épillets chien

Spikelets in Dogs: Prevention, Symptoms and Treatment

Spikelets, these small wild seeds that seem harmless, represent a little-known danger for our four-legged friends. Each year, with the arrival of spring and summer, the risk of exposure to spikelets increases significantly for dogs. This article walks you through prevention methods, symptoms to watch for, and treatments available to protect your dog from these natural threats.

What is a Spikelet?

Spikelets are small, pointed seeds found in certain grass plants. Their structure allows them to easily cling to dogs' fur, but their sharp end can also pierce the skin and become embedded in different parts of the dog's body, such as the ears, eyes, paws or skin, thus causing irritation and infections.

Prevention of Spikelet Problems

Prevention is crucial to protecting your dog from the dangers of spikelets. Here are some preventive measures:

  • Avoid Risky Areas: Limit your dog's access to fields and tall grassy areas during risky months.
  • Examine your Dog After Each Walk: Check his coat, paws, ears and eyes for the presence of spikelets.
  • Regular Grooming: A short, well-groomed coat reduces the chance of a spikelet getting stuck on it.

Symptoms of Spikelet Irritation or Infection

Spikelets can cause various health problems in dogs. Pay attention to the following symptoms:

  • Head shaking or excessive ear scratching
  • Lameness or incessant licking of a paw
  • Redness, swelling or discharge from the eyes
  • Persistent cough if spikelet is inhaled
  • Swollen, red, or drainage areas on the skin

Treatment of Spikelet Problems

If you suspect your dog has been affected by a spikelet, consult a veterinarian immediately. Encrusted spikelets often require professional extraction to avoid complications. In some cases, antibiotics or anti-inflammatories may be prescribed to treat infections.


Spikelets pose a serious threat to the health of dogs during the warm months. By taking preventative measures and remaining alert for symptoms of irritation or infection, you can help protect your four-legged friend. Knowledge and prevention are your best allies in the fight against the dangers posed by spikelets.

FAQs about Spikelets in Dogs: Prevention, Symptoms and Treatment

Q1: What are the first signs of a spikelet infestation in a dog?

Answer: Early signs may include excessive licking of a specific area, frequent head shaking, repetitive sneezing, sudden limping, or signs of pain and discomfort. If you notice any of these symptoms, examine your dog closely and consult a veterinarian.

Q2: Are all dogs likely to be affected by spikelets?

Answer: All dogs can be affected by spikelets, but those with long coats or those who spend a lot of time outdoors in grassy areas are particularly at risk.

Q3: How can I prevent spikelet problems?

Answer: The best prevention includes brushing your dog's coat regularly, checking his skin carefully after walks, especially during warm months, and maintaining good hygiene of sensitive areas like the ears, eyes and between the pads.

Q4: What should I do if I find a spikelet on my dog?

Answer: If the spikelet is visible and easily accessible without causing pain to your dog, you can try gently removing it with tweezers. However, if the spikelet is deeply embedded or your dog shows signs of pain, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian immediately.

Q5: Can spikelets cause serious infections?

Answer: Yes, spikelets can become lodged in the skin, ears, eyes or even inhaled, leading to infections and abscesses. If left untreated, they can migrate deeper into the body and cause serious health problems.

Q6: Are spikelets present all year round?

Answer: Spikelets are most present during the warm months of the year, spring and summer, when the grasses are dry. However, in some climates they can pose a risk almost year-round.

Q7: Can a dog ingest spikelets? What are the risks ?

Answer: Yes, a dog can ingest spikelets by licking or chewing areas where these seeds have attached. This can lead to gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting, loss of appetite, or abdominal pain. Consult a veterinarian if you suspect your dog has ingested a spikelet.

Q8: How do veterinarians treat problems caused by spikelets?

Answer: Treatment depends on the location and severity of the infestation. This can range from simple extraction of the spikelet under local anesthesia to surgical interventions for more complex cases where the spikelet has migrated deeply.

Q9: Can I use a product to repel spikelets?

Answer: There is no specific repellent product against spikelets. The best defense remains prevention by regularly checking your dog's coat and maintaining good hygiene.

Q10: Are there dog breeds more at risk than others?

Answer: Although all dogs can be affected, breeds with long or curly hair, such as Poodles, Golden Retrievers or Cocker Spaniels, are often at greater risk due to their coats which can easily trap spikelets.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.