Foxtails are nasty—pure and simple. If you have a meadow-loving dog and live in a region with these barbed grasses, you know what I’m talking about.
Known by different names in different parts of the country, these plants have hard seed-bearing structures with sharp points at one end and microscopic barbs. When they become embedded in a dog’s fur, paws, ears, nostrils or eyes, they work their way one direction—in. Foxtails can wind up virtually anywhere in the body, wreaking havoc. (Check out Protecting Your Dog Against Foxtails by Nancy Kay, DVM.) I’ve heard of dogs enduring repeat surgeries to remove foxtails traced as far as 10 inches, and still not tracking them down.
It’s the sort of thing that could drive a person to keep their dog inside or invent a solution, i.e., the OutFox Field Guard. This sort of a spooky-looking—at least, at first—loose-fitting hood, made of lightweight vinyl mesh, protects those areas that are particularly vulnerable to foxtails. The Field Guard (starting at $38) is attached to a dog’s collar with breakaway straps. According to the manufacturers, dogs can breath easily, still drink water, and grab sticks and balls in their mouths.
My pups haven’t field-tested it, but it sounds pretty ingenious. What do you think?