What the Heck is A Foxtail?

What the Heck is A Foxtail?

Posted on June 15th, 2023

Welcome to the Luna & Hounds blog, where we are dedicated to the well-being of your four-legged companions. 

Today, we want to shed light on a common yet often overlooked hazard: foxtails. These seemingly innocuous plants can pose serious risks to your beloved dogs. As responsible pet owners and passionate dog walkers, we believe it's crucial to raise awareness about this issue and provide you with practical tips on how to protect your furry friends from foxtails.

Understanding the Danger:

Foxtails are grass-like weeds that are prevalent in many regions, particularly during warmer months. Their name comes from their appearance—barbed seed heads that resemble the tail of a fox. These seed heads are designed to burrow into the ground, but unfortunately, they can also attach themselves to your dog's fur or embed themselves in their skin. They can also find their way into your dogs ears, eyes, and nose. Due to their unique shape Foxtails have the ability to migrate very easily through the body once it's found an entry way. This can lead to a range of health issues, from minor discomfort to severe infections and even death in more extreme cases.

Common Problem Areas:

While foxtails can be found in various outdoor environments, it's important to be especially vigilant in identifying problem areas where they tend to thrive. Some common areas where foxtails are often found include:

  • Parks and hiking trails: Dogs love exploring the great outdoors, but unfortunately, these areas are also prime spots for foxtails to flourish. Keep an eye out for tall grasses, open fields, or unkempt trails.
  • Backyards and open spaces: Even in your own backyard, foxtails can be present. Regularly inspect and maintain your outdoor spaces to minimize the risk of exposure.
  • Vacant lots or abandoned areas: Neglected areas with overgrown vegetation are often teeming with foxtails. Exercise caution when walking your dog in such areas or avoid them altogether.

Protective Measures:

  • Regular grooming: Frequent brushing and grooming sessions are essential for identifying and removing foxtails from your dog's coat. Pay close attention to their paws, ears, and underbelly, as these areas are most susceptible to foxtail penetration.
  • Trim long fur: Dogs with long, flowing fur are more prone to foxtail entanglement. Regularly trim their fur to a manageable length, reducing the chances of seeds latching onto their coat.
  • Avoid problem areas: Familiarize yourself with the problem areas mentioned earlier and try to steer clear of them during walks. Opt for well-maintained trails and parks where the risk of foxtails is minimal.
  • Protective gear: In high-risk areas or during certain seasons, consider using protective gear such as boots or leg sleeves designed to keep foxtails out. Another great option is a field guard covering for the head to protect the ears, eyes, mouth, and nose. There is currently only one product on the market for this by Out Fox. clcik on this link to access their online shop: https://outfoxfordogs.com/ Although it may take some time for your dog to get used to these accessories, they can provide valuable protection.
  • Be vigilant: While walking your dog, keep a close eye on their behavior. If you notice excessive licking, pawing, sneezing, head shaking, or swelling in any area, inspect them thoroughly for foxtails. Promptly remove any foxtails you find and consult your veterinarian if needed.


As responsible dog owners, it's our duty to safeguard our beloved pets from potential dangers. Foxtails may seem insignificant, but they can cause significant harm to our furry friends. By understanding the risks, taking preventive measures, and being vigilant, we can significantly reduce the chances of our dogs falling victim to these pesky seeds.

At Luna & Hounds, we prioritize the safety and well-being of the dogs in our care. Through regular communication, careful grooming, and informed decision-making during walks, we aim to create a safe environment where your furry companions can thrive. Let's work together to protect our dogs and keep them happy and healthy!

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