If you’re a dog owner and have a yard, chances are your dog spends lots of time there. It’s nice to let your dog spend lots of time outside, and when the weather isn’t great and long walks aren’t in the cards, it’s nice to be able to let your dog out for a few minutes.

But beware of a new warning from veterinarians about a new dog killer that is on the rise and could be hiding in your yard. The concern is foxtail grass (see video below for more).

Mostly found in the Western half of the U.S., foxtail grass, a grass-like weed, can cause major damage to a dog’s skin, eyes, nose, feet, and stomach. The most dangerous part is the seed awns.

From WebMD:

Foxtail plants can be risky for your dog. The barbed seed heads of the foxtail plant can work their way into any part of your dog or cat, from the nose to between the toes and inside the ears, eyes, and mouth. They can even simply dig themselves directly into a patch of skin.

These little seeds don’t get broken down by the dog’s body, so once embedded, your dog can develop a very serious infection. The seeds don’t ever work their way out the way a splinter might work its way out of a human’s hand or foot. In fact, if anything, the seeds can go deeper and deeper into a dog’s body. The situation can become so serious that, if not treated, can lead to death.

The seeds are hard to find — particularly if your dog has long and/or thick hair. So the best way to prevent your dog from having an embedded seed is to clear your yard completely of foxtail grass.

According to this report:

At this time of year … lush heads that resemble a finer version of wheat or barley. But the moment the plants start to dry in the summer the heads start to fall apart, and each barbed seed becomes a danger to any dog who goes near it.

Be sure to be on the lookout for foxtail grass when you take your dog on walks or to the park. Foxtail grass can be found pretty much anywhere, including along sidewalks and roads, in fields, and around poles like lampposts, mailboxes, and even fire hydrants.

If you want to know what behaviors to be on the lookout for and ways to further prevent Foxtail seeds from becaoming a serious issue, hop on over to WebMD and read through their lists.

And check out this video to learn more!