A VET has issued an urgent warning to dog owners about seeds that can prove deadly – and offered advice on how to keep canines safe.
Dr Nicky Ross says while the grass seeds are tiny and appear harmless, they can cause discomfort and pain for dogs – and even prove fatal.
And the vet says she has seen more canines brought to her clinic with seed-related injuries than ever this year.
She has urged owners to be careful after a dog in Brighton died after inhaling a seed.
Dr Ross said: “The shape makes them a problem because they look like little darts.
“We have been seeing a huge number of them this year, a lot more than I remember previously”.
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Grass seeds can get stuck in pets' feet, noses, and eyes, causing severe irritation and pain.
Other rarer, but more serious, complications from the seeds include perforated ear drums and breathing difficulties.
Dr Ross, of New Priory Vets, said she is currently seeing as many as two or three dogs a day that need the seeds removed.
She said the best advice she could give dog owners was to avoid particularly dry fields and to check their pets for signs that they are in pain.
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She said these symptoms could include dogs shaking their heads or clawing at paws.
Dr Ross added: "Just be really aware of your dog. If there is something not right go and see someone about it."
The warning comes after dog owners called for the Brighton and Hove City Council to deal with the problem by cutting grass verges and dog parks.
A spokesman for the council told the Andover Advertiser: “Barley grass has been growing in verges across the country for a long time now.
"It is naturally occurring and is something we cannot eliminate.
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“The issue of dogs occasionally being injured by barley grass also crops up all the country.
“In order to minimise the risk to a dog, owners should be careful to check where their dog walks”.
How to keep your dogs safe from grass seeds injuries
- Avoid dry fields
- Watch for if your canine is clawing at its paws
- Watch for if your canine is shaking its head
- Keep an eye on general unusual behavior
- See a vet and seek advice if your dog doesn't seem itself
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