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OutFox Field Guard

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Approved by Vets

The OutFox Field Guard is recommended by vets to protect against foxtails and as solution for scavenging dogs.

As featured in

Patented Design

Provide Protection

Helps to protect dogs’ eyes, ears, nose and mouth from barbed grass seed penetration**. Also used to prevent scavenging and keep pesky insects away from your dog’s face.

Comfortable & Functional

The lightweight mesh catches foxtails while providing a breathable material that does not obstruct vision and offers protection against harmful UV rays.

“Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. After seven times to the vet, we finally have a product that works.

Questions

Will the OutFox® Field Guard irritate my dog’s face and head?

Every part of the Field Guard was designed with the dog’s comfort and safety in mind. All seam edges are intentionally on the outside of the Field Guard so they will not scratch or irritate the dog in any way. The Field Guard is designed so that it rests lightly on top of the dog’s head and leaves ample air space all around it. Dogs typically become so comfortable wearing the Field Guard they forget they have it on, even when drinking from a bowl of water.

Can my dog drink while wearing the Field Guard?

Yes! The dog will naturally put his mouth down into a bowl of water and the water quickly seeps through the mesh.

Does the OutFox® Field Guard come in other colors?

No. It was designed in black because it is the easiest color for dogs to see through.

Can my dog pant and stay cool while wearing the Field Guard?

Yes! The Field Guard is large enough to allow dogs to pant, bark and do everything else they normally do. Since it’s constructed of fine mesh & designed with plenty of space around the head, air can easily circulate. Another design benefit is that the black mesh acts as a sun shade. However; one should always be aware of the possibility of overheating and take precautions to prevent this (with or without the Field Guard). See the Safety Information page for more details.

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How to Protect Your Dog From Foxtails and Cheatgrass

Jenna Stregowski is a registered veterinary technician, hospital manager, and writer with over 20 years of expertise in the field of pet medicine. She is an expert in routine wellness, preventative medicine, emergency, and specialty care. Jenna has also written for DMV 360 and DogTime.

Amy Fox has more than 15 years of experience in the veterinary field and is skilled in emergency medicine, surgery, dentistry, shelter medicine, and general medicine. She is committed to making sure pet owners have the up-to-date information they need.Dr. Fox continues to practice emergency medicine, general medicine, surgery, and dentistry in New York City and has worked as a medical writer and editor in a variety of roles. Dr. Fox is passionate about client education and making sure pet parents have the most up-to-date, accurate, and accessible information to empower them as caregivers and companions.

Dragan Todorovic/Getty Images

You might have heard that grass awns are potentially dangerous to dogs, but do you know why they are harmful? The seed pods from tall grasses like foxtail and cheatgrass can actually attach to a dog and become embedded in the skin. Left untreated, these foreign bodies can migrate through the body and cause serious inflammation and possibly infection.

You can help protect your dog from foxtails, cheatgrass, and other harmful grass awns by learning how to identify these potentially dangerous grasses. The sooner you recognize the signs of grass awn problems in your dog, the easier you can help your dog and prevent more serious injury.

What Are Grass Awns?

Grass Awn

A grass awn is the seed pod of certain tall grasses that grow as invasive weeds, including common examples like foxtail and cheatgrass. Each plant can produce thousands of seeds, and these grasses can be found throughout North America especially in the Western United States.

These weedy grasses form seed pods that dry out and scatter in the summer. Many of these seed pods have tiny barbs in them that allow them to easily attach to animals and objects. This is nature’s way of spreading the grass seeds for propagation.

When a dog moves through tall grasses, seed pods can easily attach to its body. The tiny barbs ensure that the grass awn moves in one direction, allowing it to potentially embed into the skin and migrate deeper and deeper into the tissues as a foreign body.

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Grass awns are sometimes called “mean seeds” because of the harm they can cause to dogs. The risk is highest during the summer when the seed pods are dry and loosen easily from the grass.

Why Are Grass Awns Dangerous to Dogs?

Grass awns from weeds like cheatgrass and foxtail first become attached to a dog’s coat while running or walking through these tall grasses. The height of many dogs lines up well with the location of the seed pods on the grasses, and contact with the grass allows the sharp, lightweight grass awns to stick to the dog. Movement from the dog allows the grass awn to potentially pierce the dog’s skin, becoming embedded due to the barbs. Further motion enables the grass awn to migrate. Foxtail seeds can also separate from the pod and become embedded.

Grass awns most commonly get caught in a dog’s paws, skin, nostrils, ears, and eyes. They may also become embedded deeper in the body. Grass awns have been known to migrate through the body wall and into the chest and abdominal cavities.

When a grass awn is embedded, the body responds with inflammation. Cells begin to wall off the area to contain the foreign object and avoid a potential infection, forming an abscess. Many dogs develop a painful, swollen lump where the grass awn is located. Embedded grass awns can lead to serious infections and other complications.

Signs of Foxtail or Cheatgrass Problems in Dogs

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen and/or painful lump
  • Puncture hole
  • Discharge or bleeding
  • Licking, chewing, or pawing at the affected area
  • Limping (if legs/paws affected)
  • Shaking head (if ears affected)

If you notice these or any other signs of illness in your dog, contact your veterinarian right away. Let your vet know if your dog has been around tall grasses. The sooner a grass awn is found, the easier it is to treat. Do not wait for the problem to resolve on its own. Grass awns are very unlikely to fall out on their own and usually get worse over time.

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Treatment for Grass Awn Problems

Your veterinarian will closely examine your dog, especially any areas that are swollen, painful, or appear to have a puncture wound. In many cases, the vet will not know if the problem has been caused by a foreign body like a grass awn until further diagnostics are done.

If your dog is having respiratory issues, digestive problems, or other general signs of illness, imaging such as x-rays and/or an ultrasound may be warranted. Blood and urine may also be tested to look for evidence of infection, organ dysfunction, and/or blood cell abnormalities.

Your dog may need to be sedated if the grass awn is in a sensitive area like the mouth, nose, eye, or ear, or if the affected area is very painful. If possible, your vet may try to remove the grass awn while your dog is still under sedation. If the grass awn is suspected to be in the nasal cavity, the vet may recommend a referral for rhinoscopy. This involves putting a tube with a tiny camera into the nose and retrieving it with a small tool that is passed through the tube. In many cases, the abscess can be opened, the foreign body removed, and the area flushed out and cleaned.

In other cases, more invasive surgery will be needed to remove the grass awn and your dog will be placed under general anesthesia. Exploratory surgery may be recommended if diagnostic tests indicate a problem in the chest, abdomen, or deep within the tissues of the body. This can be a much more complicated procedure and your vet may recommend referral to a specialist who can do additional imaging as well as provide more intensive care post-operatively.

How to Protect Your Dog from Foxtails and Cheatgrass

If your dog has been in an area with tall grasses, be sure to check his body for grass awns, wounds, and swollen areas. Look at the paws closely, checking the tops and bottoms of the feet and between the toes. Check the ears and mouth. Brush out your dog’s coat thoroughly after any off-leash walks in areas that may have tall grasses and remove any foreign objects from your dog’s coat. Keep a close eye on him for the next few days.