Porcupines become considerably more active throughout the spring months. This is after a long winter where they hunker down in a den. This can pose problems for dogs, especially because of their curious nature.
If a dog encounters one of these rodents in a foresty area or on a trail, it’s important to know what to do.
There’s a common misconception that porcupines can actually shoot needle-like Wells at predators. However, if a porcupine is touched, their quills can detach. This can leave quills on a dog’s snout or body. Additionally, porcupines can swing their spiked tail at an animal like a club.
If your dog comes running at you and has been quilled, you need to know how to deal with the encounter. The last thing you want to do is try to remove the quills on your own. It requires sedation and should be done by professionals.
Porcupines are not aggressive. They are nocturnal, though, so they are seen mostly at night. If they perceive any kind of threat to themselves or to their den, they will use their defense mechanisms.
If you live in an area where there are a lot of porcupines, you may encounter them from time to time. If you let your dog outside for a potty break at night, they may even encounter one in their own backyard.
As veterinarians will explain, quills can be extremely dangerous to pets. This is because they move inward and act like a barb. It can move deeper and deeper into the tissue of the animal.
The porcupine quills can actually puncture your dog’s skin. It will also be able to move through the muscle and, ultimately, penetrate internal organs. They can also carry a significant amount of bacteria, causing infections.
Avoid pulling the quills out on your own. If you cut the quill, they can splinter. This will make it even harder to have them removed. Plus, it can be extremely painful for your dog.
Call a veterinarian to get your dog in as soon as possible. Minimize the dog’s movements as much as possible so that the quills don’t go deeper. They will need anesthesia or deep sedation so that the quills are removed safely. The vets will use forceps in order to remove the quills individually.
Additionally, if any quills have made it into the soft tissue, they may not be detectable. Sharp points may be felt under the skin.
It’s not uncommon for dogs to be quilled by porcupines. You may have even had a close encounter with one in the past.