Pet Connection warns dog parents of the dangers of the little plants known of foxtails:
They plot and plan how best to drive themselves into our dogsâ€™ tender flesh, to slip between the toe and the nail, to be snorted into the vulnerable nasal passages, to work their way into the ear canal.
…take this warning seriously: watch out for foxtails. Eradicate them from your property, and watch for them when walking them in parks, wildlands, pasture, or field.
California’s foxtail season lasts until fall. Signs of foxtail attack include sudden “licking at a toe, pawing at their ears, or has a lump or swelling anywhere.” Pet Connection advises you to check your dogs frequently for foxtails.
A serious hazard for field dogs, or any dogs in the field, are the hard seed-bearing structures of some kinds of grasses, often called “foxtails”. These structures have sharp points at one end, and microscopic barbs, so that they easily move in the direction of the point, but not the other way. They “work in”, but they don’t “work out”. They can become imbedded (sic) in the hair, especially the paws and ears, and in nostrils and even eyes. As they work their way in, they cause infection, and if not treated can sometimes be fatal.