Porcupine vs. Dog! – How to Deal With Your Dog’s Porcupine Encounter
If you live in a wooded area, chances are that your dog may encounter a porcupine. Porcupines are slow, passive creatures, but they have one of the most effective defensive skills of any animal! A porcupine’s body is covered with special quills, which are designed to penetrate the skin of any attacking predator. The quills are actually modified hairs, which are coated with thick plates of keratin. Contrary to popular belief, a porcupine cannot ‘shoot’ their quills. Rather, the quills become embedded in the skin by direct contact.
If your dog has recently encountered a porcupine, properly removing the quills is absolutely essential in order to prevent complications. Porcupine quills gradually work their way into your dog’s body after expanding by contact with body heat. Quills in the face, neck and chest are the most dangerous. The following information will help you to understand the proper procedure for caring for your dog after a porcupine encounter.
ASSESS THE SITUATION
If your dog only has a few manageable quills, you can most likely remove these without taking your dog to the veterinarian. However, if your dog has severely embedded quills, or an extremely large quantity of quills, you want to take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible. It is feasible for you to remove some of the quills on your own, as long as you have the proper tools.
GATHER TOOLS AND ASSISTANCE
Dogs that have encountered a porcupine are usually in a lot of pain. Even if your dog is well-mannered, it’s important to remember that there is a possibility that your dog will try to bite you when you remove the quills. Try to enlist the help of at least two other people before attempting to remove the quills from your dog. In addition to this, you will need to gather these tools: sturdy needle-nose pliers, scissors, white vinegar, paper towels and antibacterial ointment.
BEGIN THE REMOVAL PROCESS
Pour the vinegar over the area where the quills are embedded, since this will help to slightly loosen the skin around the quill. After that, snip the end of the quill off with the scissors. This allows some of the air to escape from the quill, and makes the quill slightly easier to remove. Grasp the quill with the pliers, as close to your dog’s skin as possible. Using a quick and sharp motion, yank the quill out of your dog’s skin while still maintaining pressure on the pliers. Repeat this procedure until all of the quills are removed from your dog.
Once you have removed all visible quills from your dog, you have two options. You may opt to take your dog to the vet, in order to check for any other embedded quills that may cause harm to your dog. If you believe that you have removed all of the quills from your dog, you can begin treating the afflicted areas with antibacterial ointment in order to prevent infection.
Has your dog ever had a run-in with a porcupine? Tell us about it. What happened? How was the outcome?