Grass Awns in Dogs: A Deadly Summer Danger

You might have noticed that dogs like to eat grass, but did you know that some types of grass can actually be deadly to your furry friend? In particular, we’re talking about grass awns, the summer danger for dogs that unfortunately many dog parents aren’t aware of. To help change that, we’ve compiled all the facts about grass seed aka or grass awns in dogs and how they can be dangerous to your furry friend, so you can be prepared for a safe and healthy summer.

Table of contents

  • What is a grass awn?
  • Other names for grass awns
  • How do grass awns hurt dogs?
  • Which dogs are most susceptible to grass awn injury?
  • Grass awn on dog symptoms
  • When is it safe to remove a grass awn from my dog?
  • Treatment for grass awns in dogs
  • Prevention for grass awns in dogs
  • Summary

What is a grass awn?

Grass awns are the cause of many pet emergencies in summer. The awns find their way inside the dog’s body, where they don’t belong, causing injury, infection and illness. But what is a grass awn exactly?

Other names for grass awns

Due to their large variety, grass awns are called by many names, including:

  • mean seeds
  • foxtails
  • june grass
  • timothy hay
  • cheatgrass
  • downy brome
  • needle grass
  • wild barley
  • spear grass
  • bromegrass

How do grass awns hurt dogs?

The problem with grass awns is that they tend to burrow into the dog’s fur and eventually skin, causing pain and injury. Grass awns can be inhaled, swallowed and even penetrate the dog’s skin.

grass awn graphic close up: grass awn in dogs under the skin illustration

If grass awns are not removed in a timely fashion, they can lead to infection and the formation of painful abscesses, which need regular drainage of fluids. Moreover, grass awns which have entered a dog’s body can migrate inside of it – causing damage to internal organs such as the lungs, brain, stomach and spinal cord. This disrupts normal body functions, and can lead to sickness and even death in furry friends.

Check out Barney’s story below, a real dog who was wounded and had to take a trip to the vet, because of a few tiny grass seeds:



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