Foxtail Grass: Awns of Destruction for Western Dogs
The bristling plumes in front of Cole are immature, green, soft foxtails - the reproductive structures of a grass that is commonly referred to by the same name. When the grass dries, these plumes dry up and become nearly adhesive, thanks to microscopic barbs on each one of those thread-like awns.

Foxtail Grass: Awns of Destruction for Western Dogs

Foxtail awns present the most insidious threat to the health of dogs in the Western United States. Here is how to identify foxtails, get them off your property, and protect your dog.

The seeds of the nasty foxtail grass seem to have a special affinity for invading dogs’ bodies. The three most common hazards of foxtails to dogs are these: They get sniffed into dog noses, work their way into dog ears, and lodge between dog toes. Each of these sites is a mere port of entry for these sturdy seeds; once inside, they start a relentless crawl forward, traveling deeper into a dog’s tissue with every passing hour. They are sometimes found in exploratory surgeries years afterward; the durable seed and awn fibers resist breaking down in the body as if they were made of plastic.

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