We had a Foxtail Emergency


As careful as we are about Foxtails, Chico got one stuck in his nose less than 10 seconds out of the car on Sunday. He was sitting on the sidewalk at Point Isabel while I reached into the car for our play bag, and he leaned over and sniffed some foxtails on the edge of the sidewalk, and boom!


Green Foxtail

Foxtail is a grass-like weed/meadow grass. It is mostly found in the Western half of the U.S.  It is fairly harmless in it’s green state, but dangerous when it turns brown. In the green state, it can still get into your dogs nose, ears, but can be pulled out, or worked out by the animal.  In it’s brown state, a special tool is usually needed to pull it out of a nose or an ear and the animal can’t work it out by themselves.  It has punctured eardrums, gotten stuck in noses, caused the loss of eyes, gotten embedded in paws or skin and caused infections, worked it’s way into the brain from the nose, and perforated lungs as it’s worked thru the body,  With the California drought they have been worse than ever as they started turning brown months earlier than usual.


Chico posing next to mixed green and brown foxtails earlier this year.

Many people have asked, how did I know it happened?
Chico,immediately started a string of sneezes, I knew to look at him that moment, and I saw a little brown stem sticking out of his nose, it would not budge.  Within a minute there was tons of mucus and tears, mixed with a little blood.  I got him into my car, and within 5 minutes the whole door panel and seat was covered in the mucus stuff, as he was sneezing the whole 5 mins.  His left eye was squinting, but he didn’t whine or yelp or cry.  By the time we got to the Vet, just 15 minutes, it had worked it’s way far enough in that the stem was not visible anymore.


I was pretty calm and cool, until the Vet told me that they had to sedate him, and to leave him there for a few hours.  Then I broke down and cried. Sedation is risky, especially for short snout smush faced dogs.  The bill came to $369, some will be covered by insurance after our deductable is met. It is our first claim of the year so we haven’t covered our annual claim yet.  We use Healthy Paws because they don’t exclude hereditary breed illnesses, some insurance companies won’t cover things like cataracts or Hip Dysplasia, and they had the best rates and plan for us when we joined at 4 months old.

Foxtails have been in the news a lot,  almost all my friends have had an incident, one friend had to carry his dog 2 miles off the trail.  Though this isn’t the biggest one I’ve seen a picture of, the Vet described it as pretty huge.


We are going to get a Foxtail head guard.  To me, even though we have insurance, the investment is totally worth it. I don’t want to have to have Chico sedated again, and don’t want to have him looking at me with hope, waiting to solve the problem. it’s not a fluke that it happened, it is just a fluke in the way it happened to Chico, as he wasn’t running and playing on a trail or  in a field of them.

Here are some links for further reading:



2 thoughts on “We had a Foxtail Emergency

  1. Pingback: Out Fox Guard — Foxtail Guard Mask for Dogs– Review with Photos. | Hiking with Chico the Boston Terrier

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