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What happens if a dog eats a burr?

What happens if a dog eats a burr?

Dogs need to go outside to take care of their bathroom business and to get some exercise as well. Those trips outside are almost always uneventful, but you may not notice something important. While outside, your dog may have unknowingly picked up some items that could prove harmful to them.

The items we’re talking about here are burrs. You may know them as those spiky little balls that some plants have. Burrs have a habit of getting tangled up in all sorts of things and dog fur happens to be one of those.

Bad things can happen when burrs get stuck to your dog’s fur. Learn more about what could happen in that scenario by continuing with the rest of this article.

What Happens if a Dog Eats a Burr?

A burr getting tied up in your dog’s fur is one thing. That’s a problem, but you can resolve it without endangering your pet.

The real issue arises when your dog eats the burr in an attempt to remove it. Detailed below are the potential complications that may arise from your dog eating a burr.

Lesions on Your Dog’s Face

First off, you may see lesions appear on your dog’s face after they eat a burr. Those lesions may appear all over your dog’s face. They may also vary in size.

Bleeding from the Mouth

Biting down on the burr can open up wounds along your dog’s mouth and tongue. Your dog will start to bleed from those wounds.

Discomfort while Eating or Drinking

Those wounds will make eating and drinking very painful for your dog. You will notice them visibly struggle whenever they have to eat or drink. They may even hold off on eating or drinking for a while because of those wounds.


Getting any food or drink to stay down can prove difficult for your dog if they’re dealing with a burr. Your dog may choke while trying to eat or drink anything.

Increased Aggression

Dogs tend to become aggressive when they are in pain. Your dog may growl at you if you try to approach them after they’ve eaten a burr. Remember that they are growling because they’re in pain and not because they’re angry at you.

What to Do if My Dog Eats a Burr?

Your dog will experience a significant amount of pain and discomfort after eating a burr. During that time, you must stay by their side to offer companionship, care, and assistance.

Included in this section are the things you must do to help out your dog after they eat a burr. Keep them in mind so you know how to react if you’re ever faced with that kind of emergency.

Monitor Your Pet Closely

A dog eating a burr can be a troublesome occurrence. However, that may not always necessitate an emergency visit to the veterinarian.

Take a look at your dog and any wounds they sustained from eating the burr. Check how bad the wounds are and how your dog is dealing with them.

Monitor your dog for the next few hours and see if they’re acting normally. Also, observe them while they’re eating or drinking to see if they’re having any trouble.

If your dog looks fine aside from the small wounds, you don’t have to take them to the veterinarian. You just need to wait for their wounds to heal.

If your dog is showing visible signs of pain and discomfort, you must take a more proactive approach.

Take Your Dog to the Veterinarian

After some time, it may become clear that your dog’s condition is not improving. Don’t wait any longer and take your dog to the veterinarian.

The veterinarian may prescribe one of two treatment methods for your pet.

In less severe cases, the veterinarian may prescribe some antibiotics to treat your dog’s wounds along with some pain medication. Those will help make your dog more comfortable as they continue to recover from the incident.

Once they have expelled the burr from their system, your dog will return to normal and they won’t need the medication anymore.

Unfortunately, that method of treatment may not suffice for all cases. The burr may have severely damaged your dog’s throat or other internal organs. In that case, surgical intervention may be required to remove the damaged tissue along with the burr.

Your dog may also have to undergo antibiotic therapy as part of their treatment.

Bring Your Dog Back to the Veterinarian for Follow-Up Visits

Removing the entire burr in one go may prove difficult especially if it’s quite large. To remove the burr completely, your veterinarian may ask you to bring your dog back for future visits.

Can You Wash Burrs Out of Dog Fur?

Removing burrs stuck to your dog’s fur is possible. However, washing them out may not work effectively.

Remember that those burrs have hooks. Those hooks won’t detach easily from your dog’s fur even after they’re exposed to water.

You have to use other means to remove the burrs from your dog’s fur.

Tools such as metal combs and pliers can be used to remove the burrs. The pliers can be used to crush the burrs and then you can use the comb to remove the small pieces. You can even use your hands to remove small burrs but wear gloves before doing so.

You can also trim your dog’s hair to remove the burrs. Grab a pair of scissors and cut the patch of hair that contains the burr. Your dog’s coat will be uneven for a while, but you’ll save them from a lot of potential pain.

How Do You Prevent Burrs from Sticking to Your Dog?

Burrs are bad news for dogs. The contents of this article clearly highlight that fact.

So, is there anything you can do to protect your pet from those burrs? There are indeed some preventative measures you can take and we’ve detailed them below.

Avoid Walking Your Dog in Areas with Tall Grass

Perhaps the easiest way to protect your dog from burrs is to carefully choose where you walk with your pet. Avoid any spot with tall grass because there may be burrs hiding in there.

Put Protective Clothing on Your Dog

Protective pieces of clothing can shield your dog effectively from burrs. Purchase a vest and some shoes so your dog has adequate protection.

Spray Some Vegetable Oil on Your Dog’s Fur

You can also spray some vegetable oil on your dog’s fur to stop the burrs from clinging to it. Different oils can actually be used for lubrication, but vegetable oil is the best choice because it won’t upset your dog’s stomach if they lick it.