Keeping puppy safe from Foxtails

blue merle teddy bear puppy www.habibibears.comKnow the Signs of Foxtails in Your Habibi Bear Pup

Here in the PNW and the West Coast, home of the Habibi Bear Puppy, the Original Teddy Bear dog, autumn is in full swing. As we take our pups outside to benefit from the last temperate temperatures before the cold sets in, perhaps you take your little Habibi guy or gal into the grasslands or scrub to romp and wander in nature, to run and frolic in the waning sunshine. If this sounds like an activity that you engage in with your precious little pup, do you know to check your fur baby for foxtails after every wild safari adventure? 

Foxtails are a type of weed or invasive grass that have detachable seed pods on the tips of the plant that, due to their arrow-like shape and hardened barbed tips, cling or become embedded to your puppy’s fur or (eek!) skin. The texture of the seed pod is specifically designed to cling onto anything that brushes by them, be it skin, fur or fabric. We are sure that you’ve been in contact with this plant nuisance as well, as foxtails that become embedded in socks and shoes and are quite difficult to remove once they have gotten past the surface layer of a material. Unfortunately, our furry pups are primed to have at least one experience with foxtails, so we are here to help you with some practical advice and tips. Ready? Let’s Go! 

  1. Keep your Habibi Bear puppy on well marked trails and clear paths. Although the foxtail season is typically in late spring and summer, the autumn is still ripe with extra dry scrub and grasses that we need to steer clear of to avoid these nasty unwelcome hitchhikers. Consider outfitting your pup in a shirt or hoodie to keep another layer of protection between your pup and the foxtails.

  2. After your outing, thoroughly check your Habibi Bear puppy’s ears, nose, rump, and each paw for any burrs, stickers, or foxtails. If puppy is extra wiggly or resistant, have something for them to lick to distract them, like Kong filler in a can or peanut butter while you inspect them. 

  3. If you do find a foxtail, as gently as possible, slowly remove it to ensure it doesn’t break into pieces and stay partially embedded in puppy’s fur or skin. Pieces that remain behind will cause pus-filled abscesses, and systemic infection.

  4. If the foxtail is not retrievable or is in / near puppy’s eyes, nose, or ears, get them to a vet for surgical removal as soon as possible. Migrating foxtails can cause grievous damage to puppy’s organs once in their body. 

  5. If after a walk, your Habibi Bear puppy is scratching frantically, shaking on one side as if to knock something loose, or licking a spot over and over, they may have a foxtail. Look for red, swollen skin or knot, or a wound that isn’t healing properly. If puppy’s behavior lasts more than a day and keeps puppy awake, contact your vet or emergency vet for an x-ray. In such cases, x-rays at a vet can successfully spot the presence of a foxtail in nearly 80% of the cases. 

  6. Be aware of coughing, sneezing, wheezing in your Habibi Bear puppy if you’ve been in areas thick with foxtails. Foxtails can easily get embedded into the respiratory tract via their nose and would need immediate surgical removal. If you have an extra adventurous pup who loves to roam the wild hills and plains, consider purchasing a specially made Field Guard mesh hood, which prevents the penetration of foxtails and other barbed plants in the ear, nose and eye areas of your fur baby. While not a complete solution, it does offer partial protection.

It is always good practice to check your pup after an outing for foxtails or even ticks and other nuisances that can upset the healthy balance and carefree days of your wonderful Habibi Bear puppy, the Original Teddy Bear dog. We want to see you and your lovely puppy enjoy life to its fullest, and we have many years of experience and advice to share with you. Drop us a line or slide into our DM’s if you have a question, comment or a story to share with us. We are always here for you, cheering you on.