SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - This year's winter rains didn't just help people's landscaping become greener again. It helped weeds and foxtail grasses grow as well.
Local veterinarian Doctor Sally Mobraaten of Santa Barbara Pet Hospital said more pet parents are bringing in their dogs because foxtails entered their bodies.
Foxtail plants can be found in rural areas and along hiking trails.
"We had the drought. The foxtails were bad during those summers, but not really horrible. Then we had the great wonderful rains that made all the hills grow green, but once they dry out they become foxtails," Dr. Mobraaten.
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. The seed heads can even dig themselves directly into a patch of skin and make its way inside the body.
Once the irritating weeds get into an animal's body, it will be difficult to remove without professional medical help.
"They penetrate the skin or penetrate any area. They just keep going because they got microscopic barbs on them that keep them going one way like a fish hook," said Mobraaten.
She recommends checking your dog's paws after each outing.