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


As pet owners, it is not uncommon for us to encounter certain challenges when it comes to our furry friends’ well-being. One such concern is the presence of foxtails or burrs in our dog’s paws. Foxtails and burrs are plant materials that can easily become embedded in a dog’s paw, causing pain, discomfort, and potential infection if not promptly addressed. In this article, we will guide you through the necessary steps to take if your dog has a foxtail or burr in their paw. From understanding the signs of a foxtail or burr to safely removing it and providing proper aftercare, we aim to equip you with the knowledge and resources to keep your dog healthy and happy.

Section Guide:

In the following sections, we will first delve into identifying the signs and symptoms that suggest your dog may have a foxtail or burr in their paw. We will outline the behavioral and physical indications to look out for, enabling you to promptly assess and respond to the situation. Once you have confirmed the presence of a foxtail or burr, we will then provide detailed step-by-step instructions for safely removing it from your dog’s paw. It is crucial to approach this process with care and patience to avoid causing further distress or injury to your furry companion. Finally, we will discuss the essential aftercare measures to protect your dog’s paw from infection and promote proper healing. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your dog’s quick recovery and prevent future instances of foxtails or burrs in their paws.


What Should I Do If My Dog Has a Foxtail or Burr in Their Paw?

Having a foxtail or burr stuck in your dog’s paw can be a common occurrence, especially if they love exploring the outdoors. This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on what to do if your furry friend encounters this situation, ensuring their safety and well-being.

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

If your dog has a foxtail or burr stuck in their paw, it is important to take action promptly to prevent any potential complications. These irritating natural substances can cause discomfort and lead to infection if not properly addressed. Here are some steps you can take to deal with a foxtail or burr in your dog’s paw:

1. Examine the affected paw

Start by carefully examining your dog’s paw to locate the foxtail or burr. Gently spread the toes apart and look for any signs of swelling, redness, or discharge. If your dog refuses to let you examine the paw or shows signs of pain, it may be necessary to seek the assistance of a veterinarian.

2. Restrict movement

Limit your dog’s movement to prevent the foxtail or burr from causing further irritation or getting deeper into the paw. This can be done by keeping your dog indoors or using a protective boot or sock to cover the affected paw.

3. Remove visible foxtails or burrs

If you can see the foxtail or burr on the surface of the paw, use tweezers or fine-pointed forceps to carefully remove it. Be gentle and try to grasp the base of the foxtail or burr to prevent it from breaking apart and causing additional problems.

4. Soak the paw

In cases where the foxtail or burr is deeply embedded or difficult to remove, you can soak your dog’s paw in a warm Epsom salt solution. This can help soften the skin and make it easier to dislodge the foreign object. Consult with your vet for the correct ratio of Epsom salt to water.

5. Seek veterinary attention

If you are unable to remove the foxtail or burr, or if your dog is experiencing significant pain or inflammation, it is crucial to seek veterinary attention. A veterinarian can safely remove the foreign object and provide any necessary treatment or antibiotics to prevent infection.

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6. Preventive measures

To reduce the risk of foxtails or burrs getting stuck in your dog’s paws, consider these preventive measures:

  • Regularly groom your dog, paying close attention to the paws, and removing any debris.
  • Keep lawns and outdoor areas well-maintained, minimizing the presence of foxtails or burrs.
  • Use protective boots or socks when walking your dog in areas with known foxtail or burr problems.
  • Avoid allowing your dog to roam unsupervised in areas with tall grasses or vegetation.

Remember, dealing with foxtail or burr in your dog’s paw should be done with care and attention. By taking prompt action and following these guidelines, you can help keep your furry friend safe and comfortable.

According to a survey conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 13% of dog owners report their dogs getting foxtails or burrs stuck in their paws each year.


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

Some signs include limping, excessive licking or biting at the paw, swelling, redness, and localized pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s possible that your dog may have a foxtail or burr lodged in their paw.

2. Can I remove the foxtail or burr myself?

You can try to remove it, but it’s best to consult a veterinarian if you’re unsure or if your dog is showing signs of distress. They have the knowledge and tools to safely remove the foxtail or burr without causing further harm.

3. How can I safely remove a foxtail or burr from my dog’s paw?

Using tweezers or forceps, gently grasp the foxtail or burr as close to the skin as possible, then pull it out in the direction it entered. Be careful not to break the foxtail or burr, as leftover pieces can cause infection. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable doing it yourself, seek professional help.

4. What should I do if I can’t remove the foxtail or burr on my own?

If you’re unable to remove the foxtail or burr yourself, it’s important to take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Leaving it embedded can lead to infection or more serious complications.

5. What are the signs of infection from a foxtail or burr?

Watch for signs such as persistent swelling, redness, discharge, a foul odor, and if your dog is constantly licking or bothering the affected area. If you suspect an infection, seek veterinary care promptly.

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6. How can I prevent foxtails or burrs from getting stuck in my dog’s paw?

Regularly check your dog’s paws for foxtails and burrs, especially after walks or playtime in areas where they are prevalent. Keeping your dog’s fur trimmed and between-toe hair short may also help reduce the risk of these plant materials getting stuck in their paws.

7. Are foxtails and burrs only a problem in certain seasons?

Foxtails and burrs are more common in dry seasons, as they become more brittle and easier to get stuck in your dog’s paws. However, they can be a problem year-round in certain regions, so it’s important to be vigilant regardless of the season.

8. Can foxtails or burrs cause serious harm to my dog?

Yes, if left untreated, foxtails and burrs can cause serious harm to your dog. They can migrate further into the paw, leading to abscesses, infections, and even tissue damage. Therefore, it’s crucial to address the issue promptly.

9. Should I put anything on my dog’s paw after removing a foxtail or burr?

After removing the foxtail or burr, it’s generally recommended to clean the paw gently with mild soap and water. You can apply an antibiotic ointment, but it’s wise to consult your veterinarian for specific recommendations.

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

Yes, if your dog ingests a foxtail or burr, it can cause serious health issues. They can become lodged in the throat, stomach, or intestines, leading to choking, blockages, or perforations. If your dog has ingested a foxtail or burr, seek veterinary assistance immediately.


In conclusion, it is crucial to promptly address and remove foxtails or burrs from your dog’s paw to prevent further complications and discomfort. The key points discussed in this article include the identification of the problem, the importance of staying calm and reassuring your dog, and the steps to safely remove the foxtail or burr.

Firstly, it is essential to recognize the signs of a foxtail or burr in your dog’s paw, such as excessive licking, limping, and swelling. Once identified, it is crucial to remain calm and provide reassurance to your furry friend to prevent them from becoming anxious or fearful. Secondly, to safely remove the foxtail or burr, you should gather all the necessary materials, which include gloves, tweezers, and antiseptic solution. Carefully inspect and clean the affected area before gently removing the embedded foxtail or burr. It is crucial to be cautious during this process, ensuring not to push the object further into the skin. Additionally, seeking veterinarian assistance is advisable if you are unsure or if the object is deeply embedded.

By following these steps and taking the necessary precautions, you can effectively address the issue of foxtails or burrs in your dog’s paw and provide them with the care they need. Remember, early detection and prompt removal are key to preventing infections and ensuring your dog’s well-being.