Should you trim your dog’s whiskers?

Photo by seeks2dream. Licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Dogs have whiskers on their nose above the upper lip, chin, and forehead . If you trim them, it will not hurt them. However, they do use their whiskers as a sixth sense, so you might be limiting their ability to play or hunt for a while.

Dogs’ whiskers are called vibrissae. Their roots are three times as deep as ordinary hair and the whiskers themselves are twice as thick.

Whiskers are one of the ways dogs sense the world around them. They can feel air currents and dogs use that information to figure out the size and shape of nearby objects. They can also figure out how narrow or tight a hole is.

Whiskers also help protect dogs’ eyes like human eyelashes. If the whiskers are touched, they blink.

So you can safely trim your dogs whiskers (and they’ll grow back) but it might be like putting ear plugs in their ears or blinders on their eyes! There is no reason other than showing a dog to trim their whiskers.

7 comments for “Should you trim your dog’s whiskers?

  1. melissa perkey
    February 23, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    I disagree that theres no reason other than showing to cut a dogs whiskers.
    I have a dog whose whiskers grow up and come close to touching his eye.
    I hate to feel like im dimenishing his senses but its better than him being constantly irritated

  2. Hugo Vieira
    March 13, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    I have one question, my puppie actually bites his own whiskers! He’s a 4 months old rottweiler and his whiskers are unusually small and bitten on the extremities. There is no way another animal is doing this since he’s our only pet.
    The vet said this was the first time he eared something like this and I can’t find anything similar on the web.

    Any thoughts why he does this or how to stop him from doing it?

  3. stormy
    March 14, 2015 at 9:29 am

    I think the first step is to actually figure out what’s happening. Maybe on a weekend, you can watch him closely until you see what’s going on. If he’s chewing his own whiskers, is he doing it out of stress? When you leave? When he’s bored? Can you change that some how? Maybe put something he doesn’t like on them? And give him a good bone to chew on too.

  4. Jay Horgan
    August 14, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    I can tell you’re anti-showing but “Limits their ability to play”. Really?! Not in my house of dogs. I regularly trim my dogs whiskers – yes I like to show my dogs and they love a great day out, and I can tell anyone reading that they play just as well and are not ‘limited’ or suffering in any way. Maybe I should worry when my husband shaves that it will limit his ability to enjoy his game of rugby! Pff!
    To the lady whose dogs chew their own whiskers, your dog isn’t suffering, bored, stressed or ill – it’s a natural thing that dogs do just like biting their own fingernails or licking each others ears. Cats do it all the time too.

  5. Rhoda
    August 29, 2015 at 3:08 am

    Thanks for that information Jay Morgan. My 1 1/2 year old Shi Tzo Maltese, bites her toenails, rubs her face on the ground and I accidentally cut her whiskers and was concerned for what might happen because of it. Rhoda

  6. sarah
    November 5, 2015 at 12:17 am

    I just got an 8 week old pug puppy and I noticed that most of his whiskers are blunt like they have been cut. Some of them aren’t and I can definitely tell the difference. I first noticed this because kissing him hurt. They’re like needles. Why would someone do this to an 8 week old puppy? The puppy was already eating dry food when I got him and maybe I just have a dark mi d but what if they did this to wean the puppy faster? The whiskers could irritate the mother’s stomach and not want her to nurse the pup anymore?

  7. Gary
    November 26, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Dogs are dogs. They’re not human, (as much as we desire to treat them as such). Dogs have hair and whiskers for good reason. To groom them, as if they are human, is simply quite silly.

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