Tips for the removal of Porcupine Quills:


Remember, having a Veterinarian pull quills is always a good choice.


Make sure both you and the dog are as comfortable as possible.  Put the dog on soft bedding - at a working height that does not impede your back, vision or ability.  Put the dog up on a table and secure its front feet together, and back feet together with Vetrap, Coban or some other easily removable tape.  Use a headlamp in a well lit area.  A partner to help comfort and secure the dog is recommended.


Do NOT cut the quills first......This is a myth about "deflating the quills".......It only lengthens the removal time and increases the chance that one of the cut quills is inhaled or gets stuck elsewhere.


Relax.  Be patient, but deliberate.  Don’t rush.  Concentrate on being calm and efficient.


Remove the most difficult and quills furthest back first, or those that are in the way of reaching them.  Removing the easiest or the “low-hanging fruit” will only agitate the dog for the more difficult removals.  Quills in the nose and outer lips tend to be the easiest to remove, but also tend to be more painful for the dog and bloodiest when removed.  Remove quills from the roof of the mouth, back of the tongue, way back in the gums first, as they are the most difficult, however, seem to be less agitating to the dog.


Grasp the quill with a forceps, strong hemostat or quality needlenose pliers. Grasp very close to the tissue. Pull STRAIGHT out........Do not roll or twist the pliers or hemostat as you pull.....This only increases the chances of breaking the quill.


Mentally mark the location of the quill that you are pulling and watch it come out.  Immediately inspect the pulled quill to make sure it is complete and did not break.  If it did break, look for the stub in the location of the original pull and pull it next.


Float the quills off of the forceps or pliers in a bowl of water.


When you feel you are done…..Thoroughly inspect the dog several times over for several days.  Subcutaneous quills in the chest or lips are sometimes quite difficult to detect.  Loose quills in longer coated dogs can slip by undetected, only to embed later.  Watch for infections all over the dog, as you may have missed a quill you did not realize was embedded.


Veterinary Inspection is ALWAYS recommended after pulling quills from a dog.


Soft food for a couple days is recommended.