The best way to sedate a dog before removing porcupine quills is to use a natural remedy. This includes chamomile, Valerian, and ginger oils. If the natural methods aren’t working, you can ask your vet to prescribe Diazepam or Dexmedetomidine. These are approved by the FDA and will keep your dog sedated during the removal process.
Who said curiosity was just for cats?
As loyal and well trained as our pups may be, they can’t help but stick that lovable snoot in places it doesn’t belong.
From skunks to possums, there are plenty of nefarious little critters who love to provide your dog with plenty of mischief.
While washing the skunky stench off your curious canine can be harmless (and even humorous), other animals may administer natural defenses that might not be so forgiving.
A porcupine attack on your dog can be overwhelming to the senses. But removing porcupine quills can prove to be a challenge.
Before attempting to remove the quills, make sure your dog is relaxed and either fully or semi-sedated before proceeding.
Start With Comforting Toys
The first thing you’ll want to do is calm your dog. When they get attacked by a porcupine, they’ll likely be anxious. Providing your dog with their favorite toy, blanket, etc., can usher a soothing tone of calmness. The familiar scents and smells of the toys can instill a reduction in anxiety.
This is a fantastic solution to try if you are wary of giving your dog prescribed medications.
Also, be sure to talk calmly to them and pet them (if it doesn’t hurt) to help with the relaxation. It’s much easier to sedate a dog that’s already relaxed than one who is anxious and nervous.
Using Sedation Medication
If you don’t mind fully sedating your dog, this is going to be your best option. If you don’t like the idea of full sedation, we will offer natural alternatives below.
Veterinarians can prescribe a variety of sedation drugs. From Diazepam to Dexmedetomidine, these drugs are FDA approved and safe for your dog. These are commonly used to help stressed-out pups endure long trips. Keep in mind that only a vet or medical professional should administer these types of drugs.
A few of these sedatives do not require injections and can be administered from home. For example, Sileo is a pure gel that is applied to a dog’s mouth and gums. This is a very common treatment for dogs who experience anxiety during storms or fireworks. It’s perfect for calming your pooch to remove the porcupine quills.
Again, when using drugs like this, it’s always best to either have the vet administer the medication or to show you the proper technique and dosage.
If you’re not comfortable with full sedation, the remaining methods are for you.
Dogs use their sense of smell for everything. They basically have an extra set of eyes on the end of that snout.
Aromatherapy can significantly reduce the potential panic in your dog (after a porcupine attack, your dog will be panicked). Dogs experience a plethora of pheromones from both their mother and siblings. Recreating these scents provides them with a sense of calmness and relaxation. (like when you visit your parents’ house over the holidays).
You can disperse these pheromones in your home by using an Aroma Diffuser. These diffusers plug straight into the wall and release the selected scent in moderation. These devices are cheap and can be found in most stores.
Another option is to apply the pheromones directly to your dog’s collar. This method is safe and provides consistent exposure to the calming agent.
Treats and Chews
Certain treatments don’t need to be applied, rather given as a tasty treat.
Disguising medication as a delicious snack is a long-standing tradition for dog owners. Supplements such as “Zesty Paws’ Calming Bites for Dogs,” provide your dog with a tasty, natural solution for calming their nerves.
These chews are typically made with all-natural ingredients, and provide a tasty alternative to powerful sedation drugs. You can buy these over the counter and handle it without a professional. Be sure to read any instructions clearly.
There is a vast amount of options available for people who prefer a more holistic approach. Holistic solutions are becoming increasingly popular. Essential oils and capsules full of herbal solutions are available at most pharmacies. Here are the top three holistic options.
For this homemade concoction, first start with mixing a teaspoon of chamomile, catnip (yes, catnip), and scullcap (scullcap is a plant which is notoriously used in herbal medication). Mix them into a container and set aside.
Next, fill a pot with half a cup of water and bring to a boil. Now, pour your boiling water into your mixture, and let it sit for 6-8 minutes.
Run the liquid through a strainer, and add three tablespoons of honey to the mixture (raw, unfiltered honey works the best).
Allow your concoction to sit for 24 hours at room temperature before giving it to your dog.
You can store this away for future use. Just in case your pup has an unfortunate run in with a porcupine.
Valerian root is an herb found in Europe, Asia, and certain parts of North America. This root is known for its soothing effects against certain phobias, anxiety, and multiple behavior issues. This makes for a fantastic natural sedative to aid in quill removal.
There is a rule of thumb in how many of these tablets to give your dog. Use one tablet for every 10 pounds of body weight. So, if your dog is 20 pounds, give them two tablets.
Chamomile and Ginger Oils
These two oils yield sublime results as well. Although it is not backed by science (yet), the results speak for themselves. Mix about a half a teaspoon of each of these into their food for the best results. Most dogs will really enjoy the taste. But if your dog doesn’t like the taste, you may have to mask the taste in different food. We like to use canned dog food to hide the taste of medication.
The Beauty of Benadryl
Benadryl contains an ingredient called diphenhydramine. Although this is a human medication designed for allergies, it acts as a mild tranquilizer for dogs. Benadryl is available over the counter at most drug stores, so finding it shouldn’t be an issue.
For dosage, the general rule of thumb is that the milligrams should not exceed weight. If you have a 20-pound dog, you shouldn’t give them more than 20mg. However, if your dog has never taken Benadryl before, it’s best to start with half the dosage. So a 20-pound dog should only take 10mg.
CBD – An Effective Calming Tool
It should be no surprise to see CBD mentioned here. Five years ago, no one had even heard about using CBD for dogs. Now it seems like CBD is the cure for everything dog related.
The great thing about using CBD is that it not only calms your dog, but it can alleviate the pain. This means your dog won’t be in as much pain when you pull the quills out.
For dosage, start with 0.25mg per 5 pounds of body weight. For example, if your dog weighs 20 pounds, you would consume 1mg. If your dog weighs 10 pounds, they would consume 0.5mg. Larger dogs require a higher dose. Start with that number as a baseline and see how your dog responds. If there were no adverse reactions, you could begin to slowly increase the dosage. Most dogs can easily handle 2mg regardless of size.
Removing the Quills
Now that we’ve talked about how to sedate your dog for the process, let’s talk about how you remove the quills.
First things first, you need to understand the risks of pulling the quills yourself. This is a delicate process that requires technique. Doing this hastily can drive the quills deeper. Mishandling may break the quill off under the skin, which could potentially puncture an organ.
Using a small pair of pliers, grip the quill as close to the puncture site as possible. The best method is the “band-aid” technique. Simply pull the quill straight up in one swift motion. Do not twist or curve your hand. The longer it takes to pull, the more pain you’ll put your dog through.
Note: If the quills are around the eyes, face, or throat, let a veterinarian or trained professional remove them.
When in Doubt, Seek The Vet
There are many different ways you can sedate your four-legged friend. But always be sure to consult a professional before administering any medication.
Additionally, unless you have no other choice, take your dog to the vet to have the quills removed.
This situation can be traumatic on your punctured pup, so they will need plenty of soft words and positive reinforcement.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.