dog has a grass seed stuck in them or notice your pet acting differently, please feel free to contact the clinic.