Foxtails in San Francisco? Yes. Watch out!

By May 31, 2018 November 2nd, 2021 No Comments

What are Foxtails?

Hazards of a summer walk in the drying grasses.  Even in San Francisco.

1.  Learn to identify the plant

2.  Keep your dog (or cat) out of the area

3.  Inspect your pet closely after every outing

4.  As soon as possible, contact Balboa Pet Hospital San Francisco Veterinarians, if you suspect possible foxtail exposure.


“Foxtails” refer to a number of grasses that have bushy spikes that resemble the tail of a fox and are sometimes called “wild barley”. You’ve seen them, even here in San Francisco.

These little buggers are determined to find their way into your dog or cat’s noses, ears, eyes, mouths. They can even burrow into the skin.  The sharp pointed tip and the flared out end ensure that they move in only one direction: forward.

Unless they are caught early, they can migrate into and around your pet’s body causing numerous medical issues and many end up requiring anesthetic procedures to attempt to retrieve them.  Avoid letting your dog sniff in the grasses and inspect your pet after every outing.  You should pay particular attention to your feet! But many foxtails are inhaled and quickly cause sneezing and bloody noses.  It is important to bring your pet right in if you suspect any problem after exposure to foxtails.

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