When you think of having your dog groomed, you may think about their fur being clean and shiny, or getting a fresh haircut that makes them look cute. It might surprise you to know, however, that getting your dog groomed could potentially help to protect them from a dangerous health hazard. This guide will explain how unkempt dog fur can increase your dog's risk of injury, and how regular groomings help.
The Dangerous Weed
Foxtails are rather harmless-looking wild grass weeds that you've probably seen before. They're pointy, barbed, and often get stuck in clothing if you've been walking through a grassy area. They can also just as easily get stuck in dog fur; the barbs on this weed have evolved to help the weed to spread its seeds by sticking to animals and migrating with them wherever they go. Unfortunately, this weed can cause serious problems for your dog if it gets stuck to their fur.
The Damage Foxtails Cause
Weeds are a bit of a hassle to have to pull off clothing or fur, but the foxtail is no ordinary weed. Foxtails can penetrate and burrow into skin, flesh, and muscle, or even become lodged in a dog's mouth, nose, or esophagus. If a foxtail sticks to your dog's fur and isn't found and removed, it may end up stuck in their skin. Once a foxtail is embedded in flesh, your dog's movement drives the foxtail further in, worsening the problem. Foxtails can cause tissue damage, lung infections (if swallowed), rupture eardrums or even cause blindness.
How Grooming Helps
If you take your dog for regular walks, there's no way to protect them from ever encountering foxtails. Instead, having your dog's fur kept at a tidy and controlled length will help to prevent them from picking up foxtails as they walk through the weeds. Taking your dog to a professional to keep their fur trimmed and free of matting is a great first step, but you should also personally groom your dog after every walk. By combing or brushing their fur, you can find any foxtails before they get a chance to embed themselves in your dog's skin.
Foxtails have a cute name, but they're extremely dangerous to a dog's health. Keep your own yard free of foxtails and other weeds, and make sure dog grooming becomes a regular habit to prevent foxtails from getting stuck in your dog's fur during walks.