Let’s get to the bottom of whether or not you should cut or trim your dog’s whiskers. Some people do it, and others say that you shouldn’t, so what is it? This article’s answer will answer your question and provide more information about dog whiskers and their purpose.
The simple answer is no, you should not cut your dog’s whiskers. Whiskers help your dog understand the world around them and act much like a sixth sense. Fortunately, whiskers do grow back.
Why Do Dog’s Have Whiskers?
When it comes to cats, we know that their whiskers hold some significance, even if we don’t know what they do. We just know that whiskers are important for cats.
But when it comes to dogs, people seem to be less aware of their whiskers and the role they play. And rightfully so, as whiskers are not really the main feature of a dog, like they are with cats.
Whiskers (Vibrissae) being the official term, help dogs understand the world around them. They act almost like a sixth sense.
Essentially, whiskers act as an environmental sensor. Whiskers can sense wind direction, other animals, help with low light navigation, and help a dog understand their spacial awareness.
So, you can see how whiskers do play a valuable role in day-to-day life.
Can You Trim a Dog’s Whiskers?
It’s best not to trim or cut a dog’s whiskers, regardless of how big or small they are. The whiskers on your dog will help them go about their day and understand their environment so of course, it’s best to leave them.
Unfortunately, some owners trim or cut their whiskers for aesthetic reasons. But this is not advised and is borderline unfair due to the fact that whiskers are particularly helpful.
Do Dog Whiskers Grow Back If Cut?
If you’ve accidentally trimmed off your dog’s whiskers, or notice they’re missing after coming home from the groomers, you don’t have to worry.
In nearly all cases, dog whiskers DO grow back after having been cut or trimmed down.
The rate at which they grow back depends on your dog’s breed, age, and general health. There’s no exact timeline.
What Happens When Dog Whiskers Are Cut?
Many owners who have accidentally had whiskers removed, don’t report any behavioral changes.
But scientifically speaking, removal of whiskers would lead to disorientation, and a weakened ability to navigate, especially in low light situations.
While it’s true that dog whiskers do not play AS an important role like they do with cats, it will still be an uncomfortable change.
Whiskers will slowly begin to regrow, but as explained before, there’s no specific timeline. How fast your dog’s whiskers grow back will come down to the breed, age, and general health.
Does Cutting or Trimming Dog Whiskers Hurt?
Fortunately, it does not hurt a dog when their whiskers are cut or trimmed, but that doesn’t mean to say it’s comfortable.
Although not proven, a similar sensation to having whiskers trimmed would be like having nails trimmed. There’s a sensation present, but it’s not painful.
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Whiskers Are In More Than One Place
It’s important to note that whiskers are in multiple places on a dog’s face. And they all have their own names. Let’s run through them.
Whiskers around the muzzle – “mystacial whiskers”
Whisker on top of the eyebrow – “supraorbital whiskers”
Whiskers on the cheek area – “genal whiskers”
Whiskers under the chin – “interramal tufts”
Many owners ask if some whiskers are more important than others, and the simple answer is no. They all play a role in spatial awareness, navigation, and help your dog understand his environment.
What About Breeds With Long Hair on Their Face?
Some breeds can have quite a lot of facial hair, like the Schnauzer for example.
For dogs that have big beards and hidden whiskers like the Schnauzer, regular facial grooming is very important.
But even still, trimming their beards will need to happen eventually. You can either opt for trimming it yourself, or you can take your dog to a professional groomer.
However, as the next section explains, groomers often cut whiskers. So you’ll have to explicitly mention that you don’t want their whiskers to be trimmed.
Why Do Groomers Cut Dog’s Whiskers?
Part of becoming a groomer and going through grooming school is learning what the AKC standards are for show dogs.
After asking this very question to multiple professional groomers, their response is that trimming whiskers is what they are taught and is simply following AKC grooming standards.
Of course, the average owner is not actually putting their dog through dog shows, so the process of trimming the whiskers is not necessary.
Groomers have no problem in avoiding the whiskers but it’s advised to make that point to your groomer, just so they know for sure.
Each groomer is different and trimming the whiskers may be standard practice for him/her.
How to Avoid Cutting Dog Whiskers
If you need to trim up long facial hair but want to avoid cutting the whiskers, take a look at the following tips.
The first piece of advice is to take your dog to a professional groomer instead of trying to do it yourself at home. Just make a point of saying that you do not want her whiskers to be cut.
Grooming dogs is hard and groomers have spent a long time studying and practicing how to do it, so if you are unsure, don’t try to do it yourself!
If you want to tackle the facial hair at home, read on.
● Before attempting to trim or cut the facial hair on your dog, ensure she’s very relaxed and still. You may do everything right, but one quick move from your dog may lead to whiskers being cut.
● Brush through the beard and facial hair before attempting any cutting. This gives you a chance to de-matt any clumped hair and you can use this time to inspect and figure out exactly where the bulk of her whiskers sit within the hair.
● You can cut the majority of the hair that’s away from the whiskers with the actual hair trimmers.
● As you get closer to the whisker areas, it’s best to opt for round-ended scissors to make those cuts. Round-ended scissors like these, take the risk out of accidentally poking your dog with a sharp point.
● Use your fingers to feel through the hair and cut small sections at a time. Some whiskers are tougher than others but in general, will feel similar to fishing wire. Before making cuts, make sure you can’t feel the whiskers.
● Go slow, and if your dog has a lot of facial hair to work through, don’t try to tackle it all in one go. It’s hard for dogs to remain still anyway, so do a portion today, and another portion tomorrow.
So now you know that it’s best to leave your dog’s whiskers on their face where they are supposed to be.
Although it doesn’t cause any pain when cutting or trimming the whiskers, they do play a role in helping your dog navigate and understand their surroundings.
Removing the whiskers will remove an extra “sixth sense” that your dog uses more than we give credit for.
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