2 Weeds You Need to Keep an Eye Out for This Spring

April 16, 2019 at 9:00 AM by Nikki Wardle

Nikki Wardle

Foxtail by fence

Spring is finally here! The trees are blooming, birds are chirping, and all-around town mowers are firing up for the first time this year. Treasure Valley springtime is incredible!

But with the many wonderful things happening around the valley, there are precautions that need to be taken now to protect your dog or cat from a couple of the more precarious weeds that spring up around Boise and the surrounding cities.

Cheatgrass

Ah yes, cheatgrass, those annoying weeds with barbed seeds that catch onto socks, shoes, shirts, and just about everything else in amazingly large numbers, including your pet’s paws and fur. Creatures with opposable thumbs mumble and gripe about the inconvenience of individually picked out those seeds, but dogs and cats don’t have it so easy. 

The seeds of cheatgrass can burrow deep into your pet’s fur, ears, eyes, and paws. It’s your pet’s natural instinct is to rub and scratch at the seed to get it out, however, this generally just embeds the seed even deeper leaving your pet in some potentially dangerous situation, especially if the animal happens to ingest any of the seeds.

If you notice your dog or cat continuously gnawing, rubbing, or scratching a specific area and see that there is cheatgrass embedded, try and get it out right away. If you aren’t able to remove the seed or seeds, it’s best to get your pet into your vets sooner than later. Those barbed seeds can become infected causing so many other issues.

Foxtail

If pork is the other white meat, then foxtail is the other annoying barb seeded weed.

Around mid to late Summer, the seemingly harmless foxtail grass will dry out and start allowing their seeds to basically become Velcro to anything walking by. That is where the fur of your dog or cat comes in. Foxtail is notorious for latching onto your pet’s fur and burrowing deep.

Just like with cheatgrass, if you see your cat or dog limping, excessively scratching, or shaking their head more than usual, it’s time to check out their ears, paws, and coat for any that shouldn’t be there.

Precautionary Steps to Remove the Dangers

  1. After your pet has spent the day outside enjoying the summer fun, always thoroughly check your pet’s paws, ears, and coat for the seeds, along with ticks, and other foreign objects
  2. If you are unable to remove the seed from your pet, get them to their vet right away
  3. If you see foxtail or cheatgrass growing on or around your property, make sure you remove not only the blade and seeds but also the root system of the weed to prevent it from coming back.
  4. Use a pet-friendly herbicide to make sure none of the fallen seeds have a chance to germinate.

Get out there and enjoy Spring and Summer! We are so lucky to have all the amenities the Treasure Valley has to offer. But if Fido comes along for the hikes or runs through the foothills, just be mindful of the grasses below and the treasures they have waiting for us.

Topics: Dangerous Plants for Dogs and Cats

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki is the marketing manager for IPH and has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.

Plants that are harmful to your pets