VET’S VIEW: Watch out for grass seeds

WE ARE so spoiled for beautiful local places to take our dogs.

Warmer, dry weather means more time spent outdoors, but please be aware of one particular environmental hazard.

I’m talking about the dreaded grass seed and whether you’re doing everything possible to protect your dog from these tiny, painful and often quite expensive foreign objects.

Grass seeds – shaped like small, pointy, arrow-heads – frequently get lodged in dogs’ ears, eyelids, and between toes.

Floppy-eared breeds with extra-furry feet, such as spaniels and cockerpoos, are most at risk.

Grass seeds in ears can cause head-shaking, tilting head, pawing and rubbing the affected ear on the ground, with the seed most likely be lodged deep inside the canal, so impossible to observe with the naked eye.

Grass seeds lodged in skin between your dog’s toes are usually accompanied by a very painful red blister, which your dog is likely to have been licking.

Sometimes, you’ll spot the tip of the grass seed poking out of a small hole. If left, the grass seed may travel further up into the foot, making your dog’s whole paw painful and swollen.

To diagnose grass seeds in ears, we use an instrument called an otoscope. Dogs may require sedation to allow removal of the grass seeds using special forceps.

Grass seeds in paws can be incredibly challenging to find as they often hide within swollen tissue and don’t show up on x-ray, meaning heavy sedation is often required before exploring, as it is so painful.

Owners of long-haired breeds, take care in long-grassed areas. Clip away fur on paws, toes and around ears, and even consider putting booties on your dog!

When returning home from a walk, always check your dog’s feet for grass seeds, as well as eyelids and lip folds.

For advice, or if you’re worried your dog’s got a grass seed, call Grove Lodge Vets on 01903 234866.