Last night I spent a good 20 minutes going through Beowolf’s feet and fur plucking out FOXTAILS! The previous years have never been this bad with foxtails and Beowolf has always been lucky about not collecting foxtails but I find myself picking them up around the house as he drops them.
Given my experience at the clinic, I know just how nasty a foxtail can get. Abscesses and infections lead to expensive vet visits and weeks of antibiotics. Well, the good thing about foxtails is they are predictable and work in the same way, their anatomy is designed to “dig” with reverse burs that hold it in place which is why they don’t fall out on their own sometimes.
They can burrow into the skin and work their tract anywhere in the body, leaving room for infections to fester and grow. Sometimes they can work their way out, but it’s not often we see that. Usually once a foxtail burrows and hides it takes a trained hand to remove it, so address it early on before it becomes a problem.
Luckily they are easy to remove!
**If a foxtail has gotten in your dog’s Eye(s), Nose and/or Ear(s) do NOT try to remove them yourself unless you are a trained professional. Please to prevent further injuries, take your pet to the vet**
Signs your pet may have a Foxtail in it’s:
You saw it go in
Tilting head to the side
Shaking head a lot
Possible pain while touching the ear
Vocalization (whining, crying, yelping, biting)
Scratching ears a lot
Inflammation/ redness in ear(s)
Sneezing a lot
Bleeding from nose
Pawing/ scratching/ rubbing nose
Removal of Foxtails from these areas requires a certain tool, a method of restraint safe for everyone or sedation, and training in the removal of foxtails by a professional. I have seen people injure their pet trying to do this at home and needed further medical assistance than they would have. Please don’t be that person. Maybe someday I will do a tutorial on how to perform those tasks at home, if I get 100 likes on this post I will do a video.
Mild soap and water (Dawn is always a safe bet, not too concentrated)
Neosporin (with Lidocaine or Pain reliever)
Hopefully, your dog will be tired during a foxtail check since he likely just came from running around outside.
First what you want to do is a thorough once over, do this in the light to make sure you catch every one of them, as just one can cause damage. Light dogs should be extra thorough, foxtails range in hues of gold and can blend in with fur quite easily! Now you can use your fingers for these but for stubborn ones you can use tweezers or hemostats. Be careful to avoid plucking any hair, if this is painful or uncomfortable for your dog this can keep them from trusting you with their paws in the first place. If you think you will need to take a chunk of hair with a foxtail, just shave between the paw pads. It’s much less uncomfortable than plucking healthy fur from between their toes!
Hot places for foxtails to live:
Between the toes, including underneath the paw pad
In the groin area or belly (longhair or double coated dogs)
Neck/ collar area
Once you’re sure you checked everywhere then it’s time to clean up. If there were spots where foxtails pierced the skin then gently clean the area with soap and water and apply a little bit of Neosporin. This should prevent any mild infection and if necessary, you can put a cone on your dog to prevent licking which can cause problems in itself.
Ways to keep foxtails from clinging:
Shave paws, even if it’s just the paw pads underneath (longhaired dogs have long fur here)
Take your pet to the groomer for a Summer cut
Brush your dog (I would never shave Beowolf, so I brush him and keep up with baths to prevent the fur from turning into Velcro)
Do a good once over after your dog comes in from outside
I hope this was helpful and will update it as more tips and tricks come!
I found this small inexpensive instrument kit that has everything you would need for at home minor treatments.
If you’re near the Sacramento area this summer looking for a great place to hike then look no further than Hidden Falls trails. Nestled in the mountains of Auburn, California. This quiet pristine wilderness is suitable for all levels of hikers, dog hikers, and horse hikers alike!
Location: 7587 Mears Pl, Auburn, CA 95603
As you drive toward Reno the adventure begins, as you slowly leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind the freeway begins to lighten up. You can see the dense forest from the road grow heavier the further you go and it’s a beautiful site to see!
The parking lot is huge, I’ve never had difficulty finding parking here, though it is usually busy along with horse trailers to the side. As you enter the trail there is a vast meadow you walk alongside, depending on the time of year this can be green with tall grass, littered with wildflowers or dry wheatlike stems (hotter months). Nonetheless, it is beautiful and you will often see families enjoying it, horses trotting, or dogs running around exploring. If you continue on the trail begins to descend at once although it’s not difficult to navigate I would still recommend you watch your footing. It’s nice the forest engulfs you and as far as the eye can see there is dense brush and trees everywhere! Green is all over! Horses take this trail as well so remember to share the road, especially if you have kids and/or dogs. The trail zig-zags its way down the mountainside and once you hit the bottom it’s mostly level and an easy stroll to look around and enjoy the sites. At this point you are given a choice which trail to take, one for different levels of hikers, I am obviously a beginner as Beowolf and I are weekend warriors. So we take the shorter hike.
This trail takes you around the mountain and through some smaller paths. You walk alongside a beautiful stream that leads you to the river (shallow and slow), this is great during the summer when it’s hot to let the kids play or dogs romp and cool off. By now, if your dog is anything like Beowolf, he has pulled so much he gave himself a workout and cool water will do him good! Following along the trail there is so much foliage it’s amazing, the smell is invigorating and sweet, while even in the middle of summer it won’t get too hot as there is so much shade!
Eventually, the trail begins its incline which isn’t too bad, it’s not too steep or for long but by now you’ve been walking and so it’s enough to get your heart rate up. It will open up into a meadow as you reach the top, this is usually where I rest and get some water, there are still lots of trees and shade so again it’s not so bad.
Following along you reach the Hidden Falls lookout, which is basically a giant patio that overlooks the river and one of the smaller waterfalls. Depending on the time of year this may be closed off, usually due to construction or repairs, etc. It was closed every time I went (yes the website does show this as well, but other trails lead to different aspects of several waterfalls). Continuing on it then leads to a very small path that apparently cows graze up to on the other side, as there is a gate that is to stay closed at all times so the cows don’t walk through and get lost. I never saw any cows, but I know they were there as there was poop.
This small path leads to a tiny fork in the road, going one way and you continue with the trail, however going the other way and it leads you to another place to overlook the river. There is also a beaten path that leads down to the water, it’s pretty easy to navigate and it’s worth descending for, as there are lots of large rocks to sit on and enjoy the water. It’s also a very shallow area with a nice bank to enjoy the cool water and a nice rest. Which of course I had to let Beowolf play in the water, he was so grateful.
Then we went back up to the trail to go ahead further. Because we were on the short trail we eventually ended up back to the trail map at the beginning of the hike, coming around from the opposite side. Getting back to the parking lot, we had to zig-zag our way back UP the mountain, which it was great going down but not so great going up as the entire time you’re climbing. I clipped the leash to Beowolf’s harness so he could help me up a bit, as he still had the strength and energy to pull me up I let him.
We passed a few horses on the way up which is always nice for 2 reasons: 1- I like looking at horses. 2- There isn’t a lot of room on this path so someone has to move aside and let the horses pass, this gave us opportunities to stop for a quick break as we waited for them to go by. As we reached the top and exit the forest the sun will greet you with a hot slap to the face! I usually take a wider trail that circles through the meadow, allowing Beowolf to run more freely on the long leash and gives myself a chance to just stroll through and catch my breath. There’s also another area where you can overlook the valley as you stand on top of a peak so to speak. We rested and drank more water before calling it a day and heading back to the car.
All in all, it was a great day! I love this hiking spot for its beautiful green scenery and easy accessibility to the river. I wish that when I go next time I’m either in better shape to take a harder hike and make it to the main waterfall, or the lookout deck is open so I can get some great pictures!
I would rate this trip a 5 out of 5.
Roads: Paved the entire way to the parking lot and it’s an easy drive to get there.
Trails: Clean and well maintained. Do watch out for poison ivy off the paths, but there shouldn’t be an issue if you stay on the trails. Everything is marked with arrows and signs where to go and how far you’ve gone.
Environment: It’s covered with foliage but the trails still give you a lot to work for so bring water and comfortable clothes. As well as snacks as all the trails lead to the main picnic area to stop and rest or eat.
Gear:Camelback for sure. Hiking boots aren’t necessary on the short trail but I do not know about the longer trails, yet I see people wear all kinds of shoes, and they seem fine. I had Beowolf wear a hiking pack to carry his own water and food, along with his pet first aid kit and a pair of boots just in case. He didn’t need the boots this time, and a friend went with us and so his dog shared “Pack duties” carrying the load for half the trail.
For the past 9 years, I have lived side by side with Beowolf, my Timberwolf Malamute cross, and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for him. He has gotten me out of some questionable situations, he helped me with my battle with depression, and he is always there for me to this day. Being that he goes with me everywhere, since day 1 practically, I get asked all the time… how did I get him? What’s it like owning him? How is his temperament? Well to answer all of that I need to take you to the beginning because over the past 9 years life hasn’t been easy with a hybrid.
Before getting into the juicy details I would like to introduce you to my new book, Adventures of Puppy Raising. This is a compilation of everything I learned during the puppy years, as well as answering questions from other puppy owners and advice from working in the veterinary field. It has everything a puppy owner should need and then some!
Beowolf was given to me as a gift, he was purchased from a breeder in San Diego and was delivered to me as a surprise in Sacramento. Granted I knew about the puppy for a while before he was delivered so I had time to prepare and research, I was no dummy, I grew up with dogs and admired wolves, obsessed with them was more like it; but I knew that living with a mixed one would be different and boy was it.
First, he was a 3-month-old 30-pound puppy, so not only was he big but he was a baby as well. Knock off what we already know was difficult, teething, potty training, regular training, and socialization. The last 2 I had to wing it and tweak it for his nature. Wolves are social pack animals that spend a ton if not all of their time with each other, so needless to say Beowolf wanted to be around me all the time and would do anything to make that happen. Enter in the destructive phase, he destroyed carpets clawing at the door, and even pulled one completely from the floor and rolled it to the opposite corner of the room. He dug holes in the yard to break out of his kennel and bent most of the links pulling at the gate. He howled every freaking moment he was alone and even while he was with my roommates, he still wanted me. Which leads me to Bring my dog to work phase.
I worked at a movie theater… in a shopping center… there was no doggy daycare nearby and nobody could watch him anyways because he would cry for me, so I improvised. I figured, my Jeep with the back seats down was still a much bigger space than the biggest most expensive crate I could find, so he was better off staying in there. So I changed my hours to closing! and met up with the evening security guard to explain, luckily he was a friend of everyone who worked in the center. I introduced him to Beowolf who he instantly fell in love with, I showed him the bowl of dog food and ice water and had my windows open enough. Also, I parked behind the building where the shade and privacy were better so nobody would bother with him, yep Beowolf had his own condo and security. This went on for 3 months without a hitch until we moved in with friends from work. Big mistake, the other dogs in the house were very aggressive and attacked Beowolf, he was 8 months old needless to say we didn’t stay there long, a week to be specific.
Which leads to the following 6 years of moving and roommates and other housepets. I have no idea how we made it out of that alive, to be honest early on I recall kneeling in front of 6-month-old Beowolf cursing him and crying that he was sent from the devil. I was a little dramatic, but he ate my cellphone! Twice! On purpose! People mock me but he does do things on purpose, once people get to know him they find that to be true. We tackled a lot, food aggression, socialization, dog friendliness, no matter the challenge we came out together on the other side.
Everyone who meets him wants to get one of their own, I’m not ashamed to say that I often play dumb where I got him. The truth is, though he is a remarkable animal, it takes someone willing to work with a hybrid to get the results I did and frankly I still think of myself blessed that he was my first. He taught me a lot about patience, I did tons of research and countless hours of youtube videos on handling wolves and their instincts. This isn’t your typical labrador or energetic pitbull. He’s what’s considered a high content wolfdog, this means that I have no real idea how close his instincts are to surface, what can trigger him to do something and who will be like? He has energy because he was built to run 30 miles a day, he still to this day has separation anxiety because he wasn’t meant to be away from his family (me), just the other day he broke out of my window because I was simply 50 yards away talking with a group of people that were here for training! 50 yards, 50 yards!? Come on Beowolf, dammit.
People who meet him now swear there is something human in him, his ability to comprehend us when we talk to him, you can see him thinking and problem-solving in his eyes. He’s considerate and goofy as hell. But it’s his manner that intrigues people so much, he is wonderful around children, does amazing under pressure, calm in loud settings and even knows how to listen and behave himself when in public places (yes he goes everywhere with me.) He is a certified ESA and Seizure alert dog for me.
All in all a few things are true:
A hybrid in the right hands will make for an amazing animal, in the wrong hands they can be dangerous and left to make a bad name for the mix and the wolf species.
Their intellectual capacity is incredible, there is nothing that they can’t do and no challenge they can’t overcome, whether that’s in your favor or not is… 50/50.
They get big, big teeth, big claws, thick coats, and bigger shit. Beowolf is neutered and still marks and mounts females here and there, he is very dominant and will not back down to any dog so like I said those instincts are strong.
You’re gonna wanna watch them, study their body language like breathing, know what every twitch of his ears means. Each glance to me as a dog bothers him, is a request to get him out of that situation, intervene before your hybrid feels the need to do it himself. Understanding what you’re getting into is only half the battle, but you’ll thank me for that later. Why risk a lawsuit when you can take measures to protect your new best friend, California don’t play with dog bites loosely and most laws are tight on hybrids.
If you can, try and get one, they can be needy af and want all of your attention this can lead to other problems both for you and for them. Not to mention, when your pack is together 24/7 while you go to work every day, you may feed them but don’t think yourself that secure anymore, eventually, you will become the outsider. Not to mention, I have another dog and a cat, and though I love my other dog dearly, she was unexpected and I was really hoping that for once in his life Beowolf could be an only dog. Nonetheless, I try not to feel guilty about spending alone time with each of them, but I know, if Beowolf could have it his way, he would be the only dog in the house.
Separation anxiety is very likely and is not something to be played with. Chances are that most of the dogs you know personally have it, but only show a low grade; whining, pacing, panting. With hybrids it is different, you already read about the house destruction, but there’s more. He’s broken out of windows, climbed out of 2nd and 3 story windows and has been found on the roof several times. He has run away trying to find me, luckily I keep all of his tags updated and kind people called me to alert me that my Big dog is at their house. Honestly, it’s to the point where I worry less, not that someone wouldn’t steal him, they definitely would, but he has what I call a 3-day self-destruction period. He has only ever made it 2 days away from me staying with people he knew before he became uncontrollable to handle. It would surprise me that if he were stolen I would get a call or he would have broken out by day 3 for me to come and get my dog.
I hope my story with Beowolf has helped you if you were thinking of getting one, we had our ups and downs but I wouldn’t change the experience ever! The truth is, Beowolf is my heart and soul and there will never be another dog like him for me. Even though hybrids are a lot to handle a lot of the time, I probably won’t ever live without one for the rest of my life. Beowolf is my best friend, my therapist, and my ride or die, I can’t say that about any human ever in my life.
Don’t miss out on my book available on Amazon now! Includes everything all new puppy owners should know, as well as tips and advice from a veterinary professional! Check it out!
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