When traveling abroad with your versatile dog it’s always hard to know all the local issues or hazards you should look out for in a new area. When hunting in the Pacific Northwest there is an invasive grass, Cheat Grass. Well known by locals, it can cause major trouble for versatile dogs. Cheat Grass is a non-native grass from Asia that grows about 2ft tall. During the sumer it quickly dries leaving the seed pods to fall and spread this invasive grass.
If your a fan of Chucker hunting locating Chucker can be as easy as locating large swaths of Cheat Grass. The seeds are one of their favorite winter foods. The bad part about Cheat Grass are some tiny barbs on the seed pods that run the opposite direction along the seed pod. These little barbs allow them to easily grab ahold of clothing or fur of the innocent passerby.
What this means for our Versatile dogs is these little evil seed pods will find their way into ears, between toes, pads and even deep into the fur. Because of the barbs once the seed pods are attached they will start working their way deeper into the fur. If they are not found and removed they can penetrate the skin. Once that starts they will continue to work their way under the skin eventually leading to infection and the need for surgery to remove.
Defeating this invasive grass is a simple as being able to identify it. Trying to stay out of it if possible but, more importantly, checking your companion regularly and removing any he has picked up during an outing. I keep a set of hemostats handy as this helps in the removal. By learning what this grass looks like and regularly checking your Versatile dog you can prevent a costly trip to the vet to have it removed.