They come out of hibernation and into our yards. They are black with a white stripe and smell horrible, or they are brown and covered in pokey quills. Know which critters I am talking about now? Yep, skunks and porcupines. These little guys can wreak havoc on dogs and their owners.
At Avon Animal Hospital, we see a lot of the after effects of skunks and porcupines. Whether it is a dog with a muzzle full of quills or a panicked owner whose dog is reeking of skunk. Sometimes encounters with these wilderness critters are unavoidable, here’s what you need to know:
Have a skunk bath kit ready: pick up a bottle of skunked shampoo to have on hand. THEY ACTUALLY DO WORK! There are a few different kinds, some that can even be used in the washing machine on bedding. Follow the directions on the bottle carefully for best results.
If your dog has come upon a porcupine it might be in your best interest not to try to pull the quills out yourself. This can be very painful for the pet, and very scary. When a pet comes into the clinic to have the quills removed, we sedate the pet for their comfort and safety, and so we can have a very thorough exam. Especially if there are quills in the dog’s mouth! There can be HUNDREDS of quills! Often some of the tiny quills are hard to see or they have gone in quite deep, so it requires “feeling”. Our technicians and vets are very good at feeling quills that can’t be seen. When all of the quills are removed, the dog is given an anti-inflammatory for pain and swelling, and antibiotic for a possible infection.
Hopefully, you and your dog are able to avoid these forest creatures this spring and summer!