where does foxtail weed grow

University of California, Davis: “Foxtails Pose Autumn Threat to Dogs.”

The easiest way to prevent foxtail problems is to keep your dog out of overgrown, grassy areas. You should also pull out any foxtail plants you find in your yard. Also consider trimming your dog’s hair during foxtail season, especially if it tends to persistently get foxtails in one spot.

Any dog can get foxtails in the ears, nose, eyes, or mouth. But dogs with long ears and curly hair can be especially prone to foxtail problems. Prevent issues by:

Marin Humane Society: “Check for Fleas, Ticks, and Foxtails.”

Tips for Preventing Foxtail Problems

Foxtail plants can be risky for your dog. The barbed seed heads of the foxtail plant can work their way into any part of your dog or cat, from the nose to between the toes and inside the ears, eyes, and mouth. They can even simply dig themselves directly into a patch of skin.

Embedded foxtails can cause discharge, abscesses, swelling, pain, and death. If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, check for foxtails or talk to your vet:

So how can you tell if your pooch has a foxtail that’s causing problems? If you find a foxtail should you extract it? And when is it time to call a vet?


Pitcairn, R. Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats, Rodale, 2005.

Bonham, M. Dog Grooming for Dummies, Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2006.

Where does foxtail weed grow

Foxtail weed (Setaria) has wide leaf blades, much like the turf grass in which it may grow. The base of the leaves has fine hairs and the stem rises from a collar at the base of the leaf. Stems bear 3 to 10 inch (8-20 cm.) long spikes of flowers, which yield to seeds at the end of the season.

What is Foxtail Weed?

The dedicated grass lover will need to know how to get rid of foxtail grass in lawns. Yellow foxtail is the most prevalent in turf grass. It grows in areas of moist or dry soil and is tolerant of a wide range of conditions.

How to Get Rid of Foxtail Grass in Lawns

Post-emergence herbicides are your best bet for killing foxtail weeds. Choose one that is safe for use in turf grass and that specifies its use against foxtail. Broad-spectrum herbicides can be more harmful than helpful and tend to kill species that you do not want to eradicate.