Foxtails

Risks, and How to Control Them

Controlling Fox Tails in Your Environment

Removal and Prevention
The best way to manage fox tails that are already grown is to gather them up and contain them. Pull them from the plant or pull the whole plant. Don't mow them down, which will spread them out and encourage new growth low to the ground and harder to see. If you want to prevent them, grow an alternate plant that doesn't turn to awns and pull all awn-producing grasses as early as you see them.

Risks to Our Pets

How serious could a plant really be?
These grass awns do their job very well- they are perfectly made to burrow. Sometimes, though, they burrow into our pets. From nose to tail, Foxtails can cause many painful and expensive problems, including nasal foreign bodies, abscesses, infection tracts, urinary tract infections, etc. Common areas of concern are the nose, ears, toes, coat, and the perianal region.

What is A Foxtail?

And why should I care?

Foxtails are summertime grass awns which grow anywhere from a vast field to a small crevice in the sidewalk. As they mature, they disconnect from the plant, dry out, disperse,  and become very easily caught in air currents, fur, and clothing. Once you know them, you'll see them everywhere.

Additional Resources


The Grass Awn Project to protect our dogs

Beware of Foxtail Grass This Summer by C.C. Holland on July 10, 2003 in Whole Dog Journal

Foxtail Grass: Awns of Destruction by Nancy Kerns on May 17, 2018 in Whole Dog Journal

Your local news about foxtails