Vet Makes Unusual Discovery that Saves Limping Dog From Hefty Vet Bill 

Whenever our canine friends exhibit any odd symptom, most of us are often quick to conclude the obvious. Constant coughing? We assume they may be having an underlying respiratory condition. Redness on their skin? We think they got it from an insect bite. Sudden limping? We assume they twisted their ankle while playing at the park. 

Vet Makes Unusual Discovery that Saves Limping Dog From Hefty Vet Bill 

Sometimes, though, the root cause behind a dog’s pain or discomfort may be something we least expect. Veterinarian Dr. Hunter Finn of Pet Method Animal Hospital recently stunned dog owners after revealing what he discovered about a limping dog patient. Thanks to Dr. Finn’s quick thinking, this lucky dog owner saved a whopping $200 in vet bills. 

The Grass Seed Discovery….

In a TikTok video uploaded to his account @dr.hunterfinn,, Dr Finn shared that his dog patient had a grass seed lodged in their paw, which was making them limp. Text layered over the seconds-long clip reads: “When the limping dog comes in, and you save them $200 by finding the grass seed stuck in the paw instead of jumping straight to x-rays.”

Watch the video below:

@dr.hunterfinn Sometimes it is that simple! #drfinn #petmethod #mckinneytx #friscotx #petmethodveterinary #tiktokvet ♬ original sound – Kyle Hunter

Safe to say, if your dog is suddenly limping after a day of fun in a grassy area, chances are, the culprit may be the tiny-but-mighty seed: grass seed.  

Is Grass Seed Toxic to Dogs?

Dog running in a field of grass, dog owners should be aware of the effects of grass seeds in dogs
(Photo Credit: Jozef Fehér | Pexels)

The short answer is yes, grass seed is toxic to dogs. Though they look small and harmless, research shows grass seeds — or grass awns, as they’re sometimes called — are capable of causing a heap of health implications to a dog. These seeds — usually from foxtail-type grass species — are more prevalent in woodlands and meadows, particularly during the summer months. 

Grass seed injuries in dogs tend to rise during late spring and summer because, by this time, the seeds in the grass have dried up and can, therefore, easily detach from the main grass.   

Since grass seeds have barbed, pointy edges, they’re able to quickly attach themselves to your dog’s coat and cause a lot of pain and discomfort. 

While all dogs can be affected by grass seeds, fluffy and long-haired dogs are at an increased risk of potentially fatal grass seed injury. This is because a lot of grass seeds can remain trapped in their abundant hair and go unnoticed for a prolonged period. 

Because grass seeds are sharp, they can easily penetrate a dog’s skin, causing painful inflammation and even abscess. 

If these seeds are not removed sooner, they’ll burrow deep into your dog’s body and continue piercing soft tissues. For instance, grass seed in a dog’s paw can travel to the knees and cause severe tissue damage. Plus, once inside your dog’s body, these tiny brutes can travel into sensitive organs such as the lungs and spinal cord and wreak havoc.

So, if you’ve ever wondered: “Is grass seed safe for dogs?” the answer is a resounding no, particularly if the seeds are from foxtail grass species.

Signs of Grass Seed Injury in Dogs 

Four dogs walking with their owners in a field with long grass, grass seeds in dogs is common during summer months
(Photo Credit: Alexas Fotos | Pexels)

Grass seeds can get stuck on any part of your dog’s body. However, the most common areas where these seeds lodge themselves are on the paws (including between the toes), ears (while here, they can travel down your dog’s ear canal and cause serious ear infections), nose (these seeds can travel down your dog’s nasal cavity), mouth, and eyes (especially around the eyelids).

If your dog has grass seed stuck somewhere on their body, the symptoms they’ll exhibit will depend on where the seed is. Common signs of grass seeds in dogs include:

  • Limping
  • Constant shaking of the head 
  • Bending their head to the side
  • Reluctance to walk 
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive licking and chewing of paws 
  • Frequent sneezing and bloody nasal discharge
  • Skin abscess 
  • Redness and swelling in the affected area 
  • Constantly pawing at their ear or eye 
  • Trying to rub their ear against a hard surface 

In a threaded Reddit discussion months ago on grass seeds in dogs, a dog owner shared: “Just took [my] little man to the vets today, he had a bit of a cyst coming on his foot. I noticed it late Monday night, coned him and managed to get an appointment for this morning. I honestly thought he had just been stung by a bee or something or maybe cut it on something, but no…..apparently it’s a grass seed [that] worked its way in there, and is currently making its way up his paw, so he’s got to have surgery now today to remove it.”

Another person wrote: “Yeah, grass seeds are no joke. I ran into a lady at the park who I hadn’t seen in a while — and it’s because her French Bulldog had to have her eye removed because of a grass seed.”

Treatment of Grass Seed Injury in Dogs 

Dog being injected on the leg by the vet, grass seed in dogs is common during summer months
(Photo Credit: | Pexels)

When it comes to grass seeds, dogs that get them removed sooner are more likely not to develop potentially fatal health complications. This is why it’s advisable to contact your vet as soon as you notice anything unusual in your dog, particularly after a walk in a grassy area. 

In cases where the seed hasn’t penetrated a dog’s skin, the vet will likely retrieve it manually (with a specialized tool) and administer antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Usually, grass seed removal in dogs will call for sedation because of how painful it is. 

If the grass seed has burrowed deep into your dog’s body, they’ll need to undergo surgery.

What are we trying to say? The cost of removing grass seed in dogs depends on the extent of the injury. So, if you’ve ever had thoughts revolving around “Grass seed in dog paw removal cost,” “grass seed dog abscess treatment cost”, “dog paw grass seed removal”, “dog grass seed ear removal,” and “dog ate grass seed treatment,” just know, the removal & treatment cost will all depend on the severity of the grass seed injury. 

In a threaded Reddit discussion cautioning dog owners on the dangers of grass seeds, one dog owner wrote: “I just moved here and had no idea what foxtail/grass seeds were or that it was something to look out for. My dog developed an abscess/wound on her foot, and thankfully, the vet was able to sedate her and find it/repair it.”

Another dog owner revealed: “We lost a dog to this when I was a kid. It got down in her ear canal, and the vets were unable to get it out. She was a Cocker Spaniel with big floppy ears, and it still managed to get in her ear canal, so don’t underestimate just how bad this stuff is.”

7 Top Tips to Protect Your Dog From Grass Seed Injury

Dog running into a field full of long grass, grass seed in dogs is common during summer months
(Photo Credit: Skyler Ewing | Pexels)

Fortunately, there are simple but super-effective measures you can take to protect your dog from the damaging effects of grass seeds. This is especially true if your pup loves spending time outdoors during late spring and summer. Here are seven helpful tips to prevent grass seeds from becoming a problem for your dog:

  • Keep the hair on their paws, ears, and eyes trimmed so you can easily spot any hidden grass seeds.
  • Try as much as you can to avoid long grass, especially during the summer months.
  • Always inspect your dog after a walk in areas with long grass. Be sure to thoroughly inspect their whole body, paying close attention to their ears (be extra keen if they have floppy ears), eyes, armpits, nose, paws, mouth, and between their paws.
  • If you have a long-haired dog, ensure you comb through their hair with a fine-toothed comb after a walk in grass-filled areas. 
  • If you attempt to remove a grass seed from your dog, and it doesn’t come out as a whole, make sure you see the vet so they can remove the remaining part of the lodged seed. 
  • Consider getting your dog protective paw wear, like dog boots, to reduce the risk of grass seeds getting on their paws while they’re outdoors.  
  • Ensure your lawn has dog-safe grass seeds and be consistent with lawn care. One of the best grass seeds for dogs includes cool-season grass like the perennial ryegrass or Kentucky bluegrass.
  • If you suspect your dog ate grass seed, contact your veterinarian immediately.

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