If Maya gets half an opportunity she’s off haring around in the long grass, she absolutely loves it and last year before I invested lots of time in her training she was forever coming home covered in grass seeds. Being such a fluffy little dog you can imagine how time consuming getting rid of these from her fur was! This year thankfully she has only managed one unscheduled foray into the jungle and, I have to say thoroughly enjoyed her 5 minutes of debauchery!! (I have trained Maya to recall to the whistle which is very efficient until you lose your whistle and can’t remember which pitch you had – needless to say I am now the proud owner of 2 Acme 2.10 & 1/2 whistles!) and as an aside I would say a strong recall is a great line of defence against the dreaded grass seed.
The humble grass seed is responsible for one of the most common and painful conditions our dogs can suffer from. They can attach themselves inbetween the toes, under the elbows and puncture the skin and work their way into the flesh (ouch!) or enter the ear canal and make their way down to the eardrum or lodge in the nose. Signs to look out for in your dog include obsessive licking of their paws, rubbing their ears and shaking their heads in pain. Your pooch might also be lethargic and sometimes you may notice a sore or redness. Obviously then it makes sense to take a trip to the vet, where, if it cannot be reached/seen sometimes poor old pooch has to be sedated and undergo surgery to remove it.
So it really is vitally important to check your dog throughly after each and every walk. It’s a personal choice but I don’t allow Maya to run free in long grass at this time of the year, however as you can see, sometimes madam turns a deaf ear if I have forgotten my whistle choosing to feel the fear and do it anyway!!! I am still obsessive about checking her over though as although the risk is less on short grass they can be picked up anywhere at this time of year. More than once I have removed one from the edge of her ear canal.
Furry dogs like spaniels with hairy ears and paws are most at risk so one precaution you can take is to either clip your dog or keep the fur around their paws and ears very short. I do clip short the inside of Maya’s ears and have recently clipped her paws. However I just love her long ears – it’s one of the things that attracted me to own a spaniel so I choose to be especially vigilant. (a snood could be a good option if your dog is happy to wear one) It’s up to us as individuals to make informed choices for our pooches. We’ve been lucky so far and Maya has not had to take an expensive trip to the vet due to grass seeds (she reserves those for scavenging!) and we’ve got our paws crossed it stays that way – madam is not the most stoic!!
What’s your experience of grass seeds friends? Do you take any precautions? Please let us know in the comments as we love feedback.
Love Sal & Maya xxx