What to Do if Your Dog Gets Quilled or Skunked

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What to Do if Your Dog Gets Quilled or Skunked

Camping dogs live the good life—until they stick their snouts where they don’t belong. If your pooch has crossed paths with a skunk or por

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Camping dogs live the good life—until they stick their snouts where they don’t belong. If your pooch has crossed paths with a skunk or porcupine, your camping trip is about to change dramatically. You might be able to deal with this in the field, but there’s a good chance old Bowser will need a trip to the vet or spa. Here’s the drill for each.

Get to the Point

According to veterinarians, a dog with a dozen or so quills stuck in the nose, chin, or lips is a DIY job. First, drape a towel over the dog’s eyes to help it remain calm. Next, grasp a quill firmly with pliers. Often the dog will instinctively back away at the first sensation of pain, and the quill will pop out. Repeat as necessary and spread the procedure out over an hour or two, if needed, to give the dog a break. Go for a walk, take a rest, and administer a dose of tasty treats in between sessions with the pliers.

If your pooch is pin-cushioned with more quills than you can handle, or if they are embedded in the mouth or tongue or near the eyes, you need to break camp and get to a vet. Trim the quills with sharp scissors to keep them from catching on brush or clothing, but leave enough of each exposed for the doctor to work with.

Stop the Funk

If your pet gets sprayed by a skunk, you will quickly find out who your good friends are—and it’s a safe bet you won’t have many. Deskunkifying is a lonely task. If you’re close to civilization, head for a pet store or outdoor sporting goods shop and hope they carry a commercial skunk soap. Otherwise, begin by bathing the dog with a solution of one quart (1 L) of hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup (120 mL) of baking soda, and 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of mild dishwashing liquid. Lather, rinse, and repeat. Again and again, most likely.

This article was adapted from Field & Stream’s Total Camping Manual.

Total Camping Manual Book cover

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