Porcupine Quills in your Dog

What to do When your Dog Bites a Porcupine

How to remove Porcupine quills from your dog

My dog here had about 40 small quills from an immature porcupine. I removed about 10 that were preventing her from properly closing her mouth before I snapped this picture.

I was on a casual hike yesterday and my dog bit a porcupine. I will cut right to the chase about what to do, just in case you are scanning for quick info on quills in a dogs face.

Try To Calm your Dog Down

Chances are your dog is pawing at its face trying to figure out what is happening. In order to prevent the porcupine quills from going deeper this needs to be prevented.

Are there Porcupine Quills in your Dogs Mouth?

You should likely get on the phone immediately to find out if a vet is available. If your dog has a serious amount of quills. If there are porcupine quills preventing your dog from closing is mouth. What I did was pull all of the porcupine quills from inside her mouth as soon as possible. I could see one that was laterally in her lip and was about to be out of sight. I could barely see the end of it. Before I went to the vet I made sure to remove any that could potentially become a huge problem.  That depends on how far of a drive you have. I had almost a full hour drive to an emergency veterinarian.

If Your Dog only has a few quills you should just pull them out. Here’s how..

Keeping your dog away from Porcupines.

The porcupine seems like a nice animal, but the dirty quills can cause major infection. Photo: DVS

  • Cover your dogs eyes with a towel
  • Get a Pair of pliers or hemostats
  • Remove the quills with a quick pull

You should Then make sure your dog is on some sort of antibiotic. These quills will likely cause infection. Porcupine are dirty animals and carry a lot of bacteria on their quills from sitting in their dens among feces.

When Your Dog Gets to the Vet

They will  put your dog under and remove the quills. This will allow them to examine closely for deeply embedded porcupine quills that would have gone not noticed. There is a good possibility that there are some quills buried deep if it was a smaller porcupine with really small thin quills.These seem to really slide in deep fast. The porcupine my dog got into yesterday was only about 5 pounds. My dog didn’t bite it, she just nudged it to encourage it to play with her. Because of how spastic she went there was one quill that was an inch long and was in her lip entirely buried. The rest were visible on her nose and chin.  I had an Irish setter quite a few years ago that bit a porcupine. That was a much worse case than what my dog yesterday experienced.

How to Avoid Encountering a Porcupine on the Trail

There is no sure fire method to total avoidance of porcupines, but you can minimize the chance for an encounter by:

  • Hiking with your Dog during the middle of the day: Porcupines are usually nocturnal, they should be resting during daylight usually. However there are always exceptions.
  • Making Extra Noise: This will ideally give the porcupines enough time to make it up the tree before your dog arrives. If it hears you coming it is likely to have more time to evacuate the area.