Dog Threat Down –
Ripgut, Foxtail, and Bromus Malus

It is a dangerous world out there -especially for our dogs. There are many evil threats that are just lurking around the corner, waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting canine. This is why I am starting a
Dog Threat-Down List.

One of the darkest and nastiest family of evils is the Ripgut, Foxtail and their ilk of Bromus Malus.

All of these Prime Evils have the capacity to kill dogs, and are not afraid to do so; in a seemingly detached, and indiscriminate manner. You may not know it, but chances are you have encountered these spawn of Evil before, and will do so again.

Dog Threat-Down 1 – Ripgut, Foxtail, and Malus Bromus

What is this No-1 Evil on the dog threat-down?


Oh yes – the evil weeds – or Bromus Malus which just sounds a lot more cool and evil. Do not laugh or be fooled by their commonplace appearance, because the danger they pose to animals is very real.

Bromus is a particular species of grass that is common in temperate regions including the Mediterranean countries, and parts of Australia, and America. These Bromus Malus are common where I live, and they become very dangerous especially in the summer months. When the weather turns hot and the rains stop, the Bromus dry out and their seeds become sharp and pointy like ninja shuriken.

They can easily hook onto an unsuspecting dog’s fur, and pierce through paws, skin, ears, and eyes.

Shiba Sephy once inhaled a foxtail, and soon after, started sneezing out blood as the insidious foxtail hook penetrated deeper and deeper into his nasal cavity.

An emergency room visit and $400 later, we got back a groggy and out of sorts Sephy. The next day, he got sick because of secondary infection, likely from the anesthesia tube. This led to another fun-filled vet visit. Fifty dollars and a week later, we finally got back our dog – slightly frayed around the edges.

How to Protect Our Dog from Ripgut, Foxtail, and Malus Bromus

  • Clear out all these evil weeds from our backyard. I usually do this several times throughout the summer to make sure that they are all gone. Both my dogs like to graze in the backyard, and eating these ninja shuriken grasses can be deadly.
  • Vacuum often. My dogs also bring some of these seeds into the house, where they fall off, or get stuck on the carpets. Luckily, my SEBO vacuum does a great job at sucking away this particular brand of evil.
  • SEBO is a bit on the pricey side, but I have been very happy with its performance. My previous vacuum costs a lot less, but it couldn’t even pick-up dog hair.

  • Check our dog’s fur after walks and romps outside in the backyard. Both my dogs are double coated, so these pointy seeds easily get into their undercoat and stick there. Scratching will cause the seeds to work their way into the dog’s skin. Try clearing them out, before that happens.
  • Brush our dog often, to make sure that we remove any rogue seeds that we may have missed, in our earlier inspections.
  • Stay on the hiking path, and keep our dog from going into Foxtail or Ripgut areas. Off-leash walking in dry summer months (May-Sept in California) is not advisable. It took less than a minute for Sephy to stick his nose in the wrong place, and get the Foxtail lodged in his nose.
  • If we suspect our dog has ingested, inhaled, or otherwise assimilated these dangerous seeds, bring him to the vet immediately.

One of the most awful things about these grasses is that they are everywhere. They are all over the hills where I hike, they are all over the parks, and they also live on the edge of neighborhood sidewalks. This makes them very dangerous, an activity killjoy, and number-1 on the dog threat-down list.

Who would have thunk, that a simple weed could cause so much trouble.


  1. susan adams says

    My shiba has had the dreaded foxtail in the nose and ears! Also be on the lookout for the Black woolybear
    caterpillar. It has poison stingers on the ends of it’s fuzz. My Shiba tried to eat one! luckily spit it out but had
    a sore mouth for 2 days. Also be careful of poisonous toads in the winter, rainy months!. Thanks for all your
    tips! best….Susan

    • shibashake says

      Very good to know Susan. Looks like Shibas like living on the edge of danger 😀

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