How to Protect Your Dog from Foxtails in Los Angeles: A Guide for Pet Owners

Jul 25, 2023

Understanding the Foxtail Threat

The foxtail, a common weed found throughout Los Angeles, poses a significant threat to our furry friends. Despite its innocent appearance, this plant can cause serious health problems for dogs. The barbed seed heads of the foxtail plant can work their way into any part of your dog, from the nose to between the toes and inside the ears, eyes, and mouth. They can even simply burrow directly into a patch of skin.

Fox Tails Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

Identifying Foxtails

Before you can protect your dog from foxtails, it's important to know what they look like. Foxtails are grass-like weeds that have light, feathery tops where the seeds are. These tops, or awns, are what can become dangerous to your dog. They are barbed, razor-sharp needles, designed to burrow into the ground with the seed. However, they can also burrow into your dog's skin.

Foxtails: Why They're Dangerous for Dogs | Foxtail, Dogs, Foxtail grass

Preventing Foxtail Problems

Regular Grooming

One of the most effective ways to protect your dog from foxtails is through regular grooming. Check your dog's fur daily, especially if they have been outside in an area where foxtails grow. Pay special attention to your dog's paws, ears, and face, as these are the most common areas where foxtails can get lodged.

Trimming Your Yard

Another way to prevent foxtail problems is by maintaining your yard. Keep your grass mowed and remove any foxtails you see. If foxtails are a common problem in your area, consider replacing your lawn with foxtail-resistant plants.

Foxtail Seeds: The Dangers of Foxtail Grass for Dogs · The Wildest

Recognizing Foxtail Symptoms

If your dog has been exposed to foxtails, it's important to recognize the symptoms. These can include excessive licking or scratching, pawing at the ear, eye, or nose, sneezing, or even a visible foxtail stuck in the fur. If you notice any of these symptoms, it's important to seek veterinary help immediately. Foxtails can cause serious injury or even death if left untreated.

Removing Foxtails

If you find a foxtail on your dog's fur, you can try to remove it yourself with tweezers. However, if the foxtail is deeply embedded, or if it's in your dog's ear, nose, or eye, do not try to remove it yourself. Seek professional help. Remember, foxtails can burrow deeper into your dog's skin and cause serious injury.


Foxtails are a common problem in Los Angeles, but with regular grooming, yard maintenance, and vigilance, you can protect your dog from this dangerous weed. Remember, if you think your dog has been exposed to a foxtail, seek veterinary help immediately.

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