Protect Pets From Cheatgrass

I am writing a note to residents who are not mowing or clearing debris from their lawns and sidewalks. As I have dogs, I have begun to see articles written about the danger of cheatgrass, a type of grass also called foxtail. We are in the season where dried long growing grass is often seen all around town, especially where lawns and yards are unkempt.

If you look up cheatgrass on the internet, the image usually shows what looks like a chaff of wheat. Each one has short spiny extensions that house dried sharp seeds. Many hikers are familiar with this plant problem when they look at their socks or pant legs while hiking through dry areas of tall vegetation.

My neighborhood has three houses in a row in my block whose owners have let their grass go. It’s now encroaching onto the sidewalks where many people walk their dogs. Throughout Eugene and even in our parks (especially in the borders of the properties), cheatgrass is growing and getting tall. While enjoying a walk your dog might end up with a terrible case of sneezing or eye trouble. Sometimes cheatgrass can even make its way into the brain of the dog.

You might wonder how this happens. If you are not watching where the dog may be sniffing (which is a typical pastime of dogs), they can easily end up with tiny seeds all over their body. One of my dogs has fine white fur. And he can quickly brush next to the grass or even stick his face into the grass. Once I see all the many seeds stuck to him I have to quickly remove them and they are everywhere. It’s like an explosion of seeds.

If you don’t get all of the seeds using a scissor or tweezer you might have to take the dog to a vet. And that can be costly or possibly difficult to find a vet that is available to help. Just remember to guide your dog away from anything that looks like a fluffy stalk of wheat.

Most important, please consider all the beautiful dogs we have in this town that would appreciate home and property managers or owners mowing or at least clearing away the tall grass in the adjacent public sidewalks.

Aviva Suchow