Sun, Jul

Alert! If You Have a Dog or Cat, Watch Out for Foxtail Plants


ANIMAL ALERT-If you have a dog or cat, I want to alert you to the danger of foxtail plants. We are having an infestation of foxtails this year.   

As stated in this article: 

“The barbed seed heads of the foxtail plant can work their way into any part of your dog or cat, from the nose to between the toes and inside the ears, eyes, and mouth. They can even simply dig themselves directly into a patch of skin. … 

"The danger of foxtails goes beyond simple irritation. Because these tough seeds don't break down inside the body, an embedded foxtail can lead to serious infection for your dog. It can even lead to death if left untreated. … 

"Foxtails travel. Moving relentlessly forward, never back, they can migrate from inside your dog's nose to its brain. They can dig through skin or be inhaled into -- and then perforate -- a lung.” 

Foxtails are also dangerous to cats

This article states: 

“Remember, once a foxtail has embedded itself into your dog's [or cat's] skin, it will take a professional to remove it, including anesthetic and a surgical procedure by your veterinarian. Never attempt to remove an embedded foxtail yourself, since you may cause additional infection, pain, and suffering for your dog.” 

Dogs are more apt to get foxtails up their noses because they are constantly sniffing plants and the ground, but cats can get them as well, in any part of their bodies. Removing a foxtail from a dog’s nose may require major surgery. This website has some pictures of foxtails. 

Be careful with your dogs and cats. Foxtails are found in fields, on trails, next to roads, in parks, and even in back yards. Please forward this information to anyone you know who has a dog or cat. 


(Jeffrey Mausner is a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate, 2nd Vice President of the Tarzana Neighborhood Council and Chair of its Animal Welfare Committee, Neighborhood Councils Liaison to the LA Animal Services Department, and a Volunteer at the West Valley Animal Shelter. He is a retired attorney and law school professor and was formerly a Federal Prosecutor for the U.S. Justice Department.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.