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How can I protect my dog’s ears from grass seeds?

Grass seeds can irritate a dog and cause problems

Grass seeds can easily become lodged in a dog’s ears or paws.

Grass seeds are a particular problem for spaniels

As the hay fever season fades away, 
so the grass-seed season takes over. The first affects me (though not as much as it used to), while the second is a concern for the dogs. All dogs are vulnerable to grass seeds, especially spaniels with hairy ears and hairy feet.

Grass seeds have evolved over millions of years to stick to fur, as it is a great way to ensure that the seeds are dispersed far and wide. Look at certain seeds under a magnifying glass and you will see that they resemble miniature arrowheads, so that they will only go in one direction.

Should one of these seeds lodge in your dog’s ear, or perhaps manage to pierce the edge of a nail, it’s not going to come out easily. It’s a busy season for vets as they remove errant seeds from dogs.

grass seed problems with dogs

Spaniels are particularly prone to picking up grass seeds

If your dog comes back from a walk and starts pawing its ears, shaking its head or gnawing at its foot, then the chances are that there’s a grass seed somewhere. If it’s not removed, it is likely to result in extreme pain, an abscess or other infection, possibly lameness. Doing nothing and hoping that the seed will disappear seldom works. Vets are well practised at seed removal but difficult cases may require the dog to be sedated.

I have been lucky with seeds. Only once have I had to take a springer to the vet for a seed to be removed (from a paw). To be honest, it was my wife, Jan, who took the dog. I sat in the car outside. Thirty minutes later, the two reappeared with the spaniel lacking her usual bounce and Jan looking pale. It transpired that Jan had fainted when the vet cut into the paw. She’s not usually the fainting type but the vet reassured her that such incidents are not uncommon.

protecting your dog's ears from grass seeds

Mabel with her ear protectors which keep out grass seeds effectively

A novel way of protecting your dog’s ears from grass seeds

Preventing seeds getting into ears is difficult. My neighbour’s springer, Mabel, now wears ear protectors, having suffered from seeds in her ears. The protectors look funny but I’m assured they are effective.