Grass seeds can cause real problems for pet owners, particularly in the summer months. Grass seeds are found on the top of long grass stems, and can become caught in a dog's fur as they run through long grass. The sharp pointed ends of these seeds can then migrate through the fur, work their way through the skin and into the body.
Dogs with fluffy feet and ears are more prone than others to suffer problems from grass seeds.
Common signs your dog may have a grass seed stuck include:
- Limping or Licking at the affected paw
- Pain and swelling
- Redness and irritation
- Shaking head or scratching at ears.
You may also notice your dog is covered in seeds that have not yet had a chance to migrate. It’s always a good idea to brush your dog’s coat after walking through long grass, and to check inside ears and in between toes for any stray seeds.
If you are worried your dog may have a grass seed, it is important to take them to the vet. Often they will require surgery to find the seed and remove it from the body before it moves further up or causes an infection. If left, seeds can make their way from the initial point of entry into different areas of the body, including the chest and lungs. Seeds that have migrated up a limb can be quite difficult to find.
A common concern for cat owners whilst the grass is at its lushest during the summer months is their cats swallowing grass blades. Cats will chew on blades of grass and as they try to swallow, the grass blade becomes hooked and stuck on the top of their mouth by the soft palate. This can cause discomfort, difficulty breathing and become a source of infection.
Common signs your cat may have a grass blade stuck include:
- Frequent coughing, gagging or retching
- Pawing at the face and nose
- Bad breath
If your cat is showing any of these signs, it is important to take them to the vet. If your pet is struggling to breathe it is always an emergency, regardless of the cause. It can be difficult to see inside the back of a cat's mouth or throat whilst they are awake and so if a grass blade is suspected it may need to be removed under general anaesthetic.