Summer may mean more outdoor play for you and your dog, but it is also a time to be aware of environmental risks. Find out more about grass seed injuries in our need-to-know guide.
Grass seeds are something dogs frequently get lodged in their ear canals or between the toes. Long-eared breeds like Cocker and Springer Spaniels are most susceptible.
Dogs with grass seeds in their ears will suddenly start shaking and pawing at their heads and the affected ear, often during or soon after a walk. They will often hold their heads to the side in an attempt to release the seed. You won't be able to spot the seed, as it will be lodged inside the ear canal.
If your dog has grass seeds lodged in the skin between the toes, however, you may see a red raised boil that the dog has been licking for a day or two. There's often also a small hole and sometimes the tip of the grass seed may be visible. The dog's paw may be swollen or sore if the grass seed has moved into the foot.
Grass seeds in your dog's ear will be diagnosed using an otoscope to look down the ear canal. Dogs often need to be sedated to allow the removal of the grass seeds using forceps. Grass seeds in the paw can be challenging to find as they can hide within the swollen tissue. Again, sedation is usually required to look for the seed via the entry hole in the paw.
Owners of hairy breeds should avoid long-grassed areas. It's also advisable to ensure that the fur on the paws, toes and around the ears of susceptible breeds (see below) is kept trimmed short during the summer months.
Some owners might choose to put dog booties on their pet.
When returning home from a walk, it's a good idea to check your dog for grass seed as they can become stuck in a number of places as well as the paw and ear - check also their eyelids and lip folds.
BREEDS MOST AFFECTED
All breeds can be affected but Petplan has noticed that the Cockapoo, Cocker and Springer Spaniels are the most commonly affected breeds due to their pendulous ear conformation.
Has your dog ever been affected? Let us know in the comments below.