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Utah pet owners need to be on lookout for this over summer

Posted at 3:08 PM, Jun 18, 2024

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah pet owners should be on the lookout as they hit the trails this summer. Weeds and grasses, such as foxtails, cheatgrass, or June grass are exploding in growth all across the state after a wet winter and wet start to spring.

The weeds and grasses disperse dangerous arrow-like seeds on local trails and even in your front yard. The shape of these seeds easily attach to dog fur and paws, and can even sneak into their eyes, nose, mouth and ears.

Once the seeds puncture a dog's skin, they don't come out, and actually travel farther into their body, putting vital organs at risk and making for a more invasive, expensive visit to the vet.

Signs for pet owners to look out for are excessive licking, especially the paws and legs, or if a dog continuously scratches its ears or is tilting its head in an awkward position. If any of those signs are noticed, or if your dog is acting unusual, it's best to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian quickly because if it's a foxtail issue, it won't resolve itself on its own.

To help keep your dog safe, it's best to always check their paws after each walk or hike, look around the pelvic area, near the tail, and in the ears for foxtails. If your dog has long fur, have it groomed to mitigate foxtails attaching themselves to the fur.

Foxtails, along with similar weeds and grasses, are pretty easy to identify. They have a unique tail-like or bushy appearance and the seeds resemble arrows. Anyone who spots the invasive species on the trail or in a yard should stay away from them. Those who do locate the invasive weeds in they yard can easily pull them out due to their fairly shallow root structure.