Here's Why You Shouldn't Let Your Dog Sniff Around Weeds

Dogs love to sniff things. With their immensely strong sense of smell, they're able to discern more about plants than people ever could just by smelling them. However, that doesn't mean that all plants are safe for your dog to sniff around in. Here's why you should do your best to keep your dog away from weeds of all types. 


One very common type of weed that can be found all over the country is the foxtail. Foxtails are long, bushy weeds that sort of resemble an animal's fluffy tail, hence the name.

The problem with foxtails is that they're extremely persistent in their ability to stick to things. Foxtails can stick to clothes, fur, and skin, all because they have prickly ends that are designed to do just that. This helps the foxtail to spread its seeds wherever it's carried to. Unfortunately, it sometimes doesn't end well for the animal that's carrying the seeds.

How They Get In

Foxtails can actually get into your dog's body and wreak havoc. This typically happens not when a dog eats a foxtail, but instead sniffs it.

Many dog breeds have nostrils that are big enough for a foxtail to fit into. Of course, no foreign object is ever meant to go into the body and stay there. Your first sign that your dog may have sniffed a foxtail is pawing at the nose, sneezing, and whining, as it may put your dog in a state of fear or pain.

What They Do

Getting a foxtail removed as quickly as possible is essential to your dog's well being. This is because once the foxtail is inside the body, it tends to lodge itself into the wall of your dog's sinus passageways, or worse yet, the airway.

Foxtails aren't sanitary and can trigger allergic reactions or infections if they pierce through tissue. Unfortunately, since the foxtail is essentially invisible after a dog sniffs it up, it may not be noticed by pet owners until it's already done harm. Needless to say, if you notice that your dog seems to be winded, having difficulty breathing, is wheezing, or continues to sneeze after going on a walk where weeds and foxtails grow, you should get to a vet right away.

Depending on the location of your dog's foxtail, your vet may be able to remove it manually or may have to perform surgery. Rest assured that once the foxtail is out, the worst of the danger is over and some recovery time and antibiotics will get your dog back to his normal self. If you suspect your dog has inhaled a foxtail, visit a local veterinarian hospital immediately.