Salt Lake City / Taylorsville Utah's
Redwood Veterinary Hospital
Foxtail Grass

Foxtails - Serious Issues for Salt Lake City area Dogs

Summertime Hazards for Salt Lake Dogs

A foxtail is a grass containing flowering spikes that can lodge under your pet's skin causing pain and infections if left untreated.

The flowering spikes can be dangerous for dogs. The spikes can enter about any part of your dog or cat and cause extreme discomfort. The barb on the plant hooks under the dogs skin and once in the skin can only move forward, not back out. The spikes are most commonly found in your dog's toes, ears, and under their eyelids. Foxtails are everywhere especially from June to October. Removal of foxtails is a common procedure for Salt Lake City veterinarians.

Tips to Prevent Foxtails

After a Walk - Check the Toes

After a walk, check between your dog's toes for foxtails. Make sure you carefully check between all toes.

Summertime Haircuts

Keep your dog's hair short in the summertime. This helps keep the dog cool as well as allows you to easily inspect for foxtails.

Dog Boots

Buy boots for your dog. Yep, you can buy boots for your dogs and it can help protect the dog from foxtails. The trick is getting the dog to keep the on!

Warning Signs Your Dog May Have Foxtails

Shaking Head

If your dog is frequently shaking his head, he could have a foxtail lodged in their ear. Frequent scratching of the head is also an indicator. Foxtails can lodge deep in the ear canal - your veterinarian can check for this with a special scope.


Watch for your dog to squint or having behaviors that indicate an irritation in the eye. This can be a foxtail lodged under their eyelids.


Check your dogs toes if they are frequently licking or chewing on their toes or legs. Watch for limping or any sign of pain in a foot.


Foxtails can lodge inside the nose. If your dog frequently sneezes or if there is a discharge coming from the nose, this can also be a sign of a foxtail.

What To Do If Your Dog has a Foxtail

If you cannot remove the foxtail with tweezers, you will need to contact your veterinarian.

If you cannot remove the foxtail with tweezers, you will need to contact your veterinarian. Once the foxtails are stuck under the skin, they create an abscess with a draining tract (hole) where the foxtail entered. If it has reached this stage, sedation and removal with special tools becomes necessary. Your dog will then need antibiotics and pain medicine to help them recover.

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Taylorsville Animal Hospital since 1982
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