What should I do if my dog has a foxtail or burr in their fur?


Dogs love exploring the great outdoors, but sometimes their adventurous nature can lead to unexpected encounters with pesky foxtails or burrs. These irritating plant materials have barbs or bristles that can easily become lodged in a dog’s fur, posing a risk to their health and wellbeing. If you’ve found yourself facing this situation, it’s crucial to take action promptly to prevent any complications. In this article, we will guide you through the steps you should follow if your dog has a foxtail or burr in their fur, providing helpful tips and suggestions for a safe and successful removal process.

Main Sections:

1. Identifying the Problem:

Before attempting to remove the foxtail or burr from your dog’s fur, it’s essential to correctly identify the location and severity of the issue. In this section, we will discuss the signs and symptoms that can help you determine if your dog has a foxtail or burr, such as excessive licking, scratching, swelling, or localized discomfort. We will also provide guidance on how to conduct a thorough examination of your dog’s coat to pinpoint the exact area where the foxtail or burr is embedded.

2. Safe Removal Techniques:

Removing a foxtail or burr from your dog’s fur requires careful handling to avoid causing additional harm or discomfort. In this section, we will explore various safe removal techniques, starting with simple methods such as manually untangling or detaching the plant material from the fur. We will then delve into more specialized tools and methods, such as using tweezers or a comb to gently extract the foxtail or burr. Moreover, we will discuss situations where seeking professional help from a veterinarian may be necessary, particularly when the embedded plant material has gone unnoticed or has caused complications. Remember, the well-being of your furry friend should always be the top priority.

Continue reading to learn more about how to protect your dog from foxtails and burrs during outdoor activities, and for tips on ensuring a swift recovery post-removal.


What to do if your dog has a foxtail or burr in their fur?

In the world of dog ownership, encountering foxtails or burrs in your furry friend’s fur is not an uncommon occurrence. These sharp, pointy seeds or plant parts can easily get trapped in your dog’s coat, causing discomfort and potentially leading to complications if not addressed promptly. So, what should you do if you find your dog has a foxtail or burr in their fur?

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To ensure the well-being of your beloved pet, it is crucial to quickly address any foxtails or burrs you find in their fur. Ignoring these irritants can result in various health issues, including infection, abscesses, and even organ damage if ingested. In the next part, we will delve into step-by-step instructions on how to safely remove foxtails or burrs from your dog’s fur, ensuring their ongoing comfort and health.

Dealing with Foxtail or Burr in Dog’s Fur

If you notice a foxtail or burr tangled in your dog’s fur, it’s important to address it promptly to prevent discomfort, skin irritation, or potential health issues. Foxtails are grass-like weeds with sharp barbs, while burrs are prickly seed pods that can become entangled in a dog’s fur. Here are the steps you should take if your dog has a foxtail or burr in their fur:

1. Stay Calm and Assess the Situation

When you discover a foxtail or burr in your dog’s fur, it’s crucial to stay calm and handle the situation with care. Panicking or rushing can cause your dog to become anxious or feel discomfort. Find a quiet and comfortable location where you and your dog can work together to remove the foxtail or burr. 

2. Gather the Necessary Tools

Collect a few essential tools to aid in the removal process, such as:

  • Gloves: Protect your hands from the sharp barbs of a foxtail or prickly bristles of a burr.
  • Fine-toothed comb or brush: Use this to gently untangle the foxtail or burr from your dog’s fur.
  • Tweezers or hemostats: These tools can help with removing stubborn foxtails or burrs that are deeply embedded.

3. Examine the Foxtail or Burr

Thoroughly inspect the foxtail or burr in your dog’s fur to assess its location, size, and how deeply it is embedded. This examination will help you determine the best course of action for removal.

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4. Removing a Foxtail

If the foxtail is loosely tangled in your dog’s fur, you can gently try to pull it out using your fingers. However, be cautious not to break it and exacerbate the situation. If the foxtail is deeply embedded, it is recommended to seek veterinarian assistance to prevent complications. A vet will have the necessary tools and expertise to remove it safely.

5. Removing a Burr

To remove burrs from your dog’s fur, start by carefully untangling any surrounding fur with your fingers or a fine-toothed comb. Once the fur is untangled, hold the base of the burr and slowly and steadily pull it out in the opposite direction of hair growth. If the burr is firmly stuck or your dog is uncomfortable, consult a groomer or veterinarian for assistance.

6. Post-removal Care

After successfully removing a foxtail or burr, examine the affected area for any signs of irritation or infection. Clean the area with mild soap and warm water, then apply an antiseptic ointment if necessary. If your dog shows any signs of discomfort, excessive scratching, or swelling, seek veterinary attention.

Remember, prevention is key in dealing with foxtails and burrs. Regularly inspect your dog’s fur, especially after walks or outdoor adventures, to catch any potential hazards early on. Keeping your dog’s coat well-groomed, with attention to areas prone to foxtail or burr entanglement, can also minimize the risk. By taking proactive measures and promptly addressing foxtails or burrs, you can help keep your furry companion safe and comfortable.

Statistic: According to a survey, 68% of dog owners reported having encountered foxtails or burrs in their dogs’ fur.


1. What are foxtails and burrs?

Foxtails and burrs are natural grasses or plant materials that can easily get caught in your dog’s fur.

2. How do I know if my dog has a foxtail or burr in their fur?

You may notice your dog constantly scratching, biting, or pawing at a specific area. Look for any signs of discomfort or visible foreign objects in their fur.

3. What should I do if I find a foxtail or burr in my dog’s fur?

Carefully examine the area and try to remove the foxtail or burr using your fingers or a comb. If it is deeply embedded or causing your dog distress, it’s best to consult a veterinarian.

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4. Can I remove a foxtail or burr on my dog’s own?

It is possible to remove a foxtail or burr on your own if it’s easily accessible and not causing your dog pain. However, exercising caution is advisable as you might accidentally push the object deeper or injure your dog.

5. What happens if a foxtail or burr is not removed from my dog’s fur?

If left untreated, foxtails and burrs can cause various complications, including infection, abscesses, or even migration into other parts of your dog’s body.

6. Should I trim my dog’s fur if they have a foxtail or burr?

Trimming the fur around the affected area can make it easier to locate and remove the foxtail or burr. However, exercise caution and consider seeking professional help if necessary.

7. How can I prevent my dog from getting foxtails or burrs in their fur?

Regularly grooming your dog, especially during foxtail and burr seasons, can help prevent these materials from getting tangled in their fur. Avoiding areas with tall grasses or plants where foxtails or burrs are common is also advisable.

8. Can foxtails or burrs be harmful if ingested by my dog?

If your dog accidentally ingests a foxtail or burr, it can lead to serious internal complications. Consult a veterinarian immediately if this occurs.

9. Are certain dog breeds more prone to getting foxtails or burrs in their fur?

Dogs with long or curly fur, such as Retrievers or Poodles, are more prone to getting foxtails or burrs tangled in their coat.

10. When should I seek veterinary assistance for a foxtail or burr?

If you are unable to remove the foxtail or burr yourself, or if your dog displays signs of pain, discomfort, swelling, or infection, it is best to seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible.


In conclusion, if your dog has a foxtail or burr in their fur, it is essential to take immediate action to prevent any complications. First, carefully examine your dog’s fur and locate the foxtail or burr. Use caution when attempting to remove it, ensuring you do not cause injury to yourself or your pet. If the foxtail or burr is on the surface, you can try removing it using tweezers or a fine-toothed comb. However, if it is deeply embedded or causing discomfort to your dog, it is best to seek professional help from a veterinarian.

Remember to monitor your dog for any signs of infection, such as swelling, redness, or discharge, even after removing the foxtail or burr. It is crucial to keep the affected area clean and to ensure your dog does not lick or chew at it. If you notice any signs of infection, contact your veterinarian immediately. Additionally, taking preventive measures, such as keeping your dog’s fur trimmed short, avoiding areas with foxtails or burrs, and regularly inspecting their fur, can help minimize the chances of this issue occurring.

By being proactive and promptly dealing with foxtails or burrs in your dog’s fur, you can prevent potential health problems and ensure their well-being. Your dog will thank you for your attentiveness and care.