What to Do If Your Dog Gets Quilled By a Porcupine


It’s a situation that you never want to encounter, but you should know how to handle things in the event that your dog ever does get quilled by a porcupine. Your first line of defense is to keep your dog on a leash and out of wooded areas, but that doesn’t always work and your dog may still find a porcupine despite your efforts. Here’s what you should do if your dog ever gets himself quilled.

Assess the Severity

If you’re lucky, your dog may receive a minor quilling of just a few quills. As long as the quills aren’t in areas like your dog’s eyelids or mouth, you can safely remove them at home on your own.

However, if your dog has a major quilling of many quills all over his body, or if the quills are located on vital areas such as your dog’s eyes and mouth, then you will need the help of a vet in removing the quills.

No matter what, try to keep yourself calm. Quillings look alarming, but the more that you can stay calm and help to keep your dog still, the less painful the situation will be for your dog.

Remove Quills If Possible

If you feel that you can remove the quills, then start by trimming the spines of the quills down to about an inch or so. Use a pair of clippers or sharp scissors to quickly trim the spines for a smoother, easier removal. Next, take a pair of pliers and quickly pull the quill straight out. It’s important to make sure that you pull out the full quill, including the tip, so that the area doesn’t later get irritated. Try to pull the quills out in a single, fast movement to minimize the pain that this will cause your dog.

Once you’ve removed the quills, clean the area and treat the wounds with some antibiotic ointment.

Head to the Vet

In some cases, your best bet is to head to the vet’s office. If your dog has sustained a serious quilling, it may be just too painful for you to try to remove the quills on your own – the vet can sedate your dog and numb the area. If your dog has quills in his face, particularly around his eyes and muzzle, then you will want a veterinary professional to remove them and to check your dog for any damage the quills may have caused.

Monitor for Infection

Infection is a possibility anytime that your dog’s skin is punctured. If pieces of the quill are left in your dog’s skin, infection may set in. Monitor your dog for signs of infection, such as excess heat in the injured areas, oozing of the wounds, and a higher body temperature in your dog. If you suspect that your dog is battling an infection, or if he exhibits symptoms like lethargy or reluctance to eat, then immediately bring him to the vet.

Keep an eye out for porcupines when you’re walking your dog. It’s a good idea to teach your dog to leave objects – like porcupines – on vocal command. Our dog obedience classes can teach you how to teach this command to your dog.


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