Grass seeds are one of the most prevalent challenges that pets—particularly dogs—confront, even if one wouldn’t really think so. These seeds are well-known for their ability to easily penetrate the skin and the body and cause problems. When it comes to our pets, can dogs walk on grass seed without much trouble?
No, dogs cannot walk on grass seed because these seeds can cause inflammation, painful swelling, and even infection.
Grass seeds are designed in such a way that they are tough to expel once they enter the body. Their pointy heads and arrow-shaped fibers help them adhere to fur, and their awn makes traveling backward extremely difficult. They can get stuck in practically any part of a dog’s body—from the eyes and ears to the soles of their feet—and they can also migrate around.
Grass seeds may appear small and harmless, but if planted incorrectly, they can cause a lot of problems. If your dog is running in tall grass, keep an eye out for any grass seeds that may try to hitch a ride with them and remove them, especially any you may find between their toes, under their armpits, or near their eyes.
About grass seeds
Grass seeds are small, green seeds that are around 1-2 cm long and are shaped like darts, having one end that can penetrate your dog’s skin. The seed’s other end resembles a typical blade of grass, enhancing the seed’s surface area for improved transport by wind or animal. Because grass seeds can be harmful to dogs due to their ability to easily penetrate a dog’s skin in a variety of places, they can be excruciatingly uncomfortable if left untreated—and, in the worst cases, they may even cause internal damage that can be fatal.
Is grass seed dangerous for dogs?
The short answer is “yes”—these small seeds can be. Grass seeds appear harmless, yet they are quite hazardous and potentially even fatal. These seeds can easily become stuck on your pet’s skin and become embedded.
Grass seeds are a common issue, particularly during the summer. Connected to the tops of tall grass trunks, they can easily be brushed against and get onto your dog while out walking. They have the ability to inflict serious injury to your dog in spite of their small size, however. Because the seeds’ ends are pointy and sharp, they can easily become entangled in the dog’s fur and burrow down to pierce the skin.
Grass seeds can, unfortunately, penetrate the epidermis and go to other areas of the body in rare situations. It has even been reported that some seeds have ended up in the chests of dogs, though seeds often will become lodged in the eyes or ears more commonly. It gets quite difficult to locate them once they begin to migrate around the body.
How do you know if your dog got grass seeds on them during a walk?
After a walk, your dog will likely start shaking his head and licking his paws. Your dog may have grass seeds in his ear canal if he is pawing at his head and ears. In an attempt to shake them out, dogs will sometimes tilt their heads to one side as well.
Signs that signal the presence of grass seed on your dog
The signs your dog displays will depend upon the area of your dog’s body—such as feet, nose, ears, eyes, or skin—where the grass seed is located.
- Feet: Swelling, redness, and a leaking hole from being pierced by the seed are grass seed symptoms commonly found on the feet. The dog may limp or hold its leg up while it tries to lick or gnaw the injured region. Grass seeds can migrate from the feet to the chest or even the joints of the legs.
- Skin: By licking and chewing on a specific region, a dog may attempt to remove the grass seeds themselves. The awn may emerge from the swollen and reddened skin, which also may include pus or blood. The seed may then travel into the belly or chest—in this case, surgery may be required to remove it.
- Nose: If your dog gets grass seeds in their nose, a bloody discharge from their nostrils may follow. Other symptoms include frequent sneezing and rubbing of the nose or face, as well as breathing difficulties. A seed can cause damage to the airways and even cause death if it gets into their lungs.
- Ears: If seeds get into your dog’s ears, your dog will then begin scratching his ear, rubbing his head on the floor, shaking his head, and walking at a tilted angle. Touching of the ear may become unpleasant, causing the dog to turn to one side if anything contacts the sensitive areas. Infections may develop, the eardrum may rupture, and the dog may become permanently deaf or lose his balance as well.
- Eyes: The eye will appear swollen, inflamed, and red—as well as sometimes runny—if a grass seed manages to get into your dog’s eye. Ulcers may occur, and the dog may further irritate the region by rubbing on it. Long-term difficulties can lead to blindness, and the eye may need to be removed depending upon the severity of the damage.
How can a dog be protected from grass seeds?
To avoid grass seeds sticking on them and getting to their skin, keep the hair around your dog’s ears and claws short. After a walk, examine your dog and remove any seeds to limit the danger and possibility of penetration into their skin.
What dog breeds are the most vulnerable to having problems with grass seeds?
Grass seeds can affect any dog, but they can be especially problematic in long-haired breeds like Springer Spaniels, which have feathery toes and are a breed that enjoys jumping over tall grasses. After any outdoor exercise, owners should examine their dog’s long hair—paying special attention to the legs and ears—especially if they’ve traveled through areas with long grass present.
What is the treatment for a dog affected by grass seeds?
There are a variety of treatment options available. A veterinarian may be able to extract the seed from the pet without causing them much pain, depending upon how deeply the seed is embedded. Anesthesia or sedatives may be required to identify the location of and safely remove the seed if a simple extraction is not possible.
Family Dog Expert Author
Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.