There are a few things that we dogs can get into that are difficult to resolve without help from our human friends. Stepping in bubble gum, a stinky encounter with a skunk or wrapping your leash around a tree or pole to name a few. But this time of year, one of my least favorite things to get into is burdock.
It starts off with an innocent chase of a critter into the weeds. Next thing you know, I have the prickly heads of these plants, referred to as burrs, caught in my fur. As soon as I get home, my owners have me pinned to the floor and are giving me the equivalent of a cheap haircut.
I did a little research into burdock and learned some interesting stuff. Mother Nature designed the burrs to easily catch on to fur and clothing for seed dispersal. Burrs cause local irritation and can possibly cause intestinal hairballs in pets if ingested, so don’t try chewing them out yourselves. But perhaps the most interesting piece of learning was the following:
After taking his dog for a walk one day in the early 1940s, George de Mestral, a Swiss inventor, became curious about the seeds of the burdock plant that had attached themselves to his clothes and to the dog’s fur. Under a microscope, he looked closely at the hook-and-loop system that the seeds use to hitchhike on passing animals aiding seed dispersal, and he realized that the same approach could be used to join other things together. The result was Velcro®.
What is the worst thing your dog has gotten into?