Skip to Primary Content

Lindsey Veterinary Hospital

Spear Grass

Dog on a wooden dock by the lake next to some Spear Grass.


When spear grass dries out, it's very sharp and pointy ends are easily knocked off. These can attach to your pet and bury into your dog's skin or deep into ear canals where they could potentially rupture the ear drum. Also, check between toes, groin and armpit areas as they like to bury into dog's skin there as well.


Please call us right away if you notice your dog shaking it's head, scratching at it's ears and/or whimpers in pain when you rub it's ears.


When a dog walks over these spear grass heads on the ground they can attach to fur and bury their way in between toes and under the skin. Once under the skin it can cause an infection called an abscess. It typically looks like a red, swollen bump.  This abscess will usually rupture if left untreated due to the bacteria damaging the skin. It would then look like a red, open sore. Your dog would probably be licking at it's feet a lot as it is quite sore and irritating to them. Please check between your dog's toes frequently during the summer months.

If you see this grass in your backyard be sure to get rid of it, preferably before it dries out and goes to seed. There are It is very prevalent in our dry area and may take a few weeding sessions to completely rid it from your yard. If you are seeing it on walks you may want to keep your dog away from these areas during the dry period.

How to keep your dog safe from Spear Grass:

It is very difficult to avoid Spear Grass because it is so prevalent in the Okanagan Valley! Here are a few things we recommend:

  1. Shaving the feet (especially if they have long hair). This makes the spear grass more visible and easier to remove the spear grass before it becomes embedded in the skin. 

  2. Thoroughly inspect your dog’s feet/ears/eyes after a walk for evidence of spear grass and remove it!

  3. Avoid walking your dog in areas where there is a lot of spear grass

  4. If you notice your pet licking/chewing at their paws or scratching at their ears please call us to have it checked out before the spear grass has a chance to rupture the ear drum or cause an abscess.