Grass Seeds

Grass seeds are the bane of every dog owners life! Despite their small size they can cause HUGE problems if they get inside the body. Mid to late summer and early autumn are the worst times of year for this when the grass is at its longest and the seeds ready. With barbed, pointy ends grass seeds are designed to spread themselves by any means. Unfortunately this also makes they really good at getting into our dogs.

Some of the main symptoms of a dog that has a grass seed stuck are;

Grass seed in a paw

  • Licking at toes/feet
  • Limp
  • Swollen

Grass seed under the skin

  • Constant licking of the area
  • Swollen or cyst like area
  • Small lump

Grass seed in the eye

  • Lots of discharge
  • Pawing at face
  • Head rubbing
  • Red eyes

Grass seed in the ear

  • Head shaking
  • Head tilting
  • Red/sore
  • Gunky/dirty
  • Loss of balance

Grass seed in the nose

  • Sneezing
  • Head rubbing
  • Pawing at face
  • Runny nose

General Symptom

  • Grumpy-ness

Grass seed cyst

Image shows a grass seed cyst

What to do if your dog is showing these symptoms - If the seed has not fully entered the skin or is easy to grab then you may still be at a point you can remove it yourself. There are also a variety of poultices and holistic/homeopathic remedies that can help to encourage the seed out but in all honesty once a seed is in the best and most effective treatment is a vet visit. A grass seed can travel a long way and a vet will be able to hopefully locate it and remove it from it's current position.

Many grass seed entries are fairly harmless and require a minor operation however in the worst cases they can be very serious. A grass seed in a nose can migrate to a lung and cause an infection and fluid build up (that causes a full weekend in the vets in a very serious condition from experience), a grass seed in an ear can at the very worst perforate the ear drum, or cause an infection that perforates it. A grass seed in a paw/under the skin can travel a very long way and potentially end up anywhere, so whilst these are an everyday occurrence during the summer months and most are very easily dealt with you do not want to be complacent once they have entered the body...much better safe than sorry.

With grass seeds prevention is the best cure...of course I do not necessarily mean boots, eye/nose covers etc...grass seeds in ears/noses/eyes etc are rare however a grass seed in paws is very common. We can try to avoid areas with long grass but this is not always possible and it doesn't take a whole field for 1 grass seed to get stuck...I had one with grass seed from a 2 second sniff of a verge walking down a lane.

It is good to get in the practice of checking your dog over after every walk...if you have a youngster it can help to get them used to it as a routine even if it's not grass seed season. A good protocol for seed checking;

  • Check between each toe (if they pull back on a particular toe/paw it is likely there is one hiding in there)
  • Don't forget the dew's amazing how many can hide up there
  • Check in between the pads on the bottom of the foot
  • Have a quick look in each ear, if theres one on the outer edge you can grab it before it gets in
  • Take a flea comb (or similar) and comb through the coat...a slicker brush can also work but does tend to miss quite a few
  • Run your hands over the dog and feel for any lumps/bumps

Top tip - Trimming the hair between the toes gives grass seeds less places to hide and get stuck in

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