Extreme Canine Mask For Protection From Foxtails

Our canine partners are fortunately not affected by the current global pandemic, but it turns out there are other dangers that might necessitate them to wearing masks: Foxtail seeds. After getting a $400 vet bill for extracting a foxtail from his dog, [Hildeguard]’s ear, [Amos Dudley] decided to take the threat seriously and made her a form-fitting 3D printed mask.

The only commercial solution [Amos] could find was the “OutFox Field Guard”, which is a $50 vinyl-coated mesh bag that covers the dog’s entire head. It had the unfortunate side effects of causing some other dogs to try and rip it off and does not allow easy access to the mouth for treats or balls. [Hilde]’s custom mask was designed in CAD after creating a rough 3D scan of her head with an iPhone app. The bottom is open to allow [Hilde] to freely use her mouth, while the nose and ears holes are covered with mesh. Custom heat-formed polycarbonate lenses cover the eye holes. The mask itself was printed using Draft resin, and the inside was padded with a thin layer of foam. It might also be possible to create a silicone version using a 3D-printed mold. The top features an integrated GoPro mount, and we can’t help but wonder what other electronic upgrades could be fitted to this sci-fi-looking mask.

In the field, the mask worked well and did not seem to bother [Hilde]. Unfortunately, it did not solve the problem of other dogs trying to rip it off at the park, so for the moment [Amos] is only using it for more solitary activities like hiking.

It doesn’t look like [Amos] is struggling in that department, but if you need some help burning of your dog’s energy, you can always built them a 3D printed automatic ball launcher.


33 thoughts on “Extreme Canine Mask For Protection From Foxtails

  1. You are going to need to cover a lot more than the head.
    At some point our retriever sat down on the trail and got one up the output port. That festered and required surgery to remove.

        1. On the rare occasion that a foxtail makes it to a lung and perforates it, they handle it by lying down and being fertilizer for that foxtail seed and everything else in the immediate area. :-)

    1. Cats can catch and spread coronaviridae to each other, dogs not so much and the PCR test is often misleading with animals that lick their owners who are infected. They are picking up enough viral fragments to register without actually being infected, otherwise they need to start warning people that toilets can also get infected, well actually you are more likely to catch covid-19 of a toilet than a dog.

  2. I’m not amused, this is animal cruelty. This contraption will cook the dog’s brain and eyes in summer. It only serves the dog’s owner – to bolt an action cam to his pet.

    1. No more than wearing a bike helmet while cycling, the dog can pant, just give him water. And besides what is more cruel, a thin helmet on the head or the plant equivalent of porcupine quills in the face?

    2. The police and military have been using such protection, for a long time and in training they can risk pushing their dogs (not to mention the humans) close to death as some breeds don’t know when to stop, but that is more about the conditions and the dog’s behaviour. Source, a retired military dog trainer up the road from me who recognised my own retired military working dog for what she is and told me all about the breed, mal-dutch X, and how the German Shepards are much more sensible. They will just decide they have had enough and seek a shady spot to rest rather than running until they die of overheating.

  3. What’s even more impressive to me than making the helmet is getting the dog to wear it. If you tried this on a cat it wouldn’t appear HaD but the Darwin Awards!

  4. I am surprised about the seriousness of this issue. I have always walked my dogs next to fields full of foxtails and I have never had an issue. I never considered them a hazard before, just an annoying seed that gets stuck in their coat. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. Probably best painting the “helmutt” (yeah i just invented that) white to keep things cooler. Maybe incorporate a couple more mesh vents to keep some air moving around. Great work

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