The Dangers of Barley grass and other Foxtailed seeds to Dogs

The Dangers of Barley grass and other Foxtailed seeds to Dogs

Foxtail barley is a type of grass that looks beautiful – it has long feathery heads on the top of tall stalks. But those seed heads (awns) have tiny, very sticky barbs that pose a real threat to your dog. If you grab one and run your hand along it, you will see why. The seed head is built to go one way – borrowing into the ground to create a new plant. If you run your fingers down the awn starting at the point, it feels smooth, but run your hand the other way and you will feel the sharp, sticky barbs preventing it from easily moving the other direction.

While this mechanism helps the plant spread, it can spell trouble for your dog. Those sharp awns have a way of burrowing into a dog’s ears, paws, nose, eyes, and throat – even open wounds and genitals.


The Foxtail awn then starts to borrow into your dog, depending on where it entered from. For example, a foxtail that is picked up between your dog’s toe pads can work up through the fur, into your dog’s skin and, once inside, can continue to move inside your dog’s body. A major problem? An x-ray won’t show where they are located inside your dog.

Once your dog picks one of these up, there is a wide range of possible problems it can cause.

Just a few of the problems a Foxtail Seed can cause, depending on where on the body it’s picked up or travels to:

· Foxtails inhaled through the nose can make their way into your dog’s brain causing seizures or death.

· Foxtails picked up through the skin can make their way to vital organs, such as piercing their lungs.

· Swallowed Foxtails can get stuck in your dog’s airway. They can puncture the throat or cause them to choke to death. They can cause pulmonary aspiration if they have bacteria on them and get into the lungs.

· Foxtails entering anywhere can cause infection from bacteria and even fungus that are on the Foxtail awn.

· Foxtails in the ears can rupture the eardrum, cause chronic ear infections and can require surgery.

· Foxtails in the eyes can cause blindness.

· Foxtails have even been found to introduce an infection of the spinal vertebra and discs (called Discospondylitits) to dogs.

Various other infections, inflammations and issues can be caused by foxtails. Autopsies on deceased dogs have found Foxtails in practically every vital organ including heart, brain, lungs, liver, and glands.

How To Protect Your Dog From Foxtails

The easiest way is to just not walk your dog when Foxtails awns are germinating. But obviously that’s not always realistic. If you must walk your dog in areas you know to contain Foxtail, be sure to:

1. Brush your dog thoroughly after each walk and look for Foxtails. Pay special attention to paws, ears, eyes, nose, and genitals.

2. For long-haired dogs, trim up the fur on the paw pads and legs to give the Foxtails less to grab onto.

3. If you have Foxtails in your own property, pull them out (mowing won’t work!)

Most importantly, monitor your dog during this time of year. Pay attention if they are chewing a paw, licking an area, hacking or trying to vomit (or are vomiting), scratching an ear incessantly, or any other sign that something is irritating them. If you suspect a Foxtail has made its way into your dog, an immediate veterinarian visit is your only option. And don’t delay thinking it might work its way out. While some do find their way back out through the skin, many end up causing major problems that require surgery and can kill the dog. When it comes to Foxtails, it’s definitely a good idea to err on the side of caution.

5 Ways Holistic Dog Food Can Make a Difference in Your Dog’s Life!

5 Ways Holistic Dog Food Can Make a Difference in Your Dog’s Life!

When choosing a food, it’s important to think about your whole dog – not just his stomach. And while we all have to pay attention to our budget as well, a high quality holistic dog food can really make a difference to both your dog and your wallet! What is holistic? As a reminder for those who may have missed my earlier post:

Holistic is a philosophy that believes in treating the whole – mind, body, spirit – of a person (animal). Those that practice it believe the three parts of the body must be treated together in order for real change or healing to occur.

So a dog food that is holistic takes into consideration your dog’s mind, body and spirit and how they all need to be in balance in order for your dog to be as healthy as he can be. Wondering what that looks like? Here are five ways a holistic dog food can make a difference in your dog’s life.

1. Higher Intelligence/Focus for Training

A holistic dog food takes into account that certain foods really are “brain food,” needed for proper development of intelligence (such as DHA and EPA for puppies) and for continued focus as adults. A dog on a proper diet will be easier to train. Here’s What a Stay Loyal Customer Experienced!

I’ve been bringing her onto your food she is glowing, and the changes in her behaviour have been incredible. The best way to describe it for me is, she used to be like a child with ADD, all run and energy, but with a limited attention span. Now she still has endless energy but she’s using that incredible brain of hers, waiting and responding not just go go go. It’s like before she was on a sugar rush whereas now she’s getting a more sustainable energy flow and boy is she blossoming.

Liz, Qld.

2. Fewer Bad Habits

Improper nutrition can have lots of side effects. While these are not things that are always caused by food, sometimes they are. For example, dogs that eat strange things, such as constantly “grazing” on grass, may be deficient in vitamins or minerals and are trying to get them in other places. Or, maybe the food doesn’t have enough protein or fats to make your dog feel full, so they may be constantly getting into the garbage or eating anything they find on the floor. Deficiencies can cause all kinds of symptoms and issues. It can even affect temperament. A holistic dog food can help reduce the occurrence of some bad habits.

3. Keep Them Acting Young

Your dog’s spirit slows down a bit as they age, but an improper food can make them slow down quicker. A Holistic food will have the proper nutrients, such as fat, to keep your dog’s energy level up and their spirit energized.

My Labrador Retriever at 8 years old had terrible discoloured and watery stools and really bad wind. She was starting to look old and losing energy. We were on a well known brand of dog food but I knew it wasn’t doing her any good and thought her food probably consisted of too much grain. So after going on the internet I found Stay Loyal and decided to give it a try. Her stools are now the proper colour and consistency and no more wind. Her coat is softer and shinier and she has gained energy and looks younger. I would definitely recommend Stay Loyal.

Karen, Qld.

4. More Relaxed

Most holistic dogs foods contain ingredients that help keep your dog in a more balanced emotional state. Additives such as rosemary (something Stay Loyal contains) can help promote calmness and relaxation.

5. Fewer Vet Bills

I did say a holistic diet could help your wallet and it can. Dogs fed high-quality food that takes care of their whole body generally need fewer vet visits because they are healthier. For example, we have antioxidants in our food – including green tea, turmeric and vitamins C and E – that help prevent against free radicals like air pollution, helping to keep your dog healthier. I know a 14 year-old sheltie that is the last remaining dog of her litter. The others passed away already of things like kidney disease. While this won’t happen with every dog, good food really can save you money on vet bills in the long run. Here’s what you can experience with a good holistic dog food like Stay Loyal. I’d just like to say how glad I am that I stumbled across your video on facebook. I just assumed dog food was dog food until i saw it. For years we were cleaning Dallas’s ears every week to avoid yeast infections and unnecessary vet trips. After a few weeks on your food we haven’t had to clean them since! It never even occurred to me that it was the food doing it, so thank you!

Tamara, WA.

A holistic dog food will not solve all your problems, nor will it keep your dog perfectly well-trained with a 30-year lifespan. That dog doesn’t exist. However, it can make your dog more trainable with less bad habits and healthier with less trips to the vet. These are all things both you and your dog will appreciate.

Should Your Dog be on Medication for Arthritis?

Should Your Dog be on Medication for Arthritis?

As your dog ages, he may develop aches and pains just like we do. Arthritis affects 20 percent of all dogs! Often, your vet will suggest putting him on pain medications, usually NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), to help your dog live a more normal, pain-free life. But if your dog starts having joint pain at age 7, with a life expectancy of 14-16, your dog is going to be on drugs for half (or more) of his life. Is this really a good idea? To help you make the best decision for your dog, here is some basic information you should know about NSAIDS and their possible risks for dogs.

What Is An NSAID Anyway?

NSAIDS are non-cortisone containing drugs. Simply put, they contain medicines that reduce inflammation and block pain. This allows your dog to feel better (less/no pain) and move easier (less inflammation means the muscles and joints are not strained).

There are many common NSAIDS that can be given to dogs for arthritis/joint pain, including Aspirin, Deramaxx, Previcox, EtoGesic, to name a few. Perhaps the most frequently used are Rimadyl and Metacam.

Some vets may suggest combining an NSAID with another pain-blocking medication such as Tramadol and Gabepentin. Both act in the brain to block the perception/sensation of pain.

Pros of NSAIDS

The pro here is that your dog can move easier and does not feel as much pain. It can help them stay active longer. Not every dog has the same reaction to every NSAID – some work better for one dog than another. So if you try one and it doesn’t work, it’s smart to try a different one instead of giving up on them altogether.

The majority of dogs handle NSAIDS without any side effects.

Cons of NSAIDS

Just like with any medication or drug, there are side effects that have to be considered. If the medication is effective, the one universal truth is that it is masking your dog’s symptoms. This means it’s hard for you and your vet to know if he getting worse, or if something else is going on with him. That can make ongoing care trickier.

And while the majority of dogs do handle NSAIDS fine, they are side effects that your dog could experience. Each one is going to have a slightly different list, so be sure to ask your vet to see the drug information sheets for any medications you are considering for your dog.

The most common mild side effects are:

· Decreased appetite

· Vomiting

· Diarrhea

· Behavioral changes, including depression or inactivity

Serious side effects are:

· Internal bleeding

· Lesions in the intestines and stomach

· Increased urination

· Seizures

· Pale/yellow gums

To reduce risk, follow your veterinarian’s instructions. Do not give two different NSAIDs at the same time. Do not give your dog an NSAID while on Prednisone (a corticosteroid drug used to treat inflammation). Give your dog’s body 7 days in-between stopping an NSAID or Prednisone and starting a new NSAID.

The main thing to remember is that NSAIDS do not solve, cure or slow down arthritis. They are used to manage your dog’s health and make him comfortable. There are ways to do the same thing, naturally, that do not involved drugs with possible side effects. A simple change in diet can even help. Check out this article to learn more about ways to naturally manage your dog’s joint pain