Ouch! Shooting Needles!
They say curiosity killed the cat, but what happens when your dog sticks his nose where he shouldn't...literally? If you share your habitat with these cuties, chaos may ensue.
In actuality, dogs are naturally inquisitive creatures, and a porcupine is often too exciting to resist. Your dog will likely run up to investigate the odd-looking creature and may even attack it. The porcupine is ready, however, with hundreds of needle-like quills that it will release into your dog as soon as it contacts the porcupine. The more aggressive your dog is, the more quills to the face and mouth they will receive. The quills are razor sharp and will penetrate and stick into all of the dog's soft tissue, and to add insult to injury, each quill has a small barb (like a fishhook) at its end that make it extremely difficult and painful to remove. Never pull on the quills or try to remove them yourself. Also, be incredibly careful to keep the quills from breaking off as this will make them impossible for your vet to find and remove. This can be extremely dangerous as the pieces of quill can migrate to distant areas of the body and end up in your dog's organs, causing life threatening complications. Take your dog quickly to a veterinarian for removal of the quills. The dog will need to be anesthetized or heavily sedated and each quill painstakingly and carefully removed. Upon recovery, the vet will prescribe pain medications and antibiotics for your dog.
So, now your dog has recovered and you're ready to hit the trail again. Great! You're certain after the last time that your dog has learned his lesson and will know better than to mess with that pesky porcupine again, right? Wrong. Every dog I have ever seen for porcupine quills has become a repeat offender. So, what is an owner to do? There are some options. The owner of the dog pictured above had to have a wildlife rehabilitator come out to her property and remove the porcupine. If you're walking the dog, keep it on a leash. And if you are leaving your dogs unattended, leave them in a well fenced yard.