SPCA is warning pet walking beach-goers to keep their dogs away from long, seeding grass, which can hurt dogs' paws and skin.
A dog in Tauranga is watching his step after a walk through ryegrass resulted in a trip to the vet.
Samson, the 74kg Leonberger, was enjoying a walk on the beach with his owners, Karen and Martin Litt. As they made their way to the beach from Tay St in Mount Maunganui, Samson walked through the grasses on the dunes fringing the coast.
Upon returning home, Karen and Martin noticed Samson was limping. Closer inspection revealed hundreds of small ryegrass seeds on his coat and in his skin, and he had raised welts on his paws.
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The couple spent four hours getting as many of the seeds off him as they could. Some of the seeds were embedded deeply in his skin, so they took him to the vet who removed them under local anaesthetic.
Samson had the seeds under his armpits, on his feet, between the pads of his paws, and one on the side of his neck. He has since recovered and Karen and Martin ensure he steers clear of the long grass on his beach walks.
SPCA scientific officer, Alison Vaughan, said pet owners should try to avoid long grass on walks, especially after a long dry summer when grasses are seeding.
"For long-haired pets, it can help to keep hair short around their ears, paws, and legs.
"When coming home after a walk, groom your dog immediately and check thoroughly for any seeds, especially between foot pads and around ears and face. If you find any seeds penetrating through the skin, gently remove them with tweezers and ensure the seed is whole, as any small piece may cause a reaction," she said.
If you notice your dog is licking or chewing at a sore place, sudden onset of lameness or if you suspect your dog may have a seed in his or her eyes or ears, contact your vet immediately.