Dog owners are being warned about the dangers of grass seeds this summer.

While grass seeds might look small and harmless, vet charity PDSA warns that they can actually be dangerous for our four-legged friends.

“If your dog likes to run around in long grass, it’s important to always check them for grass seeds afterwards,” explains PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing.

Nina adds: “You’ll need to remove any that you find and if you find one stuck, or a wound/swelling that looks like it could contain one, you’ll need to take your pooch to the vets.

“If not removed quickly, grass seeds enter the body and start causing problems such as infections and abscesses.”

News Shopper: Grass seeds can cause many problems for dogsGrass seeds can cause many problems for dogs (Image: Getty Images)

Symptoms to look out for

The most common places that grass seeds cause trouble are in the eyes, between the toes and around the ears but they can find themselves anywhere and work their way under the skin, PDSA warns.

If your pet is excessively shaking its head, scratching its ear or holding its head to one side, it might have a grass seed in its ear.

Dogs are likely to develop a painful, weepy eye if they have a grass seed stuck in it and they might also sometimes keep their eye almost closed.

If a dog has a grass seed stuck between their toes, they might excessively lick or nibble their paw. Over time, you might notice saliva staining which is a pinkish or brown colour on their fur and swelling. Your dog might also limp or hold their leg up.

A dog who is sneezing more or producing bloody discharge from its nostrils might have a grass seed stuck up its nose.

A grass seed that gets stuck under the skin and travels around the body is likely to cause symptoms such as a non-healing wound, low energy and a recurrent high temperature.

News Shopper: PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing says you should always check your dog for grass seeds after walks in long grass.PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing says you should always check your dog for grass seeds after walks in long grass. (Image: Canva)

How can a dog be treated if they have a grass seed stuck somewhere?

Using the right equipment, it might be possible for a vet to pull the grass seed out of where it has got stuck.

However, grass seeds that work their way into the skin are harder to find and don’t often show up on X-rays.

They can also start travelling around causing inflammation, infection and abscesses.

Since grass seeds can cause lots of problems, your vet might suggest investigating further if they suspect one, even if they can’t see or feel one.

If your dog has a grass seed in their eye, they’re likely to need a local anaesthetic, sedation or a general anaesthetic to have it removed. A vet will also check the eye over to see if any additional damage has been caused.

Using an otoscope, a vet might be able to remove a grass seed from your dog’s ear but if it is deep in the ear or very painful, sedation or a general anaesthetic might be needed.


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If your dog has developed an ear infection due to the grass seed being in its ear, it will also need treatment for that.

Grass seeds that get between the toes often find their way under the skin and cause an interdigital cyst which is swelling between the toes.

If the grass seed is sitting just under the skin, a vet might be able to remove it while your dog is awake.

However, it is much more likely that your dog will need to be sedated or put under general anaesthetic to allow the vet to flush out the area and try to find it.

If a vet thinks a grass seed is travelling around a dog’s body, they might recommend sending them to a referral veterinary centre for specialist tests, like a CT scan, and possibly surgery.

How to prevent a grass seed from getting stuck

Nina Downing said: “Prevention is always better than cure. Always check your dog for grass seeds after walks in long grass. And try to prevent your dog from running around in long grass, sticking to paths instead.”