Dog Left Covered in Porcupine Quills After Tussle With Animal in Video

Dogs on the internet are seemingly always finding themselves in trouble one way or another. For Bentley the Boxer, however, his tussle with a porcupine left him with quills poking from the entirety of his mouth, and a hearty 35 million views.

Bentley's owner Kennedy Johnston shared the video on September 1, lifting her dog's mouth to the camera, showing porcupine quills lodged all over.

The Boxer is a farm dog, and with porcupine's being so common in North America, Bentley regularly finds himself approaching the animals and getting a mouthful of quills in return.

"Bentley lives on a farm, and his job is to protect the other vulnerable animals on the property, and he does a great job of this. As well as being a protector dog, he is also a very much a loved pet and part of our family, but he still does have a job to do," Johnston told Newsweek. "So when intruders, such as porcupines, come onto his land, he is trained to scare them off or get rid of them. These porcupine encounters usually happen during the night, and there are no humans around to keep an eye on him throughout the night."

Quills are modified hairs covered with scales that are compared to fish hook barbs, meaning they move further inwards. According to VCA Hospitals, porcupine quills can puncture the skin and move through muscle, penetrating into body cavities and internal organs.

The quills can also harbor bacteria, which can lead to infections and abscesses in dogs. It's important for dog owners to immediately take their dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible after encountering the quills, and to restrict their movement as much as possible.


Bentley really said: “I know your tik tok has been dry, let me take care of that real quick” #vettech #boxer #veterinarymedicine #porcupine #quills

♬ Bad Habits - Ed Sheeran

The video can also be seen here.

Luckily for Bentley, Johnston works in veterinary medicine so knows exactly what to do and is able to remove them herself after giving anesthesia. "After a porcupine attack, Bentley will come home and rest until one of us sees what has happened. He is very calm during the whole process, (as you can see in the video) he trusts us to help him," she explained.

"Everybody has their own method of removing porcupine quills. I have tried many methods, but have decided that pulling them straight out is the best way for me. A lot of people have commented on the TikTok video, saying to clip off the ends, or twist them—I did not find these methods helpful at all. Clipping the end off just takes more time, resulting in the animal being under anesthesia longer. Quills are stiff and hollow, there is no visual difference made by clipping off the end of the quill. Quills have microscopic barbs, and twisting them can definitely cause more trauma," added Johnston.

As noted by many in the comments, there exists a misconception that cutting the quills will make it easier to remove them by "deflating" them, but this is not the case according to VCA Hospitals. "Cutting the shaft makes the quill splinter more easily which ultimately makes it harder to remove. It may also allow for segments of quills to become lodged in the tissue," they reported.

Bentley sat perfectly still as Johnston removed the quills by hand in the video. Unsurprisingly, Bentley seemed to be used to the routine—it's the 12th time it's happened.

In April, Johnston shared her first video of Bentley and the quills, writing: "Tell me your dog is dumb without telling me your dog is dumb," as he stood with quills hanging from his mouth.

That occasion took two hours to remove the quills, and like this time, Bentley was given pain medication after.

A recent video by Johnston confirmed that Bentley is now on pain medication as he heals and is "getting some extra love."

As for advice for other pet owners who find themselves in the same situation, Johnston advised to, "call your veterinarian right away for directions. If it is a particularly bad attack, like Bentleys, you will probably be recommended to take your dog in and have them put under full anesthesia for removal. But if only a few quills, and none visible on the inside of the mouth, your veterinarian may direct you to remove them yourself at home. But ALWAYS consult your veterinarian first! It's free to make a phone call!"

Boxer dog in garden
Stock image of a boxer dog. Getty Images

Update 9/08/21, 4:04 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include comments from Kennedy Johnston.