Foxtails and Other Weed Seeds
Lots of weeds have seeds with clever systems for latching onto the fur of passing animals and distributing themselves. Foxtails are probably the best known, but there are plenty of others. The problem is that their attachment system of little barbs is so effective that they often fail to drop off. Once they get into the fur, they tend to move forward, eventually reaching skin. Dogs have required surgery for foxtails that have burrowed tunnels under the skin or gotten stuck in ears, noses, or eyes.
Photography by Cheryl A. Ertelt
If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, keep an eye out for weed seeds stuck in her coat.
The seeds dry over the summer and are at their worst in late summer and early fall. Any time you go into the great outdoors, especially when weed seeds are at their worst, give your Yorkie a good once-over once you're back inside. A thorough brushing will uproot most weed seeds. Also check in ears and carefully around eyes, nose, and mouth.
If your dog suddenly starts sneezing repeatedly, a foxtail could have become lodged in the nose. Head shaking or pawing at the ears might indicate a weed seed in the ears. Compulsive licking of a paw might mean a foxtail is hidden there. If you can't isolate the problem, a visit to your veterinarian is in order.