My Dog Ate A Burr What Do I Do: Treatment & Prevention Tips

Sometimes, your dog will get hold of something you don’t want them to eat. This can be a variety of things: an old sock, an errant piece of chicken from dinner, and even some pieces of a new toy that haven’t been properly chewed up yet. But the situation we’re talking about today is one that’s more common than you might think: your dog ate a burr. If your dog has eaten a burr, don’t panic. While it may seem like the end of the world, there are many ways you can help your dog recover.

What is a Burr?


Burrs are the small, spiky seed pods of plants such as barberry, burdock, and cocklebur. Burrs contain a lot of tiny, sharp spines that can cause irritation and damage to your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. The pods contain small hooks or spines that latch onto fur and clothing when they are brushed up against. A burr attaches itself to your dog’s fur, like the bottom of the tail or around the ears. When swallowed by dogs and other pets these hooks or spines can get caught in the throat or intestines causing discomfort and other gastrointestinal problems.

In addition to pain and inflammation, a burr can lead to death. Burrs may and may not be poisonous and they do not contain any toxins that can cause serious harm to your dog. However, burrs can pose a choking hazard if they get lodged in your dog’s throat. If you see your dog choke on a burr, take him immediately to the vet for medical attention.

What Happens When My Dog Eats a Burr?

When dogs eat burrs, they can experience some serious digestive issues.

If your dog eats a few burrs, he may experience some minor gastrointestinal distress—but if he eats a lot of burrs at once, he could end up with a blockage in his intestines or severe inflammation in his stomach or intestines. This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even death if it isn’t treated quickly.

Signs That Your Dog Has Eaten Burrs

If you’re walking your dog and notice that it’s acting a little strange, it might be because it ate burrs.

Check for the following symptoms if you think your dog has eaten a burr:

  • Your dog is scratching its skin intensely
  • Your dog is acting lethargic (or even limp)
  • Your dog is vomiting
  • Your dog is drooling more than usual
  • Your dog has a lot of trouble breathing
  • You notice small pieces of green or brown material in his poop

How To Treat Your Dog If It Has Ingested A Burr

If your dog has ingested a burr, you should bring it to a veterinarian immediately. If you can, bring the burr with you—the vet will be able to tell you if it’s poisonous or not.

If your dog has ingested a poisonous burr, they may experience vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, or swelling in their throat that makes it hard for them to breathe. If this happens to your dog, take them immediately to a veterinarian—do not wait for symptoms to develop.

The vet will probably want to take x-rays and administer a laxative to remove any foreign objects from the gastrointestinal tract. If there are no signs of blockage or infection within 48 hours, then your dog should be okay.

If your dog is experiencing no symptoms from ingesting a non-poisonous burr, then you can try giving them the milk of magnesia (a white liquid chalk) or hydrogen peroxide (a clear liquid). This will help flush out any remaining toxins from the body.

How To Prevent Dogs From Eating Burrs

If you have a dog, you know that they love to eat anything and everything. When it comes to burrs, though, there are ways to prevent your dog from eating them.

-The best way to prevent future burrs is to keep your dog’s fur clean and brushed. Regular brushing after walks is a great way to remove burrs and prevent them from recurring. Vegetable oil-based cooking sprays are another option that can make your dog’s burr removal easier. Vegetable oil is safer than other body oils.

-You need to keep your yard clean of burrs. You can do this by cutting the grass regularly or raking up any leaves or branches that might contain burrs. If you have an outdoor space where your dog spends time, make sure there is nothing in it that could contain burrs.

-If you have a dog who loves to spend time outside, consider using a leash when you do so. This will keep the dog close enough to you that if they start eating something dangerous, you can stop them before any damage is done.

-If your dog does eat burrs or other harmful plants or berries, take them immediately to the vet for treatment as soon as possible after ingestion occurs because some types can cause serious health problems if not treated quickly enough.

-You can also spray some peanut butter on your lawn before you let your dog out so that they will want to lick it off instead of eating the grass and getting stuck with a burr in their mouth.

Final thoughts

Burrs are the bane of a dog owner’s existence. They can be found on almost every type of plant, and they’re especially prevalent in areas where there are fields or other places with lots of wild plants. If your dog eats a burr, it can cause problems ranging from mild discomfort to serious health issues. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to prevent your dog from eating these prickly plants.

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