Grass seed in dog paw! Grass seeds can easily get stuck between a dog’s paws and cause a lot of damage. Owners should check for seeds and consult a vet if they can’t remove the seed.
A simple thing like a grass seed can cause a lot of problems for your dog. It is very common for grass seeds to get stuck between the pads of a dog’s feet. Sometimes they penetrate the dog’s skin and they can even travel to different parts of the body causing a lot of pain. It might even be fatal. There are a number of ways that you can prevent this from happening. Keeping your dog’s fur trimmed and checking for grass seeds lodged in paws on a regular basis is probably the most effective. Remove seeds as soon as possible and if you can’t remove them, it is a good idea to consult a vet.
How do grass seeds get in dogs’ paws?
While the pads of dogs’ paws are usually quite hard and seeds don’t usually get stuck, seeds can easily get stuck between dogs’ paws when they walk or run through a grassy area. Long haired dogs are more likely to have problems with grass seeds. Grass seeds can easily stick to a dog’s fur and move as the dog moves, so it doesn’t just happen when the dog steps on the seed.
How big is a grass seed?
Grass seeds vary in size and can be anywhere up to 2 cm in length and some seeds have a pointy end called an awn. It is the awn that is the most dangerous as it makes it easy for the seed to penetrate the skin. Once it is in the skin, it can be quite hard to remove the seed because of the shape that prevents them from falling out once they are attached. For more about grass seeds and awns, see this article1.
How do I know if my dog has a grass seed in his paw?
If you are not in the habit of checking your dog’s paws for seeds, the first sign of a problem might be that your dog is continuing to lick or chew at its paw. The pain might also cause your dog to limp. When you inspect your dog’s paws, you might be able to see the grass seed or you might only see the hole where it has penetrated the skin. Sometimes the only thing you see might be a red lump.
When my cocker spaniel started limping a lot and licking her paw, I inspected it and found it was swollen and seemed infected as a bit of blood and pus came out with a gentle squeeze.
I took her to the vet and they found a common grass seed had worked its way in. It required surgery as it was 2cm deep into her paw. Because of the way the grass seed grows it can only ever go deeper and won’t naturally come out. If left inside it can eventually work it’s way into the arteries and potentially kill the dog.
The surgery to remove it, as well as ear treatment at the same time was $1300. Three weeks later it was found the first vets had missed an additional seed in her ear canal which cost an additional $1000 over several appointments to remove.
Vet’s orders were to keep her coat very short, especially during the warmer months, avoid going into long grass, and to regularly inspect her paws.
What is the danger of grass seeds getting in dogs’ paws?
It can cause severe pain for your dog if there is a grass seed in its paw. If the offending seed breaks the skin, it can get infected. The biggest problem with grass seeds is that once they penetrate the skin they can travel to other parts of the body and cause pain in your dog’s joints, ligaments, or tendons. Not only that, once they are under the skin, grass seeds could travel to the chest and damage the lungs. In extreme cases, it can be fatal.
Is it common for grass seeds to get in dogs paws?
Grass is everywhere and while most people keep their lawns short and don’t let them go to seed, there are many gardens with large decorative grasses with seeds that can be quite dangerous to dogs. One of the worst types of grass seeds for dogs is the foxtail grass which is a common decorative grass in gardens. For more information about decorative grasses and the danger they pose to dogs, see Foxtail Plants: How to Find Them on Dogs and Why They’re So Dangerous2.
Is there a time of year when grass seeds are more common?
Summer is really grass seed season. You may have noticed that your lawn may grow very quickly and go to seed soon after rain. Most lawn seeds don’t pose a danger to dogs. However, there are many ornamental grasses that produce seeds at other times of the year, so you’ll need to take care all year round and inspect your dog’s paws regularly.
How do you get a grass seed out of a dog’s paw?
If the grass seed is visible, you may be able to pull it out yourself with a pair of tweezers or your finger and thumb if the seed is large enough. If you can’t see the seed, then you will need to take your dog to the vet, to prevent further grass seed problems. Read this article about how to protect and treat your dogs in case of grass seeds3.
Is a grass seed in a dog’s paw an emergency?
If the seed is visible, then it can be removed easily and it won’t be an emergency. However, you should also check for more seeds in different parts of your dog’s body, if you find one in their paw. For example, seeds can enter your dog’s ears, mouth, or nose, and cause serious problems for your dog. If you can see the hole where the seed has penetrated the skin, this is more of a problem, but not necessarily an emergency. However, it can easily become a serious problem if you don’t have the seed removed, so you will need to consult a vet as soon as you notice a seed has penetrated the skin. If the area is swollen and red or if there is a discharge, then you should take your dog to the vet immediately.
Grass seed in dog paw removal cost
The cost of removal of grass seeds from your dog’s paw will depend on the problem. If it is not very deep it shouldn’t cost too much. If there is an infection that also needs to be treated this will increase the cost as your dog will probably require antibiotics as well as pain relief. If it turns out that the seed has moved it will cost much more as the vet will first need to find where the seed has travelled to. If surgery is required, then your dog will probably need some kind of anaesthetic. For more information about the cost of surgery for dogs see How much does pet surgery cost?4. It is worth thinking about pet insurance since surgery is covered by insurance in many cases.
You can read more about the Cost of Owning a Dog HERE.
How can you prevent grass seeds from getting in dogs’ paws?
Prevention is definitely much better than cure in the case of grass seeds and grass seed wounds. There are a number of things that you can do to prevent your dog from picking up grass seeds. If you have a lawn, make sure you keep the grass short and don’t let it go to seed. If you have ornamental grasses, make sure they are in areas where your dog doesn’t go. When you are outside, don’t let your dog run around in long grass if it is possible. After a walk, it is essential to check your dog for grass seeds every time. Make it a part of your walk routine.
If your dog has long fur, keep your dog’s coat short and you should keep the fur on your dog’s paws trimmed, especially in the summer. You can get the fur between the pads on its paws trimmed when you take your dog for grooming, but it is possible to do it yourself. See this article5 to learn more about how to trim the fur in your dog’s paw pads.
If your dog likes running in long grass, you could think about buying boots. Most dogs can get used to boots without too much trouble, but don’t expect to put boots on your dog for the first time and then immediately go for a walk. Instead, give your dog time to get used to them by putting them on for a few minutes at a time. For more information about dog boots, read 8 Best Dog Shoes Australia (2023 Buyers Guide) – gentledogtrainers.com.au6
Grass seeds can cause dogs a lot of pain when they get trapped in the fur on a dog’s paws. If you find a grass seed present in your dog’s paw, it can move to other parts of the body. This can be very serious and could even kill your dog. It’s important to check for grass seeds regularly and to take your dog to the vet if you can’t remove them. If possible, try to prevent your dog from running through grassy areas, keep the fur on their paws trimmed, and think about putting boots on your dog. Hopefully, this will mean that you never have to worry about a grass seed wound.
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1. ‘Grass Spikes and Grass Awns… Your Dog’s Summer Nightmare’. Magda Tobiaszevska Vandepitte. 20 June, 2020. Accessed online at https://www.maddiesdogacademy.com/post/grass-spikes-and-grass-awns-your-dogs-summer-nightmare on 4 Mar, 2023.
2. ‘Foxtail Plants: How to Find Them on Dogs and Why They’re So Dangerous’. Christina Fernandez. 30 June, 2020. Accessed online at https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/how-protect-your-dog-foxtails on 4 Mar, 2023.
3. ‘Grass Seeds in Dogs: How to Protect and Treatment Options’. Todd R. 5 May, 2022. Accessed online at https://dogendorsed.com/grass-seeds-in-dogs/ on 4 Mar, 2023.
4. ‘How Much Does Pet Surgery Cost?’. Gary Hunter and Francesca Guerrera. 3 Aug, 2021. Accessed online at https://www.finder.com.au/pet-surgery-cost on 4 Mar, 2023.
5. ‘How to Trim a Dog’s Paw Pads’. Accessed online at https://wagwalking.com/grooming/trim-a-dogs-paw-pads on 4 Mar, 2023.
6. ‘The Best Dog Shoes Available in Australia’. Accessed online at https://gentledogtrainers.com.au/best-dog-shoes-australia/ on 4 Mar, 2023.